Share this story...
Latest News

Report: 49ers could play in Arizona as COVID-19 forces them out of home

This Oct. 4, 2020, file photo, taken with a fisheye lens, shows an empty Levi's Stadium before an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

The San Francisco 49ers and other teams may need to find a temporary new home after Santa Clara County on Saturday banned all contact sports from holding games and practices for the next three weeks.

County officials issued the directives in response to rising cases of coronavirus in the area. The rules take effect Monday and will last until Dec. 21.

One option is for the Niners to play at the home of the NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals, State Farm Stadium. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Cardinals have offered to accommodate the 49ers.

“That is looking like the most likely location,” Rapoport added.

He also reports that stadiums in Texas are options. If San Francisco was to play in a new home like State Farm Stadium, the team could opt to live in a bubble nearby or practice closer to their homes outside of Santa Clara County while traveling for their games.

The 49ers have home games scheduled for Dec. 7 against Buffalo, Dec. 13 against Washington and Jan. 3 against Seattle at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The team also practices at that site in the county.

“We are working with the NFL and our partners on operational plans and will share details as they are confirmed,” the team said in a statement.

The NFL declined to comment other than to say the league has been in contact with the 49ers.

The rules also will impact the San Jose Sharks of the NHL and college teams at Stanford and San Jose State.

“For those teams, they will not be able to play games or have practices where they have direct contact, within the county,” Santa Clara County counsel James Williams said.

Williams said he has been in touch with the teams. None immediately responded to requests for comment.

Along with banning contact sports, the new rules also require anyone who has traveled more than 150 miles from the county to quarantine for 14 days. The 49ers are playing Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams but will return from that trip before the rules go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

“This pandemic is like a high-speed train, and our projections tell us that we are on target to derail by around the third week of December,” said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. “If we don’t apply brakes, right now with all our collective might.”

Cody said Santa Clara County has the highest case rate in the Bay Area, leading to the stricter rules. If the other counties don’t follow, the 49ers could look to play at the Oakland Coliseum — the Raiders’ old home — or possibly the Giants’ baseball stadium in San Francisco.

The NHL hasn’t announced a date for the start of training camp but the Sharks have said they would look into alternate sites if needed. Several Sharks players have been holding informal workouts at the team facility in small groups.

Stanford and San Jose State also have several sports in season. The Cardinal have one scheduled home football game left on Dec. 12 against Oregon State.

The Spartans have home football games on Dec. 5 against Hawaii and Dec. 11 against Nevada. San Jose State practiced before the season a few hundred miles away at Humboldt State because of restrictions in Santa Clara County.

Stanford’s second-ranked women’s basketball team has a home game scheduled for Monday against San Diego. The athletic department is discussing options with university and county officials.