Normally even sea creatures don't enjoy earthquakes, but this isn't
the case in San Jose. The Sharks, a hockey team in the NHL, are set to
purchase a 10 to 15 percent stake in MLS's Earthquakes.
'Quakes owner Lewis Wolff confirmed the pending deal to Sports
Business Journal. It is expected to be worth between $2 and $3
"It's a done deal," Wolff said. "It will help us as we continue to grow."
The two teams will share databases of fans and cross-promote each
others' games, as well as coordinate marketing strategies.
It's easy to see what the 'Quakes get out of the partnership. They
receive cash and help from an experienced sports organization to break
into the Bay area market. The Sharks, on the other hand, are
investing. They are banking on soccer and last year's expansion team
to continue to grow in the region. In that regard, their actions can
be taken as a bold affirmation of many of the strides MLS has taken in
the past decade. This is another sports team reaching out and
including MLS and soccer as its equal.
Wolff also said that the Earthquakes plan on hiring an architecture
firm by next year to design a soccer-specific stadium. It is expected
to cost between $40 million to $60 million of private money and hold
15,000 fans. The Earthquakes currently rent Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa
Clara, Calif. which holds 10,300.
--Zac Lee Rigg, Goal.com