SF welcomes new professional soccer team to Kezar Stadium

The City’s professional soccer team — the San Francisco Deltas — has a new home.

The Recreation and Parks Commission on Thursday approved a permit for the Deltas to host 15 to 20 home games a year at Kezar Stadium for half five years, a win for soccer fans over dozens of neighbors who opposed a provision in the permit allowing the sale of alcohol during games.

The Deltas, a new Division II team with the North American Soccer League, are expected to begin playing at the stadium next year. Per the agreement with Rec and Park, they will sell 3,000 tickets for $20 or less each game and donate another 200 tickets to local youth and nonprofit groups for seniors.

“This venue will continue to strengthen the fabric of our community and will fill an incredible need that exists in The City,” Commissioner Gloria Bonilla said at Thursday’s hearing. “I trust that all of the outstanding issues will be addressed and that the proposed venue will be in really strong hands.”

Before its first season, the team will complete some $460,000 in renovations to Kezar Stadium — including replaced benches, stadium lighting and updated locker rooms — and an estimated $40,000 in improvements to Boxer Stadium in Balboa Park, where the team plans to practice.

The cost of renovations at both stadiums will be credited toward a $30,000 per year permit fee, according to the department.

Dana Ketcham, a manager at Rec and Parks, said Kezar Stadium is an “incubator home” for the Deltas, “not their permanent home.” When talks of bringing the Deltas to The City began last fall, the department was told a new stadium in the Bay Area is in the works for the team.

“The very first thing we did with the Deltas is said we don’t want to impact our school use,” Ketcham said.

Delta’s CEO Brian Andres Helmick told commissioners he has been working with the department to make sure that the games do not conflict with school events at the stadium, like track meets and football games. “This was not something that was taken very trivially,” Helmick said.

He also tried to calm concerns about drunken soccer fans and traffic jams. “We are perfectly aligned [with RPD],” Helmick said. “It’s bad business if we have any type of problems.”

Just before construction of the current iteration of Kezar Stadium was completed in 1991, the commission established an interim policy that prohibited alcohol in the stadium, according to Ketcham.

The interim policy was supposed to last for two years but is still in place. The commission has since allowed beer gardens to sell alcohol just outside the stadium.

With the approval of the new permit, beer and wine will be sold throughout the stadium while hard alcohol will be sold in designated areas.

Ketcham said 11 community groups were in favor of the permit, while three were opposed. More than 1,400 letters of support were sent to the department — 23 other letters opposed the permit.

Michael Barba
Published by
Michael Barba

Recent Posts

Oakland Athletics will have to clinch on the road, Matt Olson homers in loss to Twins

OAKLAND -- While a crowd of just under 37,000 on Saturday night gave the Oakland Athletics some much-needed energy during…

2 hours ago

SF artist who punched older neighbor to the death claims self-defense

Sylvester Guard had lost his keys. So the 38-year-old artist known for painting trash cans in the Tenderloin rang the…

4 hours ago

Oakland Athletics not scoreboard watching with chance to clinch at home

OAKLAND -- There was not a single television in the Oakland Athletics tuned to the Tampa Bay-Toronto game on Sunday…

5 hours ago

BART equipment failure fills Civic Center Station with smoke

Smoke from an equipment failure on a BART track prompted transit officials to temporarily close Civic Center Station on Saturday…

8 hours ago

RV life

David Samples lived in a rundown 1971 Chinook RV in the Bayview District for about six months before he sought…

16 hours ago

Oakland Athletics could clinch playoff berth at home as magic number drops to one

OAKLAND -- The Tampa Bay Rays had just fallen behind 3-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays, and in the Oakland…

17 hours ago