SANTA CLARA — The NFL’s stringent bag policy that caused a ruckus at Levi Stadium’s inaugural event will be implemented at every non-NFL event at the new stadium, the 49ers director of communications told the San Jose Mercury News.
The NFL disallows bags approximately larger than the size of your hand from entering the stadium. Non-compliant bags must be checked at the entrance gates to be picked up following the game.
The policy is significant considering the number of non-NFL activities scheduled for Levi’s in coming months — eight through next April — including a high school football game, WrestleMania 31 and an international soccer match among others.
Fans who regularly attend NFL games are likely used to this policy that was enacted at Candlestick Park last year. The policy was implemented as a safety precaution following the Boston Marathon bombing, with an anticipated side benefit of expediting security checkpoints.
But many of the fans who attended the Aug. 2 MLS matchup between the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders at the new 68,000 seat stadium were either unaware of the NFL’s bag policy, or that it would be enacted for a non-NFL event.
The confusion caused “four times the number of bags being checked” and post-game chaos for fans trying to reclaim their items. The stadium is still in the process of returning unclaimed bags to their owners.
The San Jose Earthquakes notified fans with a game day tweet, but many did not see it and were surprised when they could not bring their belongings in. The MLS does not normally enforce a bag policy.
The NFL’s policy allows for bags with dimensions up to 12 inches by six inches by 12 inches inside the stadium, as long as they are made of clear plastic. Also accepted are one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags. Team logo clear plastic tote bags are available through the NFL shop.
The policy will be enforced for the first NFL event in the stadium’s history this Sunday, when San Francisco 49ers hold their pre-season home opener against the Denver Broncos at 1 p.m.