Earthquakes Stadium opening delayed until 2H 2014

If you’ve been following the (lack of) progress in getting the Airport West/FMC site ready for an 18,000-seat soccer stadium, you’d know that they been finding some interesting and unusual things in the excavation process. Just about everywhere there have been thick foundation work, underground facilities, and in keeping with the site’s previous life as a munitions manufacturer, bomb shelters. Both President Dave Kaval and Lew Wolff have been backtracking in recent months about opening the stadium in time for the 2014 MLS season, and today’s announcement makes it official.

Unfortunately, the news creates a bit of confusion for fans, who until now have been sold on the prospects of a brand new stadium opening in March of next year, not June or July. Quakes management has a bit of a mess to deal with at the stadium site and at Buck Shaw Stadium, whose capacity is barely more than half of the new venue’s. Kaval will have a Google Hangout at 3:30 today, in which he’ll field questions from fans.

Several other MLS stadia have also experienced opening delays, including StubHub Center (LA Galaxy home, formerly Home Depot Center), Sporting Park (Kansas City), Saputo Stadium (Montreal), PPL Park (Philadelphia), and Toyota Park (Chicago). Utah’s Rio Tinto Stadium didn’t open until the end of the 2008 season, and even the first soccer specific stadium, Columbus Crew Stadium, was delayed long enough (mid-May 1999) to have the team embark on a lengthy road trip to start the season.

It just goes to show that having a site considered “shovel-ready” isn’t enough. Sometimes you need more than shovels.

16 thoughts on “Earthquakes Stadium opening delayed until 2H 2014

  1. I saw the site today. Lots of big piles of dirt, not a. Single steel beam raised, no concrete poured from what I could see

  2. @Pjk

    That’s all explained by Kaval, he mentioned that they are getting ready for foundation work and that the steel will start going up in November.

  3. pretty disappointed with the 13k that showed up tonight for the a’s game against tor with the way the a’s are playing. this after some good crowds against the laa the past four days. had hoped for at least 20k which showed up for that first game thur night against laa.

  4. It may be explained by Kaval, but it’s a lousy explanation. Waiting weeks to find out if ordinance is still live? Any excuse to not actually build anything and they’ve taken it so far. Remember groundbreaking was LAST fall. Which means barring any more delays they will have taken a full year to start actual construction. The Niners much larger stadium was almost topped off by that point.

  5. With the number of delayed stadiums in MLS compared to MLB/NFL, it’s pretty clear that budget constraints are a much bigger factor for the Quakes and their peers. The 49ers have no problem blowing the budget by 20-25% as long as they open in time for 2014, because the revenue there is that much of a difference-maker. For the Quakes – sure it’ll help, but not to the point where it’s worth adding on another $5-10 million of cost.

  6. @Tim – The 49ers stadium is penciling out to $400 million more than originally advertised. If the W’s get the upfront commitments they can make it work.

  7. DeMause is a great writer, but he is definitely biased toward “this won’t work” if you read his past posts.
    I don’t want that to come off as “Jeff thinks DeMause sucks” because I agree with him a lot of the time. Especially on his over arching hypothesis that most municipalities were swindled in the past 20 years by sports leagues.

  8. I had to cover the groundbreaking for the SJSU student paper last year. I still have the shovel. It was a little strange talking to Lew Wolff about something that wasn’t related to the A’s.

    Just felt like sharing that for no particular reason.

  9. Quakes should just “break in” Levi’s Stadium for the Niners in spring/summer ’14 since its just down the road….Niners won’t have to get a buncha boy scouts (their plan) to flush all the new toilets at once and all the other teething tests for a new stadium if they have a ready-made sports crowd at their disposal. Both problems solved.

  10. In somewhat related news, San Jose has quietly broken ground on the Autumn street expansion which would be required for Cisco Field.

  11. On Facebook, San Jose 2030 has posted a picture of some initial site clearing:

  12. @A’s fan,
    Re Autumn Street extension I saw that over at skyscraper city the other day. Quietly indeed… 😉

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