SANTA CLARA -- Less than six months from the opening kickoff, the San Francisco 49ers new stadium is just about sold out, and the team is now encouraging fans looking to get season tickets to buy them from other Niners faithful.
The team disclosed late Friday it has sold more than 95 percent of the seat licenses at the nearly 70,000-capacity Levi's Stadium -- up from 75 percent a year ago and 50 percent a year and a half ago. The seat licenses, which are new for the 49ers, cost $2,000 to $80,000 apiece and give fans the right to buy season tickets.
The total value of the purchased seats is believed to be roughly half a billion dollars, which Santa Clara uses to help pay for the $1.3 billion stadium, though most of the cash will be paid over time in installments.
"I have no doubt that it will be completely sold out by the time we open the stadium," Mayor Jamie Matthews said.
Since seats went on sale two years ago, fans have been hoping to sell their seat licenses for a profit. The ads have picked up recently as the team has only about 3,000 face-value seats left, and they are only in the endzones, corners and the cheapest club section. Some fans are even asking for more than a half-million dollars for a pair of front-row, 50-yard line VIP seats that take up less real estate than a parking space.
Now the 49ers and the city are teaming with STR Marketplace to set up an official resale site where fans can buy, sell and trade seats with one another and pay a 10 percent commission to the site. The team says it's the only way to make sure seat license transfers are secure and legitimate.
The San Francisco Giants also use STR as its official resale site for its 15,000 seat licenses at AT&T Park, the only other Bay Area stadium that uses seat licenses. Giants fans had posted ads for 614 seats on Friday, with prices ranging from $300 to $123,750 per seat.
Ten NFL teams, including the Seattle Seahawks, also partner with the site, which is one of two main Web marketplaces for seat licenses, along with PSLsource.com.
Santa Clara officials are expected to approve the deal with STR at Tuesday night's City Council meeting. The site will pay Santa Clara at least $325,000 a year along with a cut of the site's commission if sales are good.
"It's a real boon for us," Matthews said. "They've been highly successful in the other markets they've worked in."
Still, fans are free to sell their seat licenses however they want. Similarly, while the Niners and other teams use the NFL Ticket Exchange site as the official resale hub for individual game tickets, many fans just use StubHub, Craigslist or other sites, or show up to the game and buy from scalpers.
While the main purpose of the roughly 61,500 seat licenses at the stadium is to get face-value 49ers season tickets, which run from $850 to $3,750 per year, they also put fans first in line for most other events at the stadium.
Tickets for the soft opening -- an Aug. 2 MLS soccer match featuring the San Jose Earthquakes -- went on sale to the general public Friday morning at a cost of $45 to $150 each plus fees. In the week prior, seat license holders had first crack to gobble up the best tickets.
"We are very pleased with the overall progress of the Levi's Stadium project," 49ers chief operating officer Al Guido said in a statement. "Great strides have been made in both the construction of the building and the sales campaign."
Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at twitter.com/RosenbergMerc.
January 2012: Club seats go on sale
April 2012: Construction begins
June 2012: Reserved-section seats go on sale
September 2012: About 50 percent of seats sold
March 2013: About 75 percent of seats sold
March 2014: More than 95 percent of seats sold
August 2014: Stadium opens