SANTA CLARA — The 49ers experienced their first significant home-field advantage last season since moving into Levi’s Stadium in 2014.
The 49ers entertained the home fans en route to an NFC West championship and two 17-point home playoff victories.
But the fan involvement, at least for the season opener on Sunday, Aug. 13, against the Arizona Cardinals, will provide no home advantage to open the 2020 season.
The 49ers announced Tuesday that fans will not be allowed in Levi’s Stadium for the opener due to the coronavirus pandemic and accompanying government restrictions.
San Francisco will begin the season on September 13th against the Arizona Cardinals without fans in attendance.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) August 25, 2020
“It’s disappointing, but I also understand it,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Tuesday.
“There are a lot of adjustments that everybody has to make in the world right now, so I totally understand it. But it’s not going to be that fun. We love having the fans in there. They pump you up. You hear the noise, whether you’re watching it on TV or in there in person. It’s still a little unusual for me watching basketball and baseball right now, just seeing how it is without fans in there.”
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The 49ers on Friday will have their first practice inside Levi’s Stadium this summer, Shanahan said. With the preseason schedule canceled, it will be the 49ers’ first opportunity to work out some of the game-day kinks.
Shanahan also said he hopes to know by the end of the week what the NFL will consider allowable, as far as the decibel levels of crowd noise or music being pumped into stadiums.
“Hopefully, we’ll have some clarity with the noise and stuff and we can experiment with how we want to do that, too,” Shanahan said.
The 49ers travel to New York for back-to-back games against the New York Jets and New York Giants in Weeks 2 and 3. The team continues to pursue the possibility of remaining on the East Coast between those games.
Then, the 49ers’ next home game will be Oct. 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”
It seems unlikely fans will be allowed to attend that game, either.
“Hopefully, it won’t last,” Shanahan said. “Hopefully, eventually we’ll be able to get our fans in there.
“But it’s a challenge everyone is dealing with and I can sit and think about it a lot, but ready to see how it ends up being different, and what the plusses and minuses are to it and being ready to adapt and change and figure it out.”