Super Bowl City reaches capacity Friday night ahead of fireworks display
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Super Bowl 50 touched down in the heart of San Francisco with Friday night lights like San Francisco has never seen before.
But the lure of a free concert, fireworks, and Super Bowl City fan village brought a massive crowd that overwhelmed the outdoor venue.
By 8:45 p.m. Friday police began rolling down the crowded Embarcadero announcing that the Super Bowl City had reached maximum capacity and was being closed. Fans who'd traveled to Justin Herman Plaza were turned away at the entrance, spilling onto city streets.
All night, lines to get into Super Bowl City were long. People filed through tight security checkpoints at the gates and law enforcement officers were perched throughout the venue, fully armed and scanning the crowd for any security threats.
Inside the gates fans were fired up.
Broncos fans from the Bay Area and Colorado wore their blazing orange.
"It's been really crazy for the entire week. Everything, everywhere around the city has been Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl, which is awesome when it's your team," said Emily Boyd a Bronco's fan who recently moved from Colorado to San Francisco.
Also in the crowd were fans from North Carolina putting on their Panthers pose.
"We just got here today, but so far so good. We're excited for the whole weekend," said Victor Jones, who traveled from High Point, North Carolina.
"This is absolutely amazing and we're just getting started. We've only just seen this," said David Leipziger, who came from Greensboro, North Carolina for the big game.
People packed the Embarcadero and Justin Herman Plaza. Traffic jammed up the city streets through rush hour and into the night.
"It's a madhouse, the place is crazy, it's awesome, it's a good vibe," said Cam Braband of Alameda.
That good vibe drew so many people it maxed out the capacity of the outdoor venue. The band One Republic was set to give a free concert but police had to close the gates and turn new arrivals away.
The Super Bowl celebrations spilled over into other parts of town as people also started arriving early for a big concert at Pier 70 featuring Pharrell.
"So excited because I love Pharrell. Loved him since I was little, bought the tickets the minute that they were on sale," said Lorena Morazan of Vallejo.
South of Market on Jessie Street, organizers were rolling out a red carpet for a late night star-studded Bleacher Report Ball.
The city was energized and full of Bay Area unity where even Raiders and Niners fans were smiling side by side and sharing a drink.
Families too felt the excitement and fun of Super Bowl City.
Faraz Azam and his father Riz Azam came from Martinez.
"It was good...the games," Faraz said.
"The lines were a little long.but you know they moved. It was good seeing everyone having a good time," said Riz Azam.
Police reported crowded streets and some emergency vehicles reportedly had difficulty reaching some medical emergencies within the crowds.
Super Bowl City will be open Sunday and close just before the game begins.