Thursday, May 03, 2007

MLS Expansion - 49ers offer Earthquakes some stadium help, Philly idea not dead yet

Lew Wolff, the man hoping to bring a MLS club back to the bay area, got a bit of a gift yesterday as the owners of American football's San Francisco 49ers said they are open to the idea of having the San Jose Earthquakes play at their new stadium in Santa Clara.

The good news, Santa Clara is located right next to San Jose, the bad news, the stadium will hold around 70,000 fans and it might not be ready till 2012.

Wolff said he is still working on a site in San Jose, however he said of the 49ers idea:
"We have some things we'd like to share with the city when we're ready, and see if it works out. And if it doesn't, so be it," said Wolff, adding that he would prefer his soccer franchise to play in a soccer-only stadium with a capacity of about 20,000.
But he said if San Jose stadium sites don't work out, the 49ers "would be a very logical group to talk to. Plus, I like them a lot."
Although this is a way to get soccer back to San Jose, I don't think MLS would be overwhelmed with it as it goes against everything they've been preaching for the last 6 years or so. Smaller stadiums owned by the team has been their idea. Unless some great deal could be reached between the Earthquakes and 49ers, it would be difficult for MLS Commissioner Don Garber to say yes to all this.

Talking about Garber, yesterday he said the idea of bringing a MLS side to Philadelphia is not dead, however something needs to happen soon. Since a deal that would have brought a team to play at Rowan University just outside Philadelphia in New Jersey fell threw, the league has been trying to find another location as well as people ready to pay the $30 million franchise fee. It is obvious Garber would love a team in the area, however it seems that San Jose, St. Louis and Portland/Seattle are further along in the expansion process.

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