Published February 19, 2008
Volume 16, Number 2

San Jose Stealth are Ready to Take on Higher Profile 

The Stealth bring all the action of the National Lacrosse League
to HP Pavilion in San Jose.

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

It’s the height of the season for the San Jose Stealth, and there’s an energetic aura surrounding the professional indoor lacrosse team, whose administrative staff moved into offices in Hacienda this past fall. A change of ownership and the election of General Manager  Johnny Mouradian to the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame  have done a lot to boost spirits. So have the appointment of a new assistant coach and a 10-game television contract. 

The team, which plays its home games in San Jose’s HP Pavilion, is now co-owned by Seagate Technology Chairman Steve Luczo and CEO Bill Watkins and his wife, Denise, an active general partner. “Steve and Bill obviously have a long working association and know each other well, so when this opportunity came along, Steve approached him. We’ve been season ticket-holders for a while, and he was interested,” Denise Watkins recalls, adding that this wasn’t their first sports endeavor. In 2002 she and Bill had been involved in founding the Primal Quest adventure race. Although it takes place in a completely different environment, there are still some commonalities, television coverage for one thing. “We are stepping it up a bit from a hobby, but we’ve had some lessons. This isn’t entirely new for us,” she says.

Television, in fact, is expected to go a long way in overcoming one of the organization’s major hurdles, its previous very low profile. “We don’t think there’s been enough outreach to let people know we’re here,” Watkins acknowledges. “Stealth games are good family entertainment. From the environment at the games to the price of tickets, it’s very family-friendly. But to build the sport in this community, you have to build awareness.”

That’s why the new owners were willing to invest in a contract to broadcast seven of the eight home games and three of the team’s away games over the next two months. The television package will also help attract potential sponsors, with views of the arena interior showing off partnership logos to folks in their living rooms, Mouradian adds.

And because there’s always a way of doing good while doing well, the team is a strong supporter of the non-profit Sticks-2-Schools, a program designed to get elementary, middle, and high-school-aged students interested in playing lacrosse. Watkins, who sits on the S2S board, explains that the program provides equipment and training that can be incorporated into P.E. curriculum or after-school activities. Having seen lacrosse coax one of her children out of his “couch-potato” cocoon, Watkins has first-hand experience with its benefits, and she’s become a staunch advocate of the sport as a way to combat childhood obesity.

The Stealth, which made it to the Western Division Final last year, play a total of eight home games through April at the HP Pavilion. Tickets and information on group rates are available by calling the Stealth ticket office directly at (925) 460-8290. For more information about getting lacrosse in your school or becoming a program sponsor, visit www.sticks2schools.org.

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