The San Francisco Deltas’ run comes to a close after one successful season. The chief executive officer, Andres Helmick, announced that after the Deltas reportedly lost several million dollars over the course of the season, they will close operations.
Many people believe that the closure is caused by the lack of extensive marketing done by the club. This was shown to be a major hit to the club, seeing that even neighbors a few blocks away did not know that the team existed.
Regarding fans of the club, Helmick had said in an interview in 2016, “You need to go out there, touch them, hug them, drink a beer with them and really listen to them to make sure we are doing things they want us to do.” This mindset might work well with small startups, but it clearly does not work with sports clubs. The SF Deltas had 4,400 fans attend their opening game at Kezar Stadium, but they couldn’t keep that number for the rest of their one-and-only season. They averaged no more than 2,500 fans per game, which puts them last in the NASL in attendance.
According to Helmick, low attendance was attributed to the “plethora of entertainment options in San Francisco.” Yet cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago can hold full professional soccer games that averaged over 15,000 fans per game in 2016. However, according to SF Gate, social media said that many of the complaints revolved around the cold weather, location of Kezar Stadium and ticket pricing — from $19 to $164 per game.
The Deltas are not the only San Francisco-based soccer team to only survive one season. The California Victory only survived one season in 2007, and the SF Seals folded in 1999, after only seven seasons. Call it a coincidence, but the Seals played their first few seasons at Negoesco Field.
Helmick ended his blog post on Friday saying, “We have learned so much from this adventure and we will begin organizing our thoughts and learnings that led to us to make this decision. Our hope is to share them for the benefit of others who are interested in developing the sport here in San Francisco or in other cities.”
The Deltas are not only leaving the city, but are also leaving a hole in the hearts of San Franciscan soccer fans that needs to be filled. Many questions are soon to be answered, including a big one — will there ever be professional soccer held in the city of San Francisco again? And if so, when and for how long?