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Jamie Matthews, mayor of Santa Clara is greeted by mascots as he attends an unveiling of the new Great American Pavilion at California's Great America in Santa Clara, Calif. on Friday, June 27, 2014. The 18,000 square foot multi-purpose facility will be the home of all Red Zone Rally pregame events for all 49ers home games and Levi's Stadium events. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group)

SANTA CLARA -- Now you can prepare for the roller-coaster ride of an NFL game by riding an actual roller coaster. But the cost might not be so thrilling.

In what's believed to be a sports first, the San Francisco 49ers and Great America on Friday unveiled a season-long Levi's Stadium tailgate party deal that will start in August and feature all-you-can eat grub, all-you-can-drink beers and roller-coaster rides.

Fans can get in at 10 a.m., watch the early NFL games and hang out with Gold Rush cheerleaders and theme park characters such as Snoopy. It's located right next to the stadium on the edge of Great America, the rest of which will be closed during game days. Parking is not included.

The price? $850 per person for the season, the same as the cost of season tickets in the nose bleeds and 13 times the cost of a Great America season pass.

"It sounds like a great idea, it's something I'd love to check out -- but it'd be doubling the price of my season tickets," said Dennis Robles, 47, of Brentwood. "I have other options that are a lot more affordable."

Another cost for some fans who aren't careful: motion sickness aboard the bright-red Flight Deck coaster after hitting the open bar and buffet.

Officially called the Red Zone Rally at the new Great America Pavilion, the multimillion dollar project serves two main purposes for the team.


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First, it gives the Niners yet another opportunity for revenue from the $1.3 billion stadium, which is set to open in five weeks. In addition to the increased cost of tickets and new seat licenses, the team has already offered pricey amenities such as fan bricks, parking, a VIP dining package with celebrity chef Michael Mina, a museum, and field tours, along with a new fan store on site. And many fans are reporting wallet fatigue.

But it also allows the team and city another chance to draw fans to the region for all-day visits on Sundays and during other big events. With many fans anxious about what there is to do in the suburban area before and after games, the business opportunities -- from a planned Joe Montana hotel and sports bar to nearby restaurants re-branding themselves as sports joints -- are starting to pop up as the stadium nears completion.

"This is just the start of this," said 49ers chief operating officer Al Guido. "To fans that aren't going to set up an RV or cook, this will be the place for them."

It comes as the Santa Clara City Council is set Tuesday to approve a deal with a developer for a 230-acre mega "city center" project across from the stadium. In the works for more than a year, the project from Related Development would include shops, dining and homes on what is now a golf course.

The overall plan for a destination center is along the lines of the Public House and nearby restaurants outside AT&T Park in San Francisco, and the popular San Pedro Square hangout spot for fans before and after San Jose Sharks games. Guido said the team couldn't offer that at Candlestick Park because the nearby infrastructure was so limited.

The Niners expect to sell 1,500 to 2,000 of the season tailgate packages, which went on sale Friday. The $1.3 million to $1.7 million in revenue will be split between the 49ers and Great America.

Guido said they are in talks to offer single-game passes to fans who just want to try out the pavilion once or twice. But he said the 18,000-square-foot venue has capacity issues and they expect to sell out offering just season passes.

Still, many fans already reeling from paying for new seat licenses, which cost $2,000 to $80,000 each for the right to buy season tickets, say they aren't sold on spending even more money and are getting tired of the pricey VIP extras the team is offering.

Dewayne Deams, a season-ticket holder from Hayward, should be a prime candidate for the tailgate party because, like many others, he is "stumped" on what he's going to do before games. "I'm down to the point where we might eat at the Great Mall food court in Milpitas beforehand and take light rail in." So would he sign up for the new tailgate party? "That something I would definitely want to check out," he said. But he said it'd be too much money for a season pass.

Barney Yannacone, a season-ticket holder from the Sacramento area, calls himself a "coaster hound" who travels to theme parks with his daughter. But he balked at the Great America deal, which would cost him $3,400 for his family of four.

"That's way too expensive for me," Yannacone said. He'll be tailgating the old-fashioned way -- in the parking lot. The cost to park each car is at least $40.

Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at Twitter.com/rosenbergmerc.