SANTA CLARA -- The San Francisco 49ers have sold out their first season at Levi's Stadium despite huge price increases over Candlestick Park, and most fans hoping to get in for face-value will now have to settle for a small batch of new standing-room-only tickets.
The seat licenses and season ticket packages for the Niners' new 68,500-seat home have generated about half of the $1.3 billion in revenue so far from the stadium, roughly what it cost, and the news comes just seven weeks before the first preseason game.
"It's a historic day," 49ers Chief Operating Officer Al Guido said in announcing the sellout to this newspaper Monday.
"It's a testament to the fans and their passion. I think they were genuinely excited and blown away by the design and all the things that go into the stadium."
Still, 30 percent of Candlestick Park season ticket holders declined to move to the new stadium with the team, and many others say they'll need to sell off some of their tickets just to afford their costly new seats.
Although all the seats are taken, the Niners on Monday also announced that they will sell 1,500 standing room only tickets for each game, pushing the overall capacity of Levi's Stadium to slightly more than 70,000.
Although Candlestick Park sold out every year since 1982, the 2014 feat is especially impressive because fans this year had to plunk down a lot more green to see the red and gold.
First, they had to foot a one-time bill of $2,000 to $80,000 for new seat licenses that provide fans the right to buy season tickets, which cost another $850 to $3,750 annually -- about twice the cost of Candlestick.
In all, fans have bought $530 million in seat licenses, with the revenue going to the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, the public agency that took out the $850 million loan to start building the stadium in 2012. Separately, it's believed the 49ers will reap more than $100 million annually from season tickets.
The Niners have also scored more than $400 million in revenue from luxury suites, which are also sold out, while the team and public agency are splitting the $220 million naming rights deal with Levi Strauss & Co. Altogether, the revenue, on paper at least, matches the $1.3 billion cost of the stadium.
Fans and Guido cited the success of the team, which drove deep into the playoffs each of the past two years, and the excitement around the new stadium in explaining the sellout, which took 2½ years of sales and quite a bit of assuaging fans with sticker shock.
"We balked at it a little bit, like 'Whoa, it's that much?' " said San Francisco resident Adam Sturgeon, a season-ticket holder with his wife. But "to have the opportunity to get into a new stadium -- not too many people get that opportunity."
Guido noted other new high-priced NFL stadiums -- such as the New York Giants and Jets' MetLife Stadium and the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium -- recently opened without selling out.
The long-awaited single-game ticket plans unveiled Monday show how fans without a seat license can still get face value tickets, though the options will be very limited.
The 1,500 standing-room-only tickets will go on sale in late July and be available on a single-game basis only to fans who sign up for a new fan rewards program called Faithful 49.
The price has not been set but it will be cheaper than the nosebleed seats, which are $85 per ticket for an average game, Guido said.
In addition, the team is required by the NFL to hold back a small amount of single-game tickets that ultimately will not get used by the opposing team, broadcast networks or other groups. Guido said as many as 400 single-game tickets will be sold on the Thursday before each game but only to fans who earn enough points to top the Faithful 49 rankings by purchasing merchandise, attending events and following the team on social media.
Of course, anyone else can still buy tickets on resale sites such as StubHub, but many will be at marked-up prices.
Many fans will be selling tickets to subsidize their seat license and season ticket packages and will have hard copies of the tickets to sell starting in late July or early August.
"I only plan to go to two games a season for now," said Agustin Diaz, of South San Francisco, who will be selling the rest of his season tickets.
Overall, about 70 percent of Candlestick Park season ticket holders bought seats in Santa Clara, down from the typical renewal rate of about 95 percent at Candlestick.
The team made up the difference by attracting plenty of new fans, including Jeremy Spencer, who will be driving 14 hours to Levi's for each home game from Idaho.
"When you can say 'I was a season-ticket holder from game one,' " Spencer said, "there's a better legacy there. It's like turning a new chapter, and you start fresh."
For Spencer and others, that new chapter starts with the first preseason game Aug. 17 vs. the Denver Broncos.
Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at Twitter.com/rosenbergmerc.