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Rec & Parks OKs Permit For Super Bowl City, Concerts At Sue Bierman Park

Rec & Parks OKs Permit For Super Bowl City, Concerts At Sue Bierman Park
Rendering: Super Bowl City on Market Street. (Courtesy NFL Super Bowl 50 Host Committee)
By Geri Koeppel - Published on December 21, 2015.

In addition to its Super Bowl City fan village at the foot of Market Street and at Justin Herman Plaza, and the NFL Experience at Moscone Center, expect commotion at Sue Bierman Park on the Embarcadero.

The Super Bowl Host Committee got the go-ahead from the SF Recreation and Parks Commission on December 17th to hold live performances January 30th–February 7th in the eastern side of the park—the part with the children's playground—between the Embarcadero and Drumm Street. Load-in and load-out dates will run from January 20th–30th and February 7th–10th, according to the permit application.


Eastern side of Sue Bierman Park. Photo: Geri Koeppel/Hoodline

"Sue Bierman will be a place for a performance stage with a number of local musicians and performances throughout the day and into the evening most evenings," said Super Bowl Host Committee spokesperson P.J. Johnston. "It’s also the location of the NFL network’s live broadcast." CBS will broadcast from Justin Herman Plaza.

Super Bowl City and the area at Sue Bierman Park will be open from January 30th–February 7th. It'll be open 11am–9pm daily, and until 10pm on January 30th and February 6th-7th. Johnston told us performances generally will start at noon on weekdays and run until 9pm weekdays and 10pm Fridays and Saturdays, but there will be no evening performances on February 2nd, and all of Super Bowl City will close by 3pm on game day. "The idea is to watch the game with your family at home, at a bar and grill, at a local business—whatever you normally do," he said.

Johnston said the area will be secured and entrances will have bag checks, but it'll be free to the public. Some food and drink will be sold, including beer, but "it won't be a huge emphasis,” he said, adding that people are encouraged to patronize local bars and restaurants for full meals. Look for fireworks over the Bay as part of opening night on January 30th.

A list of performers will be announced in January, and Johnston said they'll be a mix of local musicians and bigger-name acts as well as some nonprofit groups that received donations from the 50 Fund, the charitable arm of the Host Committee. This host committee has already donated $5 million to local nonprofits, which is twice last year's amount, and the goal is to donate $10 million, Johnston said.

The application included more details on activities at Justin Herman Plaza as well, including a "Fan Energy Zone" that includes a "Feature Activation Dome" with interactive game components and a "Quarterback Challenge" virtual reality experience; an NFL social media center; a mock football field over the bocce ball courts; a zip line adjacent to the bocce courts; and more.


Justin Herman Plaza. Photo: Geri Koeppel/Hoodline

A medical tent will be set up in the western portion of Sue Bierman Park, the part bordered by Washington and Clay streets to the north and south and Drumm and Davis streets to the east and west. In all areas of activity, "There are plans to ensure the grass as well as the bocce ball courts will be protected, and if impacted, they will be fixed," Johnston said.


Western side of Sue Bierman Park. Photo: Geri Koeppel/Hoodline

The Super Bowl Host Committee has been sharing plans for Super Bowl City and Sue Bierman Park with neighborhood stakeholders, including the Golden Gateway Tenants Association (GGTA), whose membership includes the local residents closest to the park and thus the most affected by any noise. (This reporter is on the board of the GGTA, but only the president of the group, Bill Hannan, was invited to the meeting).

Hannan said he and the president of the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association (BCNA), Bob Harrer, met with three representatives of the Host Committee on December 11th, who assured them the sound won't exceed 50 decibels, speakers will be pointed toward the Bay and away from residential units to lessen the noise, and that sound monitors will measure the levels. Also, a hotline will be set up for complaints. "They told us what their plans are, and they made some commitments to do things that I think will keep this from being too disruptive," Hannan said.

However, he added that neighbors don't have anything on that in writing yet, and they'd like to get that from Rec & Parks or the Host Committee “so we can have something we can rely on.” Johnston promised the hotline will be heavily publicized and distributed to the GGTA and others in the neighborhood. 

Hannan also said they discussed traffic at the meeting: "As I understand it, the plan is to close the southbound lanes of the Embarcadero for a period of time, that’s not completely clear, but it is more than the nine days of the planned events and could be as long as 20 days," he said. "They’ll shut the southbound lanes of the Embarcadero at Washington, divert the traffic up Washington Street, and then at least some of that traffic would turn left onto Battery Street. I can imagine the traffic jams that will be there."

The neighbors were told SFMTA will be managing the rerouting of the traffic and there will be traffic control officers at intersections. Also, any construction sites will be shut down for the duration.

The Super Bowl Host Committee came under fire earlier for a plan to remove Muni wires on Market Street, but it later was announced that no wires would come down.