Meet the SF Deltas, The Newest Pro Soccer Team in the Bay Area
After whispers and rumors for several months, the San Francisco NASL team has finally come to fruition. The SF Deltas, headed by CEO and lifelong soccer fan Brian Andrés Helmick, have been making a lot of noise in the City by the Bay. The team, that lists Innovation, Transparency, and Community as their three pillars of foundation, has several investors from Bay Area tech companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and more. CEO and founder Brian Andrés Helmick was kind enough to answer a few questions that we sent his way.
At the moment, San Francisco is an extremely saturated pro sports market, with the 3 time World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, the new and improved Golden State Warriors moving to town soon, and the 49ers still with a heavy presence in The City despite moving to the South Bay. Getting a share of the market in San Francisco, especially with the pre-existing lack of interest in American soccer, is certainly going to be a tall task. However, the Deltas are prepared with a plan to build interest and ultimately build a strong fan base.
[blockquote style=”3″ author=”Brian Andrés Helmick, CEO”] In city of 850,000 you need to make sure you touch every part of the potential fan base and reach them where they are, and not wait for them to come to you. When we’re talking to Brazilians, I am speaking in Portuguese. When talking to Mexicans, I am speaking Spanish. You have to reach out to them at the beginning so they feel a part of the club and that it is meant for them.
Community is one of our three core pillars, along with Innovation and Transparency. We are reaching out One Fan at a Time. And we also want to make sure we reach out to people of different socioeconomic levels. 3000 tickets at each game will be labeled as Discounted Tickets. 200 tickets per game will be free for non-profits, community centers and schools. We will participate in community service events. On our online store, 10% of our profits will go to a different nonprofit each season of the year. We have a vision for our organization becoming a meaningful part of this community. We are working hard to build an inspiring team that is integrated with and supported wholeheartedly by the SF community.
We look forward to bringing the highest level of soccer to San Francisco. Our dream is to build a community-based club, built One Fan at a Time, accessible to all. [/blockquote]
The Deltas have made it clear that one of their main missions is to build support and interest for soccer in the Bay Area. They have made it a priority to sign local players, and open up the sport to everyone in the Bay Area. With teams like the Earthquakes, the Dragons, and SF City FC, the Deltas believe that the addition of more competition would only improve the quality and interest in Bay Area footy.
[blockquote style=”3″ author=”Brian Andrés Helmick, CEO”]We’d love to participate in a Nor Cal Soccer Cup. Our goal is to have a championship team, but our overarching goal is to grow the sport at all levels. We’ve been pushing the hashtag #bayareafutbol because we want more players, more coaches, more teams, more fans.[/blockquote]
The Deltas also have their eyes set on building an academy team in the future, but remain focused on the tasks ahead of them as they prepare for their entry into the NASL.
[blockquote style=”3″ author=”Brian Andrés Helmick, CEO”] The inaugural season is quickly approaching and we have a lot of work to do. Our priorities are selling tickets, stadium improvements and logistics, and continuing to build out our team. We are also working to hire our coach and fill our roster with top local talent.
We are optimistic. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, focus, time, investment, hiring great people, and putting together a great team. We will look at creating a developmental academy down the road. For now, we have reached out to local teams and coaches as we think about leveraging the great efforts by other in developing the sport locally.[/blockquote]
Having secured their home at Kezar Stadium, the Deltas have also made plans to renovate the stadium to accommodate their entry to the NASL in 2017. Kezar’s accessibility in San Francisco will be an excellent asset for the Deltas in early years, but the historic stadium will not be good enough for a permanent home. To have the success that the Deltas aspire to have, a brand new waterfront stadium would be ideal. This is a task that even the Giants and Warriors have struggled with in the past, which doesn’t bode well for the Deltas.
[blockquote style=”3″ author=”Brian Andrés Helmick, CEO”] Kezar has a rich sports history, not only being the first home of the San Francisco 49ers, but also in soccer. Both Pelé and Messi have played at Kezar. Kezar’s 10,000-person capacity will work well and will allow for an intimate feel for the game, and a great fan experience. Last, Kezar’s central location, with multiple MUNI lines nearby, will allow fans from all over San Francisco to easily attend.
Kezar will serve as a great initial home until we build our permanent stadium. Founding ticket members will be honored at our permanent home stadium.
Do we want to have our own permanent stadium? Absolutely. Where is that going to be? I don’t know. I’m just glad we have a home now. [/blockquote]
A few years ago, the prospect of a lower division soccer team in San Francisco probably would have sounded crazy, but the founders of the Deltas have managed to build a great amount of interest. Their project, much like many Bay Area startups and companies, is extremely ambitious. The Deltas have set themselves up in a position to succeed heading into the NASL, and it will be very interesting to see how they develop.
We want to thank Brian for taking the time to answer these questions for us – you can follow him on Twitter here, and you can learn more about the Deltas at sfdeltas.com.