San Francisco 49ers president Al Guido said the team’s corporate partners and fans have been mostly supportive in the two weeks since quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest came to light.
Guido appeared on the first "49ers Insider Podcast" and spoke about the aftermath of the controversy that centered on Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem to protest oppression of minorities in America.
“Our sponsors, our suite owners, our fans have been generally fantastic,” Guido said. “There’s no question there have been people who have reached out and maybe been disappointed. But (not) the lion’s share of the people. You’ve seen this story evolve over the course of days since Colin sat for that first game. And it’s going to continue to evolve.”
Guido said he has spoken directly to Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh and Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, and “they’ve been nothing but supportive,” Guido said.
Also, Guido said he has spoken with Santa Clara chief of police Michael Sellers and is confident there will be no issues with law enforcement in and around Levi’s Stadium for the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams.
“I fully support the job he's done," Guido said on the podcast. "I have zero concerns about the Monday night game, the police officers doing their job here. They’re super-professional. We’ve had a great relationship with Santa Clara.”
In other notes from the podcast:
--Guido said season-ticket holders renewed this season at 95 percent. He said a large portion of the tickets that became available when those individuals defaulted have already been re-sold.
When asked what happens in those situations in which people default on their stadium builders licenses, Guido said, “There’s been no course of action, no lawsuit. Those season ticket holders walk away from the San Francisco 49ers. Are they able to return as season-ticket holders? Absolutely, if they choose to do so. Most likely, it won’t be in the same seat location.”
--Guido addressed the parking at Levi’s Stadium, the heat for those sitting on the East side of the stadium and, of course, the turf.
He said the average time leaving the parking lots after games in the first year of Levi’s Stadium was over an hour. Now, the average time is down to 30-40 minutes. At Candlestick Park, the average time for individuals to leave was 1 hour, 30 minutes to 1 hour, 40 minutes, he said.
--Guido said the talk about the problems with the playing surface is now “more perception than reality.” A new playing field was installed this week after the Coldplay concert last Saturday. The field will be re-sodded after the Beyonce concert on Sept. 17.
“There’ve been conversations around (artificial) turf being put in our stadium,” Guido said. “The reason why is the health and safety of our players. We believe grass is the better surface for our players. Our players feel that way.
"We spend quite a bit of money on this. The easy answer would be to put turf down, but for the health and safety of our players and to have the best surface possible, we spend the money to replace that field as much as we possible can to get a pristine surface.”
--The 49ers expect to explore the possibility of bringing one of the next-available Super Bowls back to the Bay Area. The next options are Super Bowls 56 (2022), 57 (2023) and 58 (2024).
--Guido said he is also definitely interested in hosting potential early rounds of the soccer competition if Los Angeles wins its bid to host the 2024 Olympics.