The San Francisco 49ers ended Wednesday’s public practice early at the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara and are working to make improvements to the field by Sunday when the team is scheduled to host the San Diego Chargers in a preseason game, team officials said.
While the team has not specified exactly what the problems with the field are, aerial photographs taken this morning showed crews tearing up most of the turf.
The team said in a statement:
“The 49ers organization would like to apologize to any fans who were inconvenienced by (Wednesday’s) practice ending early. … We have determined the appropriate measures necessary to have the field ready for Sunday and look forward to hosting the San Diego Chargers.”
Construction was completed on the $1.2 billion stadium this year and the turf was installed in mid-April. West Coast Turf installed 2.5 acres of Bandera Bermuda, a type of grass picked because it requires 50 percent less water while regenerating quickly, stadium officials said.
49ers head groundskeeper Matt Greiner said in a statement shortly before the turf was installed:
“Most importantly, the Bandera Bermuda has good tensile strength so when a player plants his cleat, it holds together better.”
Greiner said West Coast Turf also provided the grass used at the team’s previous stadium, San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh said after the team’s first preseason game at the new stadium last Sunday, a 34-0 loss to the Denver Broncos, that the turf worked well:
“Thought that everything worked good with the stadium. … I thought the turf was good.”