Kezar Stadium Might Be San Francisco's New Home For Pro Soccer [Updated]

Kezar Stadium Might Be San Francisco's New Home For Pro Soccer [Updated]
Photo: via Wikipedia
By Camden Avery - Published on February 11, 2016.

Kezar Stadium, former home of the San Francisco 49ers and the recent recipient of a track makeover, may be poised to become the home of the newly announced North American Soccer League's San Francisco Deltas.

Nothing has been announced officially, but representatives for the Deltas have begun to solicit community feedback about the proposed deal, which would potentially involve a multi-year lease of the stadium through Rec & Parks. If the plan goes through, Kezar would host 15 to 20 professional games a year, according to merchants who were approached about the plan.

The Deltas, who are scheduled to begin playing in 2017, would be the first West Coast team for the NASL. While the Bay Area is represented in Major League Soccer by the San Jose Earthquakes, SF proper has not had a team since the California Victory, which lasted only one season in 2007. 

Originally built to host 60,000 spectators, Kezar was downsized in 1989 to its current, more modest 10,000-person capacity.    

Possible concerns about the deal might include traffic impacts on surrounding neighborhoods, and alcohol potentially being served at the stadium. Kezar itself also presents some challenges as a soccer venue, including poor lighting for televised games and a lack of built-in vendor booths. 

We checked in with SFPD Park Station Capt. John Sanford about the potential deal, but he said Park Station's meeting with the team's representatives is still two weeks away. "We will not have a position [on the proposal] until after our meeting," he said.

District 5 Supervisor London Breed's office has also been approached about the proposed plan. "Professional soccer at Kezar could be a very fun addition to the neighborhood," Breed said in an email statement. "I just want to make sure the team works closely with our residents and merchants, and addresses concerns about traffic, parking, noise, etc. before anything is finalized."

We'll keep you up to date as we get more intel from Rec & Parks and the Deltas. 

Update, 9:49am: Sarah Madland, Director of Policy and Public Affairs for San Francisco Rec & Parks, confirmed Rec & Parks's potential interest in the deal, in an email:

The Recreation and Parks Department has been looking for ways to bring more activity to Kezar stadium. We are currently in negotiations with a professional soccer team to use Kezar Stadium as their home stadium. We have begun community outreach on the idea and, as always, will include this feedback in a final agreement. We hope to have a fully developed agreement by late spring.