The Morning After: Attendance, San Jose Stadium and More

san-joseBig weekend of games in MLS, with playoff spots on the line in almost every game.  The crowds did not dissapoint, with about 11k in New York and 10, 500 (sellout) in San Jose for a pair of Friday Night games.  Elsewhere, Seattle brought its usual 32k plus while more than 18k were at Robertson stadium for a thrilling RSL/Houston matchup.  The Wizards got their ususal 10k plus sellout and more than 18k were at the Home Depot Center to see the Galaxy severely dent TFC’s playoff chances.  Finally, on Sunday the East’s two best teams played to a 2-2 draw in front of about 15,500.

The big business news of the weekend comes from San Jose, where the Earthquakes have released the first images of their proposed new stadium. The stadium is planned near the San Jose Airport and will reportedly required two years to construct from the date of the ground breaking.  The funding for the planned stadium has always been a bit fuzzy.  The city of San Jose had previously agreed to chop $40 million off the purchase price of a 75 acre parcel that will include the Stadium and additional mixed use development. We reported a while back that based on a request by owner Lew Wolff, Mr. Wolff will now pay $89 million for the site (purchased by the City for $81 million). The stadium will seat 15,000 (with additional seating for 3,000 more on a berm at the stadium’s open end) and will use 14 acres of the site.

In addition to the difficulty in moving the stadium project forward, the team has struggled on the field. Since entering MLS in its current form, San Jose has had two consective last place seasons and fell out of the playoff race fairly early in 2009.  In response, the Mercury News is reporting, that in “an effort to soften the blow of not breaking ground as promised, the team announced it will cut ticket prices by as much as 40 percent for next season. Season-ticket prices will be available for as low as $12 a game, single-game tickets for as little as $20.”  Wolff and San Jose are really discounting their product to keep the fans coming.

Some final business notes; Goff is reporting that MLS will open on March 25 with Seattle hosting Philadelphia at Qwest.  That should be a great game for an ESPN national televsion audience as the League combines its best atmosphere with the addition of a large television market to the fold.  He is also reporting that Philadelphia will open at home in the third week of the season.  As we have previously said, we believe the League should push the Philly opener back until May to ensure the building is finished on time.  Finally, the Red Bulls are slated open their new home in week three against Colorado.