18 July 2007

Welcome back Quakes

Quakes fans can now consider the last two years to be a poorly-timed hiatus. A press conference in Denver today should make it official. Earthquakes 4.0 is expected to start play again in the 2008 season, with a new stadium targeted for the old FMC site in San Jose by (hopefully) 2010. MLS commissioner Don Garber and Quakes principals Lew Wolff and David Alioto are expected to be in attendance. Articles:

They must be open for business, since they're taking deposits for season tickets.

What isn't clear is what the Quakes will use for interim venue(s) until the new SSS (soccer specific stadium) opens. Apparently they've ruled out venerable but decrepit Spartan Stadium, going with a two-pronged approach. Games (er, matches) that require higher capacity may be played at the McAfee Coliseum, where 47,000+ attended a Mexico-Guatemala tilt a few weeks ago. Stanford Stadium may also be a possibility, since it has pretty much perfect sizing for soccer events and admirably hosted last weekend's match (also 47,000+) between Chelsea FC and Club America.

For other games, it's a bit of a dilemma. There are a few venues that are generally too small for MLS games, such as SCU's Buck Shaw Stadium (cap. = 6,800), PAL stadium in SJ (5,000), and Kezar Stadium in SF (9,000). Buck Shaw would seem to be the most logical choice since it's a stone's throw away from the future stadium site and it's undergoing renovations that will benefit the school's excellent soccer programs. A rumor is floating around that the Quakes may even do some kind of barnstorming in an effort to introduce themselves to more of the Bay Area. There's little chance of the Quakes and A's sharing new stadia since both would have their venues under construction at the same time, with the Quakes opening a year earlier.


Airblair said...

I just don't get why the Merc, or anyone, thinks that Mcafee is a viable temporary stadium. It has two tenants already; how will the new Quakes find any dates after September?

anthony dominguez said...

Congratulations Earthquakes/MLS fans! R.M., any news on the upgrades to HP Pavilion? Have they been completed yet?

Marine Layer said...

airblair - It really comes down to strategy. How many of these so-called big games would they actually have? 3-5? They probably don't want to schedule both Galaxy matches at the Coliseum. It makes more sense to have one at Stanford and one in Oakland.

tony - I remember a notice about a HP Pavilion board meeting in which they were going to approve improvements. I haven't heard what the outcome was, I'll try to find out.

bbison said...

At HP Pavilion, the LED boards and new sound system are up; they're working on the new scoreboard.

Georob said...

Well Tony, while it's not the "A's are moving to SJ" announcement you really want; it's still a significant one for San Jose nonetheless and congratulations are in order. With Lew Wolff(and Billy Beane eventually, I predict) running the show along with the A's connection, this version of the Quakes should stick.

One should note that Wolff's intentions are to market this team better to the "entire Bay Area" What this means is that while the team is based and named in San Jose, it must have a regional appeal to succeed.

You know where this is headed. This has been the A's problem in competing with the Giants, whose "SF" label identifies it to casual fans as Northern California's team.

A "San Jose" label is fine for the Sharks and Quakes, as they're the only soccer and hockey teams the Bay Area has(just as naming the Warriors "Oakland" would likely work) But once you have to compete with the name "San Francisco", painting yourself as an "East Bay" or "South Bay" team makes it tough to market.

Of course, the question no one can seem to answer is with the gazillions of youngsters playing weekend soccer why hasn't MLS ever really caught on in the US?

SexFlavoredPez said...


Why doesn't MLS 'catch on' in the U.S? Let's look at some of the franchises MLS is competing with in their markets. Yankees, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Devils, Mets, Jets, Giants, Dodgers, Angels, Kings, Ducks, Clippers, Lakers, Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bruins, Patriots, Red Sox, Astros, Rockets, Stars, A's, Giants, Sharks, Warriors, Orioles, Capitals, Nationals, Wizards and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Most of those markets already have all four of the major sports firmly established. Even Columbus, another MLS city, has an NHL franchise. MLS doesnt succeed in this country for the same reason the A's are seen as 'the other Bay Area team.' It simply can't compete with established, successful franchises in the same market sucking up most of the dollars. I haven't seen a single MLS game broadcast on TV, granted I have a personal boycott of ESPN, but I hadn't even heard of the MLS until the 2002 World Cup. I like the sport of soccer and I want it to succeed in San Jose but until more money is put into the sport and the marketing of the sport, it simply wont 'catch on.'

anthony dominguez said...

I haven't been the biggest fan of bringing back MLS to San Jose, mostly because soccer backers onced bashed SJ's attempt to land the A's and acquire land for a downtown ballpark (you remember the EIR meetings R.M.). But the past is the past, and a huge congrats is definetely in order for Quakes fans. I really hope it works out this time for soccer fans and San Jose (some rugby and Aussie rules football matches would be nice at the new Soccer stadium). Now that the soccer advocates got their wish, I hope that in the future they'll become ardent A's supporters for Fremont and help SJ's future quest for more professional sports teams...only 10 more years for the Warrior's lease at Oracle to run out!!

Joachim said...

besides marketing around the bay area I wonder how much Quakes cross promotion we'll see at A's games. I think there is an opportunity here for Quakes fans to become A's fans and some A's fans might look into the Quakes. The more sports in San Jose the better, I agree that the Warriors in San Jose would be nice too.

Georob said...

Totally off topic here, but I'm absolutely thrilled to hear that Save Mart is bringing back the Lucky name to all the Alberstons stores they bought in the Bay Area(some of which were Lucky to begin with)

As some of you may know Save Mart CEO Bob Piccinini was head of a group that tried to buy the A's from Steve Schott several years prior to Lew Wolff's arrival and was rejected by Bud Selig. The group included former A's exec Andy Dolich and to this day I wonder what a difference that ownership group would have made.

Since many here care about things like names and corporate identities I figured you all might appreciate this news.

Marine Layer said...

A year ago on KNBR Ted Robinson, who was filling in for Gary Radnich, had an extended interview with Andy Dolich. Dolich expressed disappointment with the move, noting Oakland's geographical position and mass transit access. Incidentally, Dolich sounded like a dead man walking as it appeared that his employer, the Memphis Grizzlies, was going to be sold to a group headed by former Duke players Brian Davis and Christian Laettner.

There's always been curiosity about the Piccinini-Zimmer-Dolich-Morgan group. Some say they definitely would've already had the ballpark in downtown Oakland. Others say they didn't have deep enough pockets and would've eventually moved the team elsewhere in Northern California, running the team on the cheap in the interim. I imagine that Morgan and Beane would've clashed philosophically (duh) and Beane would've gone elsewhere. The A's might've been a small ball team.

It would be ironic if Lucky ended up being a main corporate sponsor of the team. Albertson's dropped their sponsorship when they were acquired and reorganized.

James said...

An interesting sidenote is that the Men's Wearhouse is headquartered in Fremont.