SANTA CLARA -- Fans looking to experience the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium without having to pay NFL prices got some welcome news Wednesday: The opening event will cost you less than half as much as Niners games.
The ticket prices for the Aug. 2 opener at Levi's Stadium -- a soccer match featuring the San Jose Earthquakes -- were set at $45 to $150 apiece for just the lower bowl. Face-value tickets for the same seats at 49ers games will be $100 to $375 each, though seats in the nosebleeds -- which are not open for many non-NFL events -- will be as cheap as $85.
"We definitely want to take advantage of this -- it's going to be the cheapest way to get in the door," said Brad Speers, a 28-year-old who helped work on the Santa Clara ballot measure to approve the stadium in 2010 and was texting with friends Wednesday about a group purchase to the opening event. "I would imagine that two-thirds of the people that show up are definitely there just to see the new stadium."
With the stadium expected to host dozens of concerts, college football games, soccer matches and other non-NFL events every year, the ticket prices for the opening event could set the tone for the cost for other tickets at the $1.3 billion Santa Clara stadium.
The "soft" opening, an MLS matchup between the Quakes and the Seattle Sounders FC, is meant to work out any problems before bigger crowds arrive for the 49ers first preseason game laterin August and the regular NFL season begins in September.
Tickets for Niners games won't be released until after the NFL schedule is released, typically in April. But unlike at Candlestick Park, fans who want to buy face-value 49ers tickets must first buy a one-time seat license, which costs $2,000 to $80,000 per seat. Nearly all of those seat licenses are sold out. Single-game 49ers tickets will still be available from fans posting seats on sites such as StubHub.
"It's not a cheap ticket (for the 49ers). They're kicking my butt with the tickets," said Niners season-ticket holder Alex Chavez, 33, of Hayward, who doesn't follow the Earthquakes but plans to go to the opening event and "appreciates" the cheaper tickets. "I definitely want to check it out, check out the scene."
On Wednesday, within an hour of the first stadium tickets going on sale to a few thousand VIP fans, a 49ers season ticket holder who bought a four-pack of tickets to the Earthquakes game put them on sale on StubHub for $3,980 total. Face value of the four tickets? $460 total.
Other fans had also posted marked-up ticket packs around the Web.
Those who bought the priciest club seats at the 49ers stadium were able to start buying tickets for the Aug. 2 opener on Wednesday morning. The remaining seat holders, as well as Earthquakes season ticket holders, can start buying tickets for the game Tuesday. The general public gets its crack March 14.
For now, the 49ers are only selling tickets for the Earthquakes game in the lower two-thirds of the nearly 70,000-seat capacity stadium. If that area sells out, the upper deck will likely open, the team said.
Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at Twitter.com/rosenbergmerc.