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.
David Kaval is the President of the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer (MLS). He oversees the business and technical sides of the franchise and represents the club on the Major League Soccer Board of Governors.
In his time with the Quakes, Kaval has led a transformation of the organization both on and off the pitch elevating the stature and awareness of the club culminating in winning the 2012 Supporters Shield for the regular season championship of Major League Soccer (MLS).
Kaval created the yearly tradition of playing a Quakes match at Stanford Stadium. This has become one of the biggest sporting events of the summer in the Bay Area with over 41,000 fans at the 2011 match against the New York Red Bull and two consecutive over capacity crowds of 50,351 and 50,028 in 2012 and 2013 with the derby against the LA Galaxy
Kaval also has led the Quakes efforts to design, develop, and privately finance a new 18,000 seat soccer specific stadium off Coleman avenue in San Jose. The $60M project is under construction and will open for the 2015 MLS season. The groundbreaking for the stadium occurred on October 21, 2012 where a Guinness Record 6,256 people turned dirt for two minutes in the largest participatory groundbreaking ever. The stadium boasts the only field level suites in professional sports, a 576 seat field level patio club, HD LED Fascia throughout the entire bowl, a double sided HD LED video board, two party decks, and the largest exterior bar in North America.
The stadium complex includes a full time training facility for the team as well as the new home of the Quakes Academy. Kaval was instrumental in getting the City of San Jose to invest and build four community soccer fields that will be lighted and adjacent to the stadium.
In an effort to improve communication with fans and community stakeholders, Kaval launched a weekly blog on SJEarthquakes.com, started a twitter feed at @QuakesPrez as well as initiated weekly office hours.
Additionally, Kaval unveiled plans for improvements to the atmosphere at Buck Shaw Stadium including: a new concessionaire, Yorder in-seat ordering, a revamped Epicenter Fan Zone, a new VIP Section, a new team store, in stadium historic murals, the addition of the George Best Gate and VIP restrooms. Additionally, the Quakes have become the epicenter for the Gourmet Food truck movement with 8-10 trucks at each match from a variety of local partners.
Known as an innovator throughout his career, Kaval spearheaded new efforts to grow the Quakes social media efforts including partnerships with Experience ticketing as well as an alpha partner with Facebook Deals. Kaval was an early adopter of Google Glass and the Quakes have featured cutting edge content #throughglass at the 2014 MLS Superdraft, stadium events, and at the January Quakes rebranding event that was streamed via Glass.
On the corporate sponsorship side, Kaval has overseen a MLS best fifty percent increase in corporate partnership revenue with companies such as 7UP Bottling Company, Wells Fargo, Kaiser Permanente, Stanford Hospital, State Farm Insurance, Benjamin Moore Paints, Ruckus Wireless, and VISA.
Prior to joining the Earthquakes, Kaval founded the Golden Baseball League (GBL) in 2003 with fellow Stanford Business School graduate Amit Patel. Kaval was responsible for raising the initial capital to launch the league, launching the charter teams, and building an entire League from scratch. He also negotiated a number of major corporate partnerships, including the multi-million dollar league naming rights agreement with Safeway. Kaval also served as the President of the Yuma Scorpions, Long Beach Armada, Chico Outlaws teams, as well as the Arizona Winter League. Some of the memorable GBL alumni include hall of famer Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, Jose Lima, and Mark Prior.
Kaval has also spent time in the Office of the President of the United States in Washington DC on the budget for National Security as part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Kaval is extensively featured as an expert on sports management in the following publications and media outlets: Forbes, New York Times, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, Sports Business Journal, Associated Press, BBC, Los Angeles Times, KCBS, KLIV, KGO, and the San Jose Mercury News
He is a Lecturer in Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he teaches Sports Management.
He is a long serving Director of the Workforce Investment Board in San Mateo County.
Kaval is a Board Member of the San Jose Sports Authority and the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the National Governing Board of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA). He is a member of San Jose Rotary and the Young Presidents Organization (YPO).
In 2000, Kaval co-authored a book entitled “The Summer that Saved Baseball,” which highlighted a tour of all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums in the summer of 1998.
A native of Cleveland, Kaval earned a B.A. with honors in International Relations and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.
He is a long time resident of Menlo Park and lives there with his wife and two daughters.