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 has entered a new phase of its existence under Wolff with the opening of Avaya Stadium. Due to Wolff's commitment to Bay Area soccer, the $100-million stadium is privately financed with no public funding. Additionally, the club secured the third-largest rights partner in Major League Soccer with Avaya. The facility is 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 Avaya 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 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 2006, 2007 and 2015.
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.