After struggling to build fan support during their inaugural season, the San Francisco Deltas are facing questions about their status for 2018.
In their debut 2017 season, the Deltas found success on the pitch. The club is currently competing in the NASL playoffs, and is preparing for a playoff match against North Carolina FC on Sunday.
Despite their success on the field, the Deltas struggled to draw fans throughout the season. CEO Brian Andrés Helmick wrote a blog post in July that called on fans to step up their support, but the Deltas still finished with a per-game average of around 2,600 fans. Given their attendance issues, and reports of severe financial losses, there are questions as to whether the Deltas will be able to field a club in 2018. More from SFGate:
Midway through the season, Helmick decided to explain the Deltas’ struggles to fans and players. In July he wrote a blog post challenging fans to help fix the team’s issues with attendance and possibly attract more outside investment.
He blamed a combination of factors for the team’s problems, including the plethora of entertainment options in San Francisco. On social media, most complaints about the Deltas consisted of cold weather, the location of Kezar stadium, parking, and ticket prices. Tickets for most home games ranged from $19 up to $124 for VIP seats.
“The answer is complicated as there are many reasons,” said Tommy Hodul, a reporter for the Midfield Press who has covered the team all season. “But a simple answer, in my opinion, is that they never formed a true connection to the city and did not create new soccer fans.”
Even the future of the league is in doubt. NASL had its Division 2 status revoked by the United States Soccer Federation in August. The league filed a lawsuit in federal court fighting the decision and asked for a preliminary injunction to keep their sanctioning for next season. During court hearings earlier this week it was brought to light that the Deltas have not guaranteed they will return next season.
The Deltas will host Sunday’s playoff match at Kezar Stadium.
Image courtesy SF Deltas.
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