Heading a limited partnership group that purchased the Oakland A's on April 1, 2005, Lew Wolff has wasted little time in emblazoning his stamp on one of baseball's most successful and storied franchises.
Shortly following the completion of a memorable 2006 season that saw the A's secure their fifth postseason appearance in seven years and advance to the American League Championship Series, Wolff ushered in a new era of A's baseball in the Bay Area with his announcement of the control of a 200-acre parcel of land in the City of Fremont, with the intent to build a new ballpark for the A's. The transaction also includes a 30-year naming rights agreement with Cisco Systems, the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Estimated to open sometime before the 2013 season, Cisco Field will be the centerpiece of a baseball village that will also feature residential housing, restaurants, retail shops and other community attractions.
Wolff's impact on the Bay Area sports landscape is not limited to baseball. In May of 2006, he reached an agreement with Major League Soccer in an attempt to bring professional soccer back to the Bay Area. The expansion San Jose Earthquakes returned to action this spring, playing their home games at Santa Clara University's Buck Shaw Stadium and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Wolff and the Earthquakes ownership group continue to work on securing a soccer-only facility for the team in the South Bay.
Under Wolff's ownership, the A's continue to be one of the most community-minded organizations in all of sports. Last year alone, the A's Community Fund donated approximately $650,000 to various community programs. In 2006, the Wolff family implemented "Dinner on the Diamond," which has raised $362,000 over the last three years for the A's Community Fund. Lew is also an active participant in the A's Home Run Readers program.
It's no wonder The San Jose Mercury-News has ranked Wolff first two of the past three years (2006 and 2007) in its annual listing of the Bay Area's 25 Most Powerful Sports Figures.
This past September, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group presented Wolff with its prestigious "Community Cornerstone Award." The award is given to "a Silicon Valley leader who has displayed a lifetime of impeccable ethics, business achievement and community engagement."
Along the way, the personable Wolff has made a favorable impression among those who follow the team on a regular basis with his easy-going, straight-forward manner and quick-witted humor.
Wolff is the founder of Wolff Urban Development and co-founder of Maritz-Wolff, entities that are involved in the development, acquisition and management of a wide range of commercial, office, parking and hotel properties in a number of California cities including San Jose, Los Angeles, Pasadena and Burbank to name a few.
Wolff's ownership interests in representative hotels and resorts include properties such as The Carlyle in New York City; Four Season Hotels in Houston and Carlsbad; The Ritz-Carlton in St. Louis; Fairmont Hotels in San Jose and San Francisco; Rosewood managed hotels including The Mansion in Dallas, Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, Inn of the Anasazi, Sante Fe plus other brands such as Marriott. In addition, Maritz Wolff has a 50 percent interest in the Dallas-based Rosewood Management Company, which owns and operates luxury hotels and resorts throughout the world.
Wolff began his career in real estate economics and appraisal in his hometown of St. Louis, Mo. before relocating to Los Angeles. In addition to his real estate analysis work, he also served as the president of the 20th Century Fox Realty & Development Company where he managed Fox' worldwide real estate activities.
Wolff is a former minority owner of the St. Louis Blues, the Golden State Warriors and the San Jose Missions, a now-defunct minor league baseball team. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, a master's degree in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis and is also a member of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers (MAI).
He recently was appointed to the Board of Directors of the new MLB Television Network, which launches in January with an unprecedented 50 million subscribers, and he continues to serve on the board of Major League Baseball's Enterprises, which oversees national television and radio contract negotiations, national sponsorship and licensing programs as well as the overall marketing of the industry.
Lew resides in the Westwood section of Los Angeles with his wife, Jean. The Wolffs have three children and three grandchildren.
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