Why not San Francisco?

Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by morrissey, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. morrissey

    morrissey Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 18, 2000
    West Los Angeles, Calif
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I have wondered often - aloud, in print, and to myself why not have a team in San Francisco. There is a stadium (that needs some work) Kezar, public transportation access and the history of having the US's oldest soccer league (SFSFL). There is a great number of young people playing and living in the city that love soccer who wouldn't have to make a big outing to go see the team.

    A team playing in Golden Gate park would make a great urban destination - even for people from outside the city. A new parking facility in conjunction with a newly rebuilt DeYoung musuem and a renovation of the California Academy of Sciences are things withing walking distance of Kezar.

    I wonder why no one seems to be looking at San Francisco.

  2. footballer7883

    footballer7883 New Member

    Feb 16, 2004
  3. Jabinho

    Jabinho New Member

    May 29, 2004
    Perhaps the fact that land costs in SF are among the most expensive on the planet have something to do with it? As far as a stadium in the city proper..
  4. scaryice

    scaryice Member

    Jan 25, 2001
    It doesn't matter if there's a stadium. New stadiums only at this point, or at least a plan/agreement in place.
  5. Hawkeye17

    Hawkeye17 DynaChick v QuakeBabe v WildKate v Chewie23

    Aug 25, 1999
    Miami Vice 82
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    San Francisco was considered when Tony Amanpour was being courted, and even the Mayor, Gavin Newsom, was talking to Quakes officials about a SSS just south of the Giants baseball stadium. When talks between those parties didn't go through talks shifted towards San Jose and Santa Clara.

    On paper, it looks nice, but (1) the locals will not want a soccer stadium at Golden Gate Park especially with the pristine land, (2) Kezar already has been downsized and there would be local opposition towards expanding the facility again and (3) limited land. Ideally it would be the parking lot near the baseball grounds since it's centered around the transit lines, but the interest is elsewhere.

    Most likely a team will return to the South Bay before SF is considered. However, it would be more ideal given that I'm closer to there than to San Jose.
  6. Bajoro

    Bajoro Member+

    Sep 10, 2000
    The Inland Empire
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Here are some scenarios for San Francisco to get an MLS team:

    - The 49ers fold or get moved to LA

    - The 49ers get sold to someone who wants to also buy an MLS franchise and operate both teams in a new stadium (great, another MLS team in a NFL stadium...)

    - An international corporation that wants to invest in US soccer comes in and provides the financial muscle to build a stadium in what now is the Giants' parking lot. (San Francisco could use a better outdoor concert option than SBC...)

    As I sit in my office typing, I can look out the window at another, adjacent plot of land where this could have happened. Unfortunately, a window of opportunity passed about 10 years ago when there was relatively speaking a lot of land that was once a rail yard. It's now a brand spanking new biotech center.

    Seriously, land is rare here. And Kezar will never happen -- it's what it is, a high school stadium and track.

    I think MLS in San Francisco is highly unlikely. Santa Clara is the way to go -- not far from San Jose, and much closer to San Francisco. And the land is just sitting there.
  7. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    The Peninsula and the East Bay are the only options in the SF Bay Area aside from San Jose.
  8. ThreeApples

    ThreeApples Member+

    Jul 28, 1999
    Smurf Village
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No owner.
    No stadium.

    Kezar is not an option. If someone is holding an event there, they have to get special permission from some neighborhood organization in order to be allowed to sell more than 5,000 tickets (it fits about 10K). Even when the 49ers held a free public practice there a couple years ago, they couldn't get that permission to allow more than 5,000 people to attend. Also, one of the reasons the A-League team left Kezar was that they had lower scheduling priority than rec league rugby.

    San Francisco would also probably be the most difficult place in the country to get stadium construction politically approved, except perhaps Manhattan.
  9. Hawkeye17

    Hawkeye17 DynaChick v QuakeBabe v WildKate v Chewie23

    Aug 25, 1999
    Miami Vice 82
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That too. When you have companies shifting operations to the suburbs because of the high cost per square foot in the San Francisco city limits, you can expect the same in constructing a stadium.
  10. Chris M.

    Chris M. Member+

    Jan 18, 2002
    I was actually working with the Seals back then. :D

    Kezar has a ton of problems. The atmosphere with a small stadium and a track is horrible. The weather is about as cold and miserable as you will find short of playing on Ocean Beach. The City is nearly impossible to work with. Traffic, traffic, traffic. Neighbors.

    We were actually doing better and growing a fan base at USF which was incredibly small. The move up to A-League and the move to Kezar were big factors in the demise of the team IMO.

    I had dreams of glory when we made the decision to move to Kezar, but it was really a bust.
  11. USAClash

    USAClash Member

    Feb 9, 1999
    I always thought the Great America location in Santa Clara would be the best place for the Quakes. It's a little more centrally located for the rest of the Bay Area. Nearly everyone in the Bay Area drives by that area at some point, more so than any area in the City of San Jose, particularly SJSU.
  12. Revolt

    Revolt Member+

    Jun 16, 1999
    Davis, CA
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Here is my list of locations that I think should be considered - outside of Santa Clara County (they are already well known). In no particular order:

    Fremont. On the west side of town. This area was under consideration some time ago.

    Hayward Hills. Cal State East Bay (lol, Hayward) probably has land enough for a stadium, but this location is too far out of the way to be feasible.

    Oakland Coliseum. At some point, the A's may get a new stadium, and Al Davis will have move the Traitors elsewhere.

    Oakland - Laney College. I still think this would be an ideal location. A Northern California answer to Cal State Dominguez Hills.

    Golden Gate Fields. My absolutely favorite location. Right at the junction of I-80 and I-580. The West side stands already exist. Give the horsies the heave-ho, and rebuild with new east side stands. Voila!

    Vacaville. At the intersection I-505 and I-80. Yep, its far away from just about everything. OTOH, its the Frisco of the Bay Area (fast-growing suburb). With one bonus - You've got the 2 million people of the Sacramento Region within reasonable driving distance. This is the longer-term option, with a dozen or more soccer fields. All within sight of I-80.

    UC Davis. A brand new football stadium is about to begin construction. Its the exact rght size for a MLS stadium.

    Sacramento. With the Kings about to depart to Vegas, this sports-crazed town could easily support a MLS franchise. Sac State and the Sacramento CC both have stadiums that could work for MLS, but likely a new stadium would be required.

    San Francisco. Keezar would be a killer location. Problem: No parking. However, transit would work. This would be a super location, but its a long-shot.

    Candlestick Park. This is a fine location so long as MLS is willing to play all games at 1:00 PM. The weather is usually pretty good at this time, but night time conditions are awful. A new light rail line will be built there soon, but this is an oddly out-of-way location for just about everyone.

    San Francisco South of Market. A stadium about a mile south of SBC Park could be possible, but land prices make it impractible.

    One final thought. Once the A's make a deal on a new stadium, all of the losers may suddenly have MLS soccer on their mind.
  13. Chris M.

    Chris M. Member+

    Jan 18, 2002
    Take my word for it, Kezar suffers from the same cold weather issues. Even day games can be nasty as there are days in mid-summer where the fog never rolls back that far.
  14. MAVSFAN82

    MAVSFAN82 Member

    Oct 30, 2005
    Dallas, Texas
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Where did you hear that about the Sacramento Kings?
  15. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    Davis won't even let Trader Joe's into town. Or so my sister from Davis tells me.
    There's that plot of land north of Arco Arena where they once wanted to build a baseball stadium - and didn't. It's still sitting there with nothing on it except a half built foundation as far as I know.

  16. wassuper

    wassuper New Member

    Dec 15, 2005
    Go Ags...! Though, this would most likely never, ever happen
  17. uclacarlos

    uclacarlos Member+

    Aug 10, 2003
    east coast
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    When Davis leaves, which he eventually will, it would be the perfect opportunity to rebuild both the Arena and an SSS.
    This is my 'hood, baby. Walking distance for me. :D

    Actually, this is where the Raiders started out back in the '60's, or if not started, they played there early on!!

    It's not that "convenient" b/c the streets are pretty small and there's no off-ramp (currently; I'm sure a stadium would change that) southbound (coming from the north) on the 880. Northbound (coming from SJ) there is.

    For traffic coming from the 580, you'd have to meander down through the lake, and the city already has a ton of money set aside for a project to eliminate a lane around the lake so as to make it more pedestrian friendly, more of a park type o' thang. The offramps/onramps at Lakeshore/Grand exit are sooo inefficient, except getting onto the freeway going south.

    BUT... Laney College is right off the Lake Merritt BART station. I actually always fancied tearing down the Convention Center (btw the western part of the lake and Laney College; there's a one-lane street separating Laney and the Convention Center/Oakland Museum) and having one end of the stadium open and facing the lake, the hills, the historic apartments surrounding the lake, etc. Lake Merritt is absolutely stunning at night, as is Oakland's downtown (the Tribune building).

    The one thing that would be perfect for the Quakes is that... well... the city is trying to make the East Lake (Lake Merritt, that is) the Castro East. In other words... the "gay" part of town. How appropriate. :D ;)

    But I doubt, like... highly doubt... that The Town would support soccer. Its politics are dominated by friction btw the extreme wealthy and a politically galvanized African-American poor community (birthplace of the Black Panthers). The middle-class is really a silent voice in Oakland politics.

    I used to think this way, but the West-siiiide stands are the length of like 3 football fields. You'd have to just tear them down completely.

    The other thing is that GGF are due east of the Golden Gate Bridge, the mouth of the SF Bay. It gets f-reezing there!!!!

    And last but not least... the cities of Albany, Berkeley and El Cerrito (maybe Richmond) have already agreed to cooperate (how 'bout them apples: different gub'mints actually cooperating!) to develop 2-3 tournament grade soccer fields in that immediate vecinity. I believe it's 3, and 2 will be field-turf. (The East Bay desperately needs soccer fields, what w/ all the parks built for softball/baseball and that sit unused.)

    So in a sense, the whole "build soccer fields for the kids" angle is mute, or moo... as Joey would say.
  18. Stinkey Turner

    Dec 15, 2000

    Weather was not much nicer at USF, being on the top of the hill, it would often get windy and blanketed in fog. But that was part of te experience! Fans would actually chant, "Here comes the Fog!"
    I agre though, Kezar was a cruddy place to watch a game.
    -As far as A-League, it would be nice if someone could fix up Boxer Stadium.
    MLS would need a blank canvas, and they really don't come cheap in SF.
    Angel Island anyone? :D
  19. Chris M.

    Chris M. Member+

    Jan 18, 2002
    Yea, the Open Cup game against KC was one of my favorite memories. Preki, Klopas and company walking out of the locker room with short sleeve shirts on and shivering. Packed house with a Seals win!
  20. asdf2

    asdf2 Member+

    Oct 11, 2004
    San Francisco
    Kezar would be great but the combination of no parking and not great mass transit access would make it not work even if not for the overwhelming political constraits.

    As for Davis and Vacaville, you are smoking some serious stuff there man. Those places are in the middle of nowhere.
  21. Earthshaker

    Earthshaker BigSoccer Supporter

    Sep 12, 2005
    The hills above town
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Location-wise I think you are right. It is about 10 miles north/northwest of Spartan, and has great access. I sent an e-mail to the Santa Clara City Council during the efforts to keep the Quakes and told them to think big and build a facility like Bolton Wanderers Reebok Stadium and attach a hotel to it. :cool:
  22. clubfoot

    clubfoot New Member

    Jul 14, 1999
    Oakland, CA
    The Arena was rebuilt about 10 years ago. It's quite nice the way it is.

    Why would Davis leaving be the catalyst for an SSS? Do you mean renovating the existing stadium? Tearing down Mt. Davis?

    This would be a great location for an SSS. Street access could be improved easily, and the great BART access is such a huge positive. It would also add a real urban flavor that so many of the new SSS are sorely lacking.

    How is the city trying to make that a gay area?

    The problem with Oakland politics and stadiums is the city's past experience with the Raiders. The city is totally snakebit and will only consider that kind of project if it's almost completely financed with private money.
  23. FuzzyForeigner

    Oct 29, 2003
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i currently go to UC Davis and damn ! I am surprised how many here are familiar with this area. Davis is a real straightlaced community that rarely supports anything new or exciting. But sac definitely could and should support MLS.

    Any of you guys go to UC Davis wanna watch World Cup games at the Grad this summer? PM me
  24. cristoforo7

    cristoforo7 New Member

    May 14, 2003
    Yes and no. I agree the City of San Francisco is not a realistic option. However, the Vallejo-Fairfield area (technically not the East Bay but close) would also be a solid contender in my opinion. Why?

    The real estate and construction costs are substantially less than on the Peninsula and in the East Bay proper. There is plenty of empty land.

    There is a solid and growing population base.

    The area is served by Interstate 80. (You will certainly draw more fans from the Sacramento area with an SSS in the Vallejo-Fairfield area.)

    It is a gateway to wine country (Napa County and Sonoma County) and thus will be attractive to players, executives, etc., who could live the "wine country lifestyle" and still be 20 to 30 minutes from the SSS.

    Public transportation is not necessarily an issue. With the abundance of land, there will be plenty of area for parking and traffic should not be a problem. If anyone wants a public transportation option, from San Francisco there is a fast ferry and shuttles could easily be set up from the Vallejo ferry terminal to an SSS.

    With the new Bay Area wide ferry system that should be starting to function at some level within five years, there could be ferries to Vallejo not only from San Francisco, but Alameda, Oakland, Redwood City, South S.F., Larkspur, Berkeley, Richmond and Redwood City.

    Here is a very nice map of the concept of the new ferry system, and gives you perspective of where Vallejo is relative to the rest of the Bay Area:


    There is also the Amtrak train which runs along the I-80 corridor. Again, shuttles can be run from the closest stops.

    There are other nearby attractions for visiting fans. Marine World (a Six Flags amusement park with marine theme and shows-- dolphins, etc.) in Vallejo; wine tasting in Napa County.

    And it is in the heart of huge youth soccer areas with Contra Costa just to the south, north bay soccer leagues to the north and north-west (Sonoma and Napa Counties) and the Solano County leagues of Vallejo, Benicia, Fairfield, Vacaville and Dixon.

    But here is the key: Land is cheap and construction costs are inexpensive (relative to rest of Bay Area).
  25. cristoforo7

    cristoforo7 New Member

    May 14, 2003
    Just read your post after I wrote mine, above and I like your brainstorming.

    The UC-Davis and Sacramento options obviously would mean a brand new team (not the "Earthquakes") but the Sacramento area is great and could be another Columbus type market (with a much better SSS :) ).

    Vacaville is sort of in that no-man's land as compared to either Davis (Sacramento) or Vallejo-Fairfield (Bay Area). You would definitely get a lot of fans from Sacramento there, but I think fewer of the more well-off families from the Roseville-Rocklin-Granite Bay and El Dorado Hills areas which are on the east side of the Sacramento metropolitan area.

    All three options have the same major positive I pointed to above: cheap land and inexpensive construction costs (again, this is relative to the Peninsula and Contra Costa or Alameda counties).

    Regarding Golden Gate Fields, I love that location also. Problem is it will be a horse track for the foreseeable future, especially now that Bay Meadows (on the peninsula) is shutting down.

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