NFL team relocates to Arizona as county restrictions tighten

The San Francisco 49ers logo is seen at the 50 yard marker at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on September 13.
The San Francisco 49ers logo is seen at the 50 yard marker at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on September 13. MSA/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers will play their next two home games in Arizona. The team was forced to find an alternative site after Santa Clara County, California, banned contact sports for the next three weeks.

The 49ers are now set to host the Buffalo Bills next Monday night at the Arizona Cardinals’ home ground, State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The team will utilize the stadium again the following Sunday to play the Washington Football Team on Dec. 13. 

The 49ers will play three of their next four games at State Farm Stadium as the team was previously scheduled to play the Cardinals in Glendale the day after Christmas. 

The team has yet to announce plans on where it will hold practices. 

“The Cardinals organization, State Farm Stadium and League officials have been supportive and accommodating as we work through the many logistical issues involved in relocating NFL games,” the 49ers said in a statement.

Some background: The restrictive measures was prompted by an “exponential” growth in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in the county, according to County Counsel James Williams.

Other measures include modifying capacity for businesses, limiting social gatherings.

“The 49ers are, I think, the most nationally obvious example, but there is no family in our community that is untouched by this pandemic,” Williams told CNN on Monday, noting that the pandemic has complicated everyone’s lives and communities. Hospitalizations have doubled in the last 14 days, he said, and capacity is a priority. 

“Our ICU beds are filling up, hospitals are filling up, we are trying to take every possible measure locally to rein that in,” said Williams.