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Buck Shaw Stadium

Santa Clara, CA

Home of the San Jose Earthquakes

2.9

2.9

Buck Shaw Stadium (map it)
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053


San Jose Earthquakes website

Buck Shaw Stadium website

Year Opened: 1962

Capacity: 11,500

There are no tickets available at this time.

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The Final Year at Buck Shaw

Buck Shaw Stadium opened in 1962 on the campus of Santa Clara University as a multi-purpose facility. The longtime home of the SCU Broncos baseball and football teams, it is now the soccer-specific home to the Broncos soccer team and the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer. The SCU baseball team moved across the street to Schott Stadium in 2005 while the football team disbanded in 1992.

The Earthquakes have a long and tumultuous history in Silicon Valley. The original incarnation of the franchise played from 1974-1988 mostly in the original NASL and at Spartan Stadium. Next came the first version of the MLS franchise (1996-2005) where they too, played at Spartan Stadium winning the MLS Cup in 2001 and 2003 and the Supporters’ Shield in 2005. Following the 2005 season, ownership moved the franchise to Houston due to an inability to secure a new soccer-specific stadium. This franchise is known as the Dynamo and is considered by MLS as an expansion franchise as the history, colors, etc for the Quakes would be given to any new team that called San Jose home. Think Baltimore Ravens/Cleveland Browns. The Dynamo had immediate success in Houston winning the MLS Cup in 2006 and 2007 and the Supporters’ Shield in 2008.

The Earthquakes resumed MLS play in 2008, this time moving to nearby Buck Shaw Stadium. Buck Shaw has the smallest capacity in all of MLS and served the Earthquakes from 2008-2014. The Quakes will be moving into their own soccer-specific stadium in San Jose for the 2015 season.

2.9

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

Buck Shaw Stadium's old infrastructure has two main concession stands. Think Little League snack bar. Luckily, the Earthquakes have done a good job of supplementing these limited stands with additional temporary stands as well as allowing food trucks to set up shop within the grounds.

Food is inexpensive relative to other similar venues in the region. Hot dogs ($5), Polish dogs ($6) and 20 oz soda ($4) are the typical items. Uniquely, the cola offering is RC Cola which is much different than the typical Pepsi or Coca-Cola options you see everywhere.

Beer is also priced quite well. A 16 oz pour of Budweiser products are $5 and 12 oz premium beers are $6 (multiple Sierra Nevada and Gordon Biersch varieties, Corona, Modelo, etc). You can get 20 oz Coronas or Modelos for $10.

Other higher-end options include tri-tip sandwiches, pulled pork and various salads. Most importantly, check out the gourmet food trucks that rotate throughout the year. I've seen everything from Filipino street food to gourmet cupcakes. There is a huge variety and something to satisfy everyone.

Atmosphere    3

Though the stadium is small, the Earthquakes benefit from consistently having a full or nearly-full house. This allows for an intimate atmosphere with fans close to the field. The low capacity venue as well as the activities allow for a kid-friendly environment. Kid-favorites include activities at the "Epicenter" and visits from the mascot "Q".

The seating area is broken up strangely as it was originally set up for both baseball and football. You can see an overhead photo of how that would work here. When the Earthquakes moved in, they added additional seats on the opposite sideline as well as bleachers near the scoreboard that have created a layout that doesn't flow great and is broken up into sections. It feels like you're too far away from the other parts of the stadium because of this.

It's on the additional sideline seating where you will find placards for the Earthquakes Hall of Fame and their MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield acknowledgments.

There are two main supporters sections at Buck Shaw and they both stand the entire time. The 1906 Ultras are the most well-known of the bunch and they sit behind the goal in the permanent stands. Opposite them, at the other end of the field is The Faultline in the temporary bleacher add-on. The Faultline bill themselves as a more family-friendly group and you can see many young fans banging on drums and singing. The Ultras are the more entertaining with their tifos, flags, and chants. They are the more traditional rowdy type supporters group and the Earthquakes largest sect.

Neighborhood    3

Buck Shaw Stadium is on the campus of Santa Clara University adjacent to Leavey Center. The campus is beautiful and safe. The surrounding neighborhood is mostly residential with some businesses catering to the college crowd.

A popular lunch and dinner spot is Ike's Place which is walkable on The Alameda. Featured on "Man vs Food" this popular San Francisco sandwich place has expanded to several locations throughout the Bay Area including this one in Santa Clara. All of their sandwiches come with Ike's secret "dirty sauce" and leave you completely filled. Lines tend to get long so I recommend downloading their free app to place your order ahead of time so you can just pick up and go.

Other walkable options are Wicked Chicken (wings and craft beer) and Pizza My Heart.

The Hut is the diviest of dive bars on the opposite end of campus. You can stumble from there to the burrito or Thai place on the same block.

The Earthquakes new stadium will be very near to their current location. It will be about a mile away on Coleman Ave right next to Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Fans    4

The Earthquakes are an interesting bunch. Some of them are new to soccer, some have been following since they returned in 2008, others since the start of their MLS stint and still others remember rooting for the original NASL Earthquakes. Because of this you see a wide variety of spectators at Quakes games.

Being in the Silicon Valley, ownership is making sure the new stadium has all the technological bells and whistles. In the meantime, the blue collar crowd makes a lot of noise in their current home.

The Ultras are a seminal force at Buck Shaw with their constant chants and their aggressive attitude. If you don't mind some minor vulgarity, I'd recommend sitting near this group as they will keep you into the game.

Access    2

Let's start with the good: The campus is located between three major freeways: 101, 880 and 280. All of these allow easy access to surface roads leading to campus. These surface roads are well maintained and easy to navigate, even if it's your first time in the area. The major parking lots for Buck Shaw Stadium are located right off the El Camino Real but can be difficult to get in and out of. Trying to avoid paying for parking? Street parking is just as easy, just watch for signs prohibiting parking on certain streets.

The Santa Clara Caltrain Station is located right across El Camino Real and is serviced by trains from San Jose to the south and San Francisco to the north. A ride from San Jose is less than ten minutes and a ride from San Francisco is between 45 minutes and an hour, depending on which train you take.

The problem with Buck Shaw is the inevitable crowded nature of the staircases and walkways. It can take quite a while to leave the stadium after the game as 10,000 people must share four narrow stair cases.

Getting to your seat is no easier as each individual section seems too large with some rows over 30 seats wide. This makes climbing over other patrons to reach your seat a regular occurrence throughout the game. Once seated you'll notice the knees of the person behind you in your back. While you adjust, you'll be kneeing the person in front of you. Accessing the restrooms is no easier as only a few toilets are available for each gender and lines are long.

Return on Investment    3

Ticket prices range from $30-$155. My preference is the corner flag where the whole pitch is in front of you. Concession prices are quite reasonable but my one qualm is parking at $20. There are never enough spots and it's not convenient to access so it's like they're asking you to park in the neighborhoods. You can find additional parking across The Alameda for $10 near Schott Stadium.

Extras    1

The one main extra is a walkway that runs adjacent to the "Epicenter" where the players and coaches pass through on their way to the field. Fans can get an up-close look at their favorite players by hanging near the guardrails.

Another would-be extra is their concession ordering app. From this you can order concessions and merchandise and have it delivered to your seat. This is a great concept for soccer as the only break in the action is at halftime. I however, would never use this service because I wouldn't want to disturb the folks around me in the expansive sections. I don't need to bug everyone around me to get a hot dog. Really, this is an access issue.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that the Earthquakes organization did everything they could to make Buck Shaw Stadium home for a few years. They put more effort into their temporary home than many organizations have done for their permanent homes.

Though not always the most popular figure, the Earthquakes president Dave Kaval is very active on social media with the fans. Perhaps his Google Glass explorations are unnecessary and embarrassing but I think there is something to be said for the access he allows fans. His email address is readily available at the end of all his newsletters and should be a good representative for the club moving into their new home in 2015.

Yorder

I forgot to mention this in the review but if you have an iPhone (and perhaps other smartphones, I'm not sure) you can download the free Yorder app that allows you to order and pay for concessions from your seat and someone will deliver them to you. This goes for food, beverages and Earthquakes merchandise and I believe you would use a paypal account or a credit card to pay. Apparently the Earthquakes were the very first stadium to use Yorder and it's still in the testing stage. It could be a good way to avoid the aforementioned access issues around the stadium.

by ryannorris | Aug 04, 2011 09:18 PM

New Stadium

Here's a photo set of what the new stadium will look like:

http://www.flickr.com//photos/55821110@N02/sets/72157628197981915/show/

by ryannorris | Dec 29, 2011 11:35 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium

Total Score: 2.86

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 1

The San Jose Earthquakes make their home at Santa Clara University's Buck Shaw Stadium, next door to the Leavey Center . They have played there since the newest version of the Quakes returned to Major League Soccer for the 2008 season. Previous incarnations of the franchise have played their games at San Jose State University's Spartan Stadium but negotiations between the school and the franchise fell through and Buck Shaw was the most reasonable alternative.

Buck Shaw is also the home to the Santa Clara Broncos soccer teams and is the former home of the defunct Bronco football team. It is the smallest venue in MLS with a capacity of only 10,300, a far cry from their former home at Spartan Stadium. That being said, it's a lively crew that doesn't feel or sound like the smallest crowd in MLS. The Earthquakes, their employees and their fans do the best to create a professional franchise vibe in a venue not suited for a longtime legitimate professional franchise.

The organization knows they can fill a stadium much larger than the one they currently occupy. Earlier in July they had an attendance over 41,000 for a Saturday night game against the New York Red Bulls at nearby Stanford Stadium. Even prior to this franchise-record-setting crowd, the Earthquakes were in the process of developing an area near San Jose International Airport, two miles from HP Pavilion, for a soccer-specific stadium. As of late June 2011 they have cleared the 65-acre area and are prepared to start building, with a 2013 open anticipated.

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Local Food & Drink

Ike's Place  (map it!)

2235 The Alameda

Santa Clara, CA 95050

(408) 244-2034

http://www.ilikeikesplace.com

Wicked Chicken  (map it!)

2565 The Alameda

Santa Clara, CA 95050

(408) 246-9464

http://www.wickedchickenwings.com

Pizza My Heart  (map it!)

700 Bellomy St

Santa Clara, CA 95050

(408) 241-0000

http://www.pizzamyheart.com

The Hut  (map it!)

3200 The Alameda

Santa Clara, CA 95050

(408) 296-8934

http://www.facebook.com/people/Bronco-Hut/1815117976

Mondo Burrito  (map it!)

3300 The Alameda

Santa Clara, CA 95050

(408) 260-9596

http://www.mondoburrito.com/

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