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Prospects of New Earthquakes' Stadium in Doubt

On Tuesday, Earthquakes owner Lew Wolff reaffirmed his commitment to building a soccer-only stadium in San Jose while also detailing the snags hanging up the plan.

Primarily, ownership is struggling to generate private sponsor interest in difficult economic times. "You can't do it out of magic," Wolff said. "There's no sense building a stadium unless you have some flow of revenue." Wolff maintains that the club needs about $5 million a year in sponsorship for a 15,000-seat, no-frills stadium. It has secured 20 percent of that so far. "We're trying to get to the edge of the diving board," he said. "Before jumping into a pool, we want to make sure there is water in it." But Wolff also admitted that he worries the team's fan base isn't deep enough to show potential sponsors that the South Bay is a soccer hotbed. Before starting an expansion team in San Jose, Wolff had big expectations for quick growth. "We expected to have a waiting list [for season tickets]- before we fielded a team. While we did OK, it is about half of what I expected."

Wolff, however, says he is committed to the belief that professional soccer can succeed in the South Bay. And he said that he is committed to the Earthquakes' management, notably general manager John Doyle and coach Frank Yallop, despite the team's last place position in the West. "I couldn't ask for two better, more committed people," Wolff said. "I don't give a damn what the fans say. It is not something that happens overnight."

Read the whole story at Mercury News »

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