05 February 2006

San Jose soccer deal dead

San Jose officials nixed an $80 million deal to build a soccer stadium near the Diridon South ballpark site. The controversial deal, which received little public scrutiny before it initially passed last month, involved a commitment from the city to build a SSS (soccer specific stadium) on city-owned land that currently houses a fire training site. Operating subsidies were included for the years in which the new San Jose Earthquakes expansion team were forced to play in Spartan Stadium while the SSS was being built. The plan also called for funds earmarked for public recreation facilities and parks to be rerouted to the stadium. MLS commissioner Don Garber visited San Jose two weeks ago and had meetings with the city.

This could affect the A's interest in the team, since it is unclear whether there would be any public share for a SSS, and that's what attracted Lew Wolff to the idea in the first place. After the $80 million plan was announced in December, Wolff expressed his interest and has been in touch ever since. The article states that the city still plans to meet with Wolff in the next 45 days, which could mean any number of things.

Does this mean that all hope of getting the Quakes back is lost? Hardly. I wouldn't be surprise if a different plan came out of the woodwork. It may even be *gasp* a multi-purpose facility, though it wouldn't be anything like the multi-purpose stadiums of decades past. Neither MLB nor MLS wants to share stadia with other tenants, but if it is a single ownership entity that owned both franchises, it might make more sense, especially from the construction standpoint. The difficulty lies in building a stadium that can capably handle both sports without compromising size, sightlines, or amenities in either configuration.


Georob said...

I know you disagree, but I think that if San Jose wants to get into the "big leagues", that they go after the 49'ers. Like the Giants, the Niners have a significant fan base in the South Bay. And until the team becomes a real contender again, SF may waffle on a replacement for Monster Park, opening the door for a relocation attempt

San Jose could then build a stadium to be used for the 49'ers, SJ State, and Soccer.

Marine Layer said...

It doesn't reallly work because of the conflicting interests of the three teams. The 49ers would prefer to stay in SF because of the name. Because the 49ers and the city want the stadium to house a Super Bowl, it has to be quite large - at least 70,000 seats and with possibly hundreds of suites - which will make it extremely expensive. The NFL has its G3 loan program to help, but even then the remaining cost will be enormous.

SJSU wants to update Spartan Stadium, but the attendance isn't there to make it worth investing. They also want to control revenue streams, an issue that became divisive with AEG and pushed AEG to move the Quakes.

The Quakes don't want a stadium that holds more than 30,000. Two MLS teams currently play in NFL stadia: Kansas City Wiz and the Metrostars. Both are desperate to leave because of the expense and the cavernous feeling the football stadia lend to a MLS game.

San Jose has land to build a NFL stadium and it doesn't have to be downtown. It has enough issues to deal with in attracting baseball and soccer teams that pursuing football would detract from its other efforts.

tony d. said...

I agree with you Georob that SJ should go after the 49ers...and this is coming from a Raiders fan. However, I also agree with R.M. that the time isn't right for SJ to start talking about an NFL team (I still have hopes for MLB). Perhaps after 2010 SJ could become a player for either the Niners or Raiders. I don't think SF's going to do anything about a new football stadium (to much $$ for the ultra liberals). As for SJ, I've personally felt an NFL Stadium could go nicely at either the Berryesa Flea Market site or in the Coyote Valley.

Anonymous said...

Mildly related issue: Sports Illustrated reported in its most current issue that SJ is talking to the Seattle SuperSonics about a move into HP Pavilion if the Sonics can't work out a more favorable deal on Key Arena.

I'm a much bigger MLB and NFL fan than of NBA, but this deal might be too good to pass up.

HP is already perfectly suited for basketball and there would be limited initial investment needed. If the Sharks are ammendable to the deal, and the article claims Greg Jamison is the one driving it, then this makes great sense and could even drive more interest for a baseball stadium.

I, for one, would love to see a team come in and compete for fans with teh Warriors, whose steady attendance seems to be more about for the oddly insatiable NBA appetite in the Bay Area than it does for loyalty to the worst-performing professional sports franchise over the past decade-plus.