There were no competitors to host the Pac-12 football title game.
No one else came close to Levi’s Stadium.
On Thursday, the Pac-12 announced the $1.2 billion Santa Clara, Calif. venue, opening in August, will be the new home for the conference’s football championship game. The three-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers’ home stadium begins this year, when the winners of the Pac-12’s North and South division face off on Dec. 5.
Commissioner Larry Scott said that the conference never opened the title game for bids: Levi’s Stadium presented a “unique opportunity” for the conference to capitalize on the energy and state-of-the-art amenities of a newly constructed facility.
“We’re working with the 49ers for a very forward-looking, progressive organization,” Scott said. “This will be a great platform for the conference and our fans to have an amazing experience, one that we haven’t seen before.”
Since the Pac-12 began staging championship games in 2011, the team with the best record has hosted the game: Oregon, Stanford and Arizona State have all been hosts.
At the time, Scott said, the Pac-12 decided on the rotating host model over other NFL venues. But Levi’s Stadium made the conference reconsider due to its new infrastructure and central location on the West Coast.
Scott said the success of the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, built in 2009, provides a blueprint that the Pac-12 hopes to follow in its partnership with Levi’s Stadium. The conference can sell tickets throughout the year, and it is hopeful that the buzz of being in the most modern NFL stadium will help lure buyers.
“It’s going to create a great buzz among the fans, but also among the athletes who are going to play there,” he said. “It’s a place you want to experience, with the amenities, the technology.”
Among the selling points of the 68,500-seat Levi’s Stadium is that the facility will lend itself to broadcasters and television facilities. Fans who go to the game can follow along on video boards or TVs throughout the stadium when they aren’t in their seats. Scott mentioned the stadium will have wireless networks for mobile devices.
The Bay Area is also home to a large number of fans and graduates of Pac-12 schools, a wealthy market that the Pac-12 hopes to tap.
Scott said the 49ers’ initial feedback indicated that tickets to the Pac-12 title game would sell well locally.