SBD/Issue 232/Facilities & Venues

MLS Earthquakes Owner Lew Wolff Talks New Stadium, Fan Base

Lew Wolff Says Fan Support Is
About Half What He Anticipated
MLS Earthquakes Owner Lew Wolff Tuesday "conceded that plans for a soccer-only stadium in San Jose are in limbo, expressed dismay over the lack of a strong fan base and offered unqualified support for team management despite a losing record," according to Elliott Almond of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Wolff "backed off the projected opening date of 2012 that Quakes officials have targeted" for a new $50M stadium project. Ownership "needs to secure naming rights to provide steady financing for a privately built facility," but they are "struggling to generate sponsor interest in difficult economic times." Wolff: "There's no sense building a stadium unless you have some flow of revenue." Wolff said that the team needs about $5M a year in sponsorship for a "15,000-seat, no-frills stadium." The team has "secured 20[%] of that so far." The club "plans to unveil architectural renderings of the facility next month in hopes of attracting sponsors." But Wolff "worries the team's fan base isn't deep enough to show potential sponsors that the South Bay is a soccer hotbed." While Wolff "loves the impassioned core supporters, he expected to sell more season tickets when relaunching the Quakes as an expansion team for 2008." Wolff: "It didn't catch on the way I thought it would. ... We expected to have a waiting list -- before we fielded a team. While we did OK, it is about half of what I expected" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/19).

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