The San Francisco 49ers will take the last significant pre-construction step Thursday as they hold the ceremonial groundbreaking in Santa Clara. The 49ers have been conducting a variety of make-ready work at the site, leading to construction crews already on hand to clear out the Great America parking lot. This groundbreaking, however, will mark the first official construction steps of the 49ers new stadium. The 49ers developed a new website specifically for the new stadium and have a construction camera at the site, which will go live during the Thursday groundbreaking.
As late as last fall, many expected the stadium groundbreaking to occur later this summer, potentially delaying the opening until 2015. In the ensuing months, though, the 49ers finalized necessary financing, putting the stadium on the fast track for an opening day coinciding with the start of the 2013 season.
This year earlier is significant because it allowed the 49ers to plan on submitting a bid later this summer for Super Bowl L. A stadium is required to be in operation for two seasons before it can host a Super Bowl. A 2014 opening would have the stadium open exactly two seasons before the historic Super Bowl L. The 49ers are also planning on bidding for Super Bowl LI, as the NFL is requiring bids for both games at the same time.