The effort ended before it started, as a group led by Zappos.com founder Nick Swinmurn pulled the plug on a San Francisco USL team after failing to secure a lease at AT&T Park or finalizing a plan for a modular stadium.
Swinmurn, also a minority investor with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, had envisioned SFFC as a USL expansion team for 2019 and had launched Burlingame Dragons FC, a PDL team affiliated with the MLS San Jose Earthquakes. The original plan had the USL team playing at a modular stadium with a capacity of 6,000 at the existing Murray Field in Burlingame. If you know the Bay Area, you know that Burlingame is located directly south of the San Francisco airport, the beginning of the transition between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. But that plan was scrapped after a price tag came in at $3 million, so Swinmurn turned his sights to AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants — which, to be honest, seems overkill for a USL team. But the lack of available dates killed that plan. From NBC Bay Area:
“It was a ‘go big or go home’ scenario’,” Swinmurn said, adding that the team turned its attention from building a new stadium in Burlingame for SFFC to 24 Willie Mays Plaza when environmental and parking issues mounted with the city. According to Swinmurn, the cost for the new 6,000-seat stadium near SFO would have been $3 million.
Initial plans were to play in front of 5,000 fans at AT&T Park — a venue with an extensive history of hosting world-class teams like Chelsea, Juventus and Club America. And according to Swinmurn, had SFFC been able to secure a partnership with AT&T Park, there were several promising investors willing to pay the USL its current expansion fee of $5 million.
“It’s a tough decision because we really believe in soccer,” Swinmurn said. “We had big dreams in the beginning but ultimately we couldn’t make it happen.”
Besides withdrawing his application for a USL team, Swinmurn announced the Dragons would fold as well.
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