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.
The club will enter a new phase of its existence under Wolff in 2015 with the opening of Avaya Stadium. Due to Wolff’s commitment to Bay Area soccer, the $100-million stadium will be privately financed with no public funding. Additionally, the club secured the third-largest naming rights partner in Major League Soccer with Avaya. The facility will be among the most technologically advanced in the world thanks to the partnership. He also worked to create the club’s training facility adjacent to the site of the new stadium back in 2010.
Prior to Avaya Stadium, 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 club spent seven seasons at the facility before moving to their new stadium.
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 made preseason trips to Spurs Lodge in 2010 and 2011 and hosted Tottenham Hotspur at a sold-out Buck Shaw Stadium in 2010. Additionally, Spurs midfielder Simon Dawkins joined the Earthquakes on loan in 2011 and 2012, the first player in league history to play for an MLS organization 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.
Keith M. Wolff is the Managing Partner for the San Jose Earthquakes and President of Wolff Urban Development, LLC. In addition, Mr. Wolff is part of the related ownership group for the Oakland Athletics professional baseball club.
Wolff has been the point person on the Avaya Stadium project from the club’s ownership group. He has been a key figure throughout the process as the club prepares to open the new venue in 2015. Avaya Stadium is the first soccer-specific stadium in the Bay Area, has 18,000 seats, the largest outdoor bar in North America, and is the first cloud-enabled stadium in Major League Soccer. He was also instrumental on the development of the Quakes’ world-class training facility adjacent to the new stadium. San Jose’s training grounds were home to Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League for one week in July of 2010 and Atletico Madrid of La Liga in July of 2014.
At the outset of 2011, Wolff made significant progress on the Earthquakes’ proposed new stadium by beginning the demolition process on the Food Machinery Building at 1125 Coleman Avenue. The demolition process wrapped up midway through the year, paving the way for the club to pursue its own stadium. Those efforts culminated with a Planned Development Permit and Guinness World Record groundbreaking ceremony in 2012.
Wolff has over 20 years of experience within the real estate industry with an emphasis on hotel, office and retail project assets. Wolff has an extensive background in all facets of commercial real estate and has been working on behalf of the team ownership group to lead the site acquisition, entitlement, design and development team for a soccer specific stadium for the Earthquakes and a new professional baseball stadium for the Athletics. Wolff received a Bachelor of Science degree, Magna Cum Laude, from the University of the Pacific, and holds a master’s in business administration from Harvard University.
Michael Crowley is in his fifth 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 its re-launch in 2007 to October of 2010.
Under the guidance of Crowley, the club has seen significant success on the business side, including the construction of a new home - Avaya Stadium - the first soccer-specific stadium in the Bay Area. The club has hosted games at Stanford Stadium four years in a row, each drawing massive crowds - including sellouts each of the last three years. The Earthquakes also played in the inaugural event at the San Francisco 49ers’ new venue, Levi’s Stadium, on Sept. 2, 2014. That event drew a crowd of 48,765.
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 Earthquakes signed a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with Amway. He also played a key role in bringing the Night of Champions doubleheader to San Francisco, a doubleheader featuring the Earthquakes and Columbus Crew followed by FC Barcelona and Chivas de Guadalajara at Candlestick Park. The event drew the largest Bay Area soccer crowd since the 1999 Women’s World Cup with 61,572 fans attending.
Michael Crowley also serves as President of the Oakland Athletics. The 2015 season marks Crowley’s 18th year with the Athletics organization and his 17th as president after being named to the position on Sept. 28, 1998. His tenure as president is the longest in Oakland history. 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, were the driving force behind Breast Cancer Awareness Day, which has raised $1.4 million for the American Cancer Society over the last 15 years. Crowley has also served on the Bay Area’s Board of Trustees of KIPP schools, 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 the competitive world beyond. He also served on the board of top business executives and community leaders which 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, as well as the President’s Intercollegiate Athletics Commission at Santa Clara University.
A native Californian, the 51-year-old 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.
Michael resides in Los Gatos, Calif. with his wife, Kathy. The Crowleys have 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.
Kaval’s tenure has been filled with memorable moments, ranging from a Guinness World Record for the largest participatory groundbreaking ceremony to a Supporters’ Shield. He has been a key figure in getting Avaya Stadium built - an 18,000-seat venue that will be the home of the Earthquakes beginning in 2015. Avaya Stadium is the Bay Area’s first soccer-specific venue and is the culmination of 40 years of professional soccer in the South Bay. He was also a Silicon Valley Business Journal 40-Under-40 recipient in 2012 and signed a deal with the San Francisco 49ers to play the first-ever event at Levi’s® Stadium on Aug. 2, 2014.
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 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. One year later, the Earthquakes again sold out Stanford Stadium for a thrilling 3-2 comeback win against the Galaxy. The Earthquakes have doubled their ticket sales revenue since Kaval joined the club.
Kaval led the club’s reunification in 2014, culminating with the unveil of a new logo and jerseys on Jan. 30 at San Pedro Square Market in Downtown San Jose. After nearly two years of focus groups, research and studies, Kaval and his team brought all generations of Earthquakes fans together with a logo that gave tribute to the many iterations of professional soccer the Bay Area has hosted since 1974.
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.