Lew Wolff is co-owner of the San Jose Earthquakes after exercising his exclusive option to bring the team back to the Bay Area on July 18, 2007. Wolff’s entry into MLS came after a trip to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. For over two years prior to the team’s return, Wolff was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the revival of the Earthquakes as an expansion franchise with its records, colors and trophies intact.
As soon as the franchise returned to the league, Wolff spent four million dollars for renovations to Buck Shaw Stadium at Santa Clara University, helping create one of the best and most intimate atmospheres in MLS. The newly-improved Buck Shaw Stadium has a top quality grass field, and a state-of-the-art scoreboard and video screen. He also worked to create the Earthquakes Training Facility, adjacent to the site of the proposed new stadium on Coleman Avenue in San Jose. In 2011, the organization took a crucial step toward paving the way for a new stadium by commencing and completing the demolition process of the Food Machinery Corporation buildings at the Coleman Avenue site. Due to Wolff’s commitment to Bay Area soccer, the club’s new stadium will be privately financed with no public funding.
In October of 2008, Wolff was a key piece in the establishment of a partnership with the English Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. The partnership primarily focuses on both soccer and commercial development by exchanging and implementing the best practices from both organizations. The Earthquakes have made two preseason trips to London while Spurs played the Earthquakes at a sold-out Buck Shaw Stadium in 2010. Additionally, Spurs midfielder Simon Dawkins joined the Earthquakes on loan, becoming the first player in league history to join an MLS franchise through a strategic partnership with an international team.
The San Jose Mercury News ranked Wolff first in its annual listing of the Bay Area’s 25 Most Powerful Sports Figures in both 2006 and 2007.
In September 2008, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group also presented Wolff with its prestigious “Community Cornerstone Award.” The award is given to “a Silicon Valley leader who has displayed a lifetime of impeccable ethics, business achievement and community engagement.”
Wolff is the founder of Wolff Urban Development and co-founder of Maritz-Wolff, entities that are involved in the development, acquisition and management of a wide range of commercial, office, parking and hotel properties in a number of California cities including San Jose, Los Angeles, Pasadena and Burbank.
Wolff’s ownership interests in representative hotels and resorts include properties such as The Carlyle in New York City; Four Season Hotels in Houston, the Park Hyatt in Carlsbad; The Ritz-Carlton in St. Louis; Fairmont Hotels in San Jose and San Francisco; Rosewood-managed hotels including The Mansion in Dallas, Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, Inn of the Anasazi, Sante Fe plus other brands such as Marriott. In addition, Maritz-Wolff has a 50 percent interest in the Dallas-based Rosewood Management Company, which owns and operates luxury hotels and resorts throughout the world.
Wolff began his career in real estate economics and appraisal in his hometown of St. Louis, Mo., before relocating to Los Angeles. In addition to his real estate analysis work, he also served as the President of the 20th Century Fox Realty & Development Company where he managed Fox’s worldwide real estate activities.
Wolff is a former minority owner of the St. Louis Blues, the Golden State Warriors and the San Jose Missions, a now-defunct minor league baseball team. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, a master’s degree in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis, and is also a member of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers (MAI).
Wolff resides in the Westwood section of Los Angeles with his wife, Jeane. The Wolffs have three children and four grandchildren.
Michael Crowley is in his second season with the Earthquakes as the Managing Director. In October of 2010, Crowley was promoted after hiring Dave Kaval as Earthquakes President. He served as the team’s President from 2007 to October of 2010.
Under the guidance of Crowley, the club saw significant success on the business side in 2011. The Earthquakes boosted attendance by an average of over 2,000 per game, ending the season at 11,858 fans per game. The club closed the year on a six-game sellout streak. In addition to attendance success at Buck Shaw Stadium, the Earthquakes hosted their first-ever game at the newly-renovated Stanford Stadium, drawing 41,028 for a 2-2 draw against New York on July 2 with a fireworks extravaganza following the match. The total attendance for 2011 was 201,587, up from 144,885 in 2010.
During the 2010 season, Crowley was instrumental in helping to bring club partner Tottenham Hotspur to San Jose for a friendly on July 17, 2010, a match that drew a sellout crowd as well as a national television audience on ESPN. Additionally, the Earthquakes set a franchise record for single-game attendance against the LA Galaxy on Aug. 21, 2010, with a crowd of 10,799 on hand for San Jose’s 1-0 win. The new attendance mark eclipsed the previous record of 10,712 on hand for San Jose’s friendly against Tottenham Hotspur.
Under Crowley’s leadership in 2009, the Quakes posted the third-highest average attendance in Quakes history. The Earthquakes also signed a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with Amway just before the 2009 season kicked off. He also played a key role in bringing the Night of Champions doubleheader to San Francisco, which saw the largest Bay Area soccer crowd since the 1999 Women’s World Cup. The Night of Champions saw the Earthquakes take on the Columbus Crew followed by FC Barcelona playing Chivas de Guadalajara at Candlestick Park.
Crowley oversaw the four-million dollar renovations made to Buck Shaw Stadium and greatly influenced the establishing of a strategic partnership with the English Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur in 2008. On the team side, he played an important role in the hiring of General Manager John Doyle and head coach Frank Yallop.
Crowley also serves as President of the Oakland Athletics. The 2012 season marks Mike Crowley’s 15th year with the Athletics organization and his 14th as President after being named to the position on Sept. 28, 1998. His tenure is the longest among those who have served in the same capacity since 1968. A limited partner in the Athletics ownership group, Crowley is responsible for the overall day-to-day functioning of the Athletics organization both on the business and baseball sides of the operation, working directly with Managing Partner Lew Wolff.
After spending three years in the San Jose office of Price Waterhouse and nine years with I.C.I./Fuller O’Brien Paints, Crowley joined the Athletics organization in July 1997 as vice president and chief financial officer. Considered a key figure in the A’s resurgence as one of baseball’s premier franchises, Crowley has been committed to fielding a championship-caliber team with homegrown talent. He works closely with General Manager Billy Beane on key player decisions and issues relating to the baseball operations overall objectives and philosophies.
In 1999, Crowley and his wife, Kathy, played a key role in implementing the Oakland A’s Breast Cancer Awareness Day, which has raised $1.2 million for cancer-related causes over the last 13 years. Crowley has also served on the Bay Area Board of Trustees of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), which aims to create a respected, influential and nationwide family of schools that are successful in helping educationally underserved students develop the knowledge, skills and character to succeed in college and in the competitive world. He also served on the board of top business executives and community leaders that attempted to land the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in the Bay Area. Recently, Crowley has been named to the advisory board for the Institute of Sports Law and Ethics at Santa Clara University’s law school.
A native Californian, Crowley graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1985 with a degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting. He earned his MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 1992. In November of 2002, Crowley was named one of Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal’s “40 Under 40”, honoring the nation’s top sport executives under the age of 40. Crowley resides in Los Gatos with his wife, Kathy, and their three children.
Dave Kaval was hired as the President of the San Jose Earthquakes in October of 2010. He oversees the business and technical sides of the franchise.
One of the pinnacle moments during Kaval’s tenure was breaking ground on the club’s new stadium at 1125 Coleman Ave. in San Jose. The Earthquakes set a Guinness World Record for largest participatory groundbreaking ceremony with 6,256 fans digging for two consecutive minutes at the site of the future playing field. The stadium is scheduled for completion in 2014. For his efforts on the new stadium and with the Earthquakes’ business operations, Kaval was named to the Silicon Valley Business Journal 40-Under-40 list for 2012.
Since Kaval signed on, the club has seen a significant boost in ticket sales, merchandise and sponsorship revenue. Even before the Earthquakes broke ground, luxury suites for the new stadium were already sold out. The team also hit a major milestone on June 30, 2012 with 50,391 on hand for a 4-3 Earthquakes win against the LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium, the largest non-doubleheader attendance in club history. On the sponsorship side, the Earthquakes unveiled their first founding partner for the new stadium in 2012, Dr. Pepper-Snapple Group.
A progressive thinker, Kaval has also ushered in a number of fan experience improvements. At the stadium, he dedicated the East Gate at Buck Shaw Stadium to former NASL Earthquakes icon George Best. Kaval also introduced mobile ordering options to Buck Shaw in 2011 with Y-order offering fans the chance to purchase food, beverages and merchandise and have it delivered to their seat.
Away from the field, Kaval actively communicates with fans through his blog on the club’s website, sjearthquakes.com, Twitter (@QuakesPrez) and through office hours each Tuesday from 3-5 p.m.
Prior to joining the Earthquakes, Kaval founded the Golden Baseball League in 2003 with fellow Stanford Business School graduate Amit Patel. Kaval was responsible for raising the initial capital to launch the league and attracted a number of investors from around the country to fund the venture. He also negotiated a number of major corporate partnerships, including the multi-million dollar league naming rights agreement with Safeway. Kaval served as the President of the Yuma Scorpions, Long Beach Armada and Chico Outlaws teams, as well as the Arizona Winter League. The Golden Baseball League included 12 teams in three different countries. Under Kaval’s leadership, the league turned an operating profit in multiple years.
In addition to his time with the Golden Baseball League, Kaval worked at Key Bank, served as a Business Analyst for Accenture, and was the Director of Business Development for Sparks.com. Kaval has also spent time in the Office of the President of the United States on the budget for National Security. He is a recognized expert by the Superior Court of the State of California on the subject of minor league baseball and the business of professional sports. He lectures in a variety of programs at Stanford University, including the Graduate School of Business, and is a Director of the Workforce Investment Board in San Mateo County.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Kaval earned a B.A. in 1998 and an M.B.A. in 2003 from Stanford University. He currently resides in Menlo Park with his wife and two daughters.