“Team is Gone-Team is Coming”
An interesting day in San Diego, this Monday of press conferences.
Life goes on, though life is a bit empty, two weeks removed from the Chargers decision to leave San Diego.
But the day brought hope of something different for sports fans.
A combined Soccer-Aztecs stadium at the Qualcomm sight, to replace the crumbling relic we have had since the late 1960’s.
This one has promise. This one could bring us another team to root for, an expansion team in Major League Soccer.
This one could house the Aztecs football program too, in a cozy venue that could set 30-to-40,000 fans.
This one could alleviate the financial drain on the city of San Diego over the constant expenditure for the upkeep of the Q.
FS-Investors, led by Michael Stone, is prepared to purchase all 166-acres of land at the Q-sight on Friars Road from the city.
Their game plan is to build a shiny new stadium to house an expansion MLS soccer team, house the Aztecs, and import games from Liga-MX, Mexico’s first division soccer league.
The plan also entails having English Premeir League teams train and play games here, when people like Chelsea and Manchester United make their US tours.
The stadium would also house a soccer academy for the development of young American players.
It could serve as a training sight base for the US World Cup soccer program, where the climate is mostly near perfect.
In the bigger picture, once Qualcomm is torn down, the city no longer has to pay for blood-letting upkeep.
The blueprint includes a 16-acre parcel of land that could be used for an NFL stadium. There’s a 55-acre San Diego River Park. There would be a San Diego State 800-unit dormitory development and possibly apartments for faculty.
Add in mixed business use buildings for academic research, restaurants and entertainment venues, and you might have a mini-Gaslamp district in Mission Valley.
How would this succeed, where so many idea plans for a Chargers Stadium failed?
Simple, cost. A 200M-soccer-football venue, with multiple guaranteed revenue streams to start, all privately funded by FS and SDSU.
No 1.2B financial drain, no tax money, no vote from the citizens needed, no Dean Spanos demands, no Mark Fabiani derogatory comments.
It’s a very different blueprint with a very different financing model.
San Diego needs to move quickly with meetings with the Mayor-Council and SDSU.
The FS investment group will make a 150M-application on January 31st with MLS for an expansion team. There is competition of course. The Palace Sports Group, owners of the Detroit Pistons, will file too. So will the ownership of the legendary former NASL Tampa Bay Rowdies, as well as other cities.
But San Diego has population, has climate, and has a big reputation of soccer support, fueled by the fact the World Cup on TV had the second highest TV ratings in the country, here in San Diego.
For one day we were able to put aside our anger and angst over what the Chargers did to the community. For one day, we could imagine ‘what if-what would it mean’?
The next two weeks will be fast and furious. We may have had one team yanked out from beneath us, but we might get another team (MLS), and surely take care of our remaining football team (SDSU).
Thru the driving rain and the cold temperatures of a Monday, we found the sun does come up another day in San Diego. It looks different, feels different, but might be a positive.