The San Jose Sharks of the NHL are set to purchase a 10 to 15 percent stake in the Earthquakes of Major League Soccer.
Quakes owner Lewis Wolff confirmed the pending deal to
"It's a done deal," Wolff said. "It will help us as we continue to grow."
The two teams will share databases of fans and cross-promote each others' games, as well as coordinate marketing strategies.
It's easy to see what the Quakes get out of the partnership. They receive cash and help from an experienced sports organization to break into the Bay Area market.
The Sharks, on the other hand, are investing. They are banking on soccer and last year's expansion team to continue to grow in the region. In that regard, their actions can be taken as a bold affirmation of many of the strides MLS has taken in the past decade. This is another sports team reaching out and including MLS and soccer as its equal.
Wolff also said the Earthquakes plan on hiring an architecture firm by next year to design a soccer-specific stadium. It is expected to cost between $40 million to $60 million of private money and hold 15,000 fans. The Earthquakes currently rent Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., which holds 10,300.