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49ers reach stadium rights deal with Levi's

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The future home of the San Francisco 49ers will be called Levi's Stadium.

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The 49ers and Levi Strauss & Co. announced an agreement Wednesday for a $220 million, 20-year naming rights deal for the team's stadium in Santa Clara.

Levi's CEO Chip Bergh and 49ers CEO Jed York announced the deal at Levi's Plaza in San Francisco. Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee also attended the news conference.

While the stadium will be in the heart of technology-rich Silicon Valley, the San Francisco-based apparel company best known for its jeans will hold the name. The proposal, which also has an option to be extended for an additional five years, will be submitted to the Santa Clara Stadium Authority for approval Thursday.

``Levi's jeans were designed for the 49ers during the gold rush,'' York said. ``It was a good fit for them then and it's a good fit today.''

The upcoming season will be the 49ers' last at historic Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The team is planning to move to the new $1.2 billion stadium, about 45 miles south in Santa Clara and adjacent to the 49ers practice facility, for the 2014 season.

The naming rights deal will not only help fund the project, it will likely give another boost to the 49ers' hopes of hosting a Super Bowl soon. The 49ers are bidding for the Super Bowls played in February 2016 and 2017 with hopes of landing one.

A decision on which cities will host the upcoming Super Bowls is expected to be made during the NFL's meetings in Boston from May 20-22. Miami and San Francisco-Santa Clara are in the running for the 2016 Super Bowl and the runner-up will compete with Houston for the following year's game.

The annual average of $11 million is believed to be the second-largest stadium naming rights deal in the NFL and largest for a single team. MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and New York Jets, has a $400 million deal for 25 years.

The 49ers and Levi's both touted their deep roots in the Bay Area in coming together.

Levi's, which reported net revenues of $4.6 billion for the 2012 fiscal year, was founded in 1853 when German immigrant Levi Strauss opened a dry goods store in San Francisco. In 1873, Levi's created the first blue jean by adding copper rivets to denim pants for workers in the American West. The 49ers have won five Super Bowls and were the first major professional sports team to be based in San Francisco more than 60 years ago.

``Levi's Stadium will connect two iconic Bay Area brands that share similar values, a rich heritage and a pioneering spirit,'' Bergh said. ``Joining the incredible legacy of the 49ers organization is a perfect fit for the Levi's brand - and a chance for us to engage with sports and music fans across the Bay Area and around the world.''

AP NEWS
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Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
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