Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California was the site for the start of Jarryd Hayne’s NFL career, being the home ground of Hayne’s San Francisco 49ers. On Saturday night it played host to another set of teams, with College Football taking centre stage as Stanford took on the University of Southern California (USC) in the Pacific 12 Conference Championships. The Raiders Senior Management Group was in attendance for the game, gaining valuable insights into the stadium’s infrastructure and crowd engagements methods.

Levi Stadium is just over a year old, having officially opened in July last year. It has quickly become one of the preeminent stadiums in the United States, winning the 2015 Sport Facility of the Year and 2015 Venue of the Year. Super Bowl 50 is set to be hosted at the stadium next February, along with many other major events. Levi Stadium was therefore a perfect experience which the Raiders Senior Management group could learn from and utilise back in Canberra.

First experiences of the stadium were less than impressive, with security checks at the entrance making queues to enter the stadium well over an hour. First impressions of a stadium are often crucial and members of the group expressed disappointment at not being warned prior to the game of increased security checks. The wait eventually led to missing kick-off and the chance to visit the onsite 49ers museum.

Once inside the stadium the group were blown away by the modern facilities and design. The Stadium had all the inclusions; plenty of customer service attendants, free Wi-Fi access upon arrival and a wide variety of food and beverage selections. Half-time entertainment at the stadium was also a great experience, with a legendary cheer squad battle between USC and Stanford.

An amazing performance by running back Christian McCaffrey led Stanford to a 41-22 victory over USC. Exiting the stadium was a much more pleasant experience than entering, with a multitude of transport options available.  

The group commented the game day atmosphere was similar to that of an NRL semi-final, however surprisingly it fell short of the atmosphere at the Washington Huskies v Washington State University College Football game they attended last weekend. Being a conference championship the game was held at a neutral stadium, most likely contributing to the atmosphere being slightly disappointing. The crowd in attendance of 58,476 was short of Levi Stadium’s capacity of 68,500.

The visit to Levi Stadium provided the Senior Management group with many new ideas and engagement methods that can be incorporated into the game day experience at GIO Stadium. Visiting one of the world’s best stadiums also provided the group with plenty of plans for what may work on a smaller scale if Canberra one day builds a new stadium.

The Raiders Senior Management group is made up of Chief Executive Officer Don Furner, Head Coach Ricky Stuart, Commercial and Marketing Manager Jason Mathie and Football Manager John Bonasera.

CLICK HERE for the group’s experiences visiting the Seattle Seahawks training facility.

CLICK HERE for the group’s experiences at the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Huskies game days.

CLICK HERE for the group’s experiences visiting the University of Oregon campus.