The people of San Diego have voted in favour of a new American football stadium being built for San Diego State University ahead of a separate proposal to build a Major League Soccer facility in the Californian city.
The new San Diego State stadium would be built on land currently occupied by SDCCU Stadium (formerly known as Qualcomm Stadium), which served as the home of NFL American football team the Chargers. The Chargers have now moved to Los Angeles and are due to share the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park with the Rams when it opens in 2020.
The San Diego State Aztecs college team has played at SDCCU Stadium, which has a capacity of 70,000, since 1967. The SDSU West initiative is seeking to build a new 35,000-seat stadium for the Aztecs on the site, along with an expanded research and technology campus, a river park and residential and commercial space.
The SDSU West initiative was up against a SoccerCity proposal that had sought to build a 22,000-seat stadium for a future MLS franchise.
ESPN reported that the SDSU West initiative received support from 54.55 per cent of voters. SoccerCity received support from 37.4 per cent of voters.
The next step will be for San Diego State to negotiate a sale of the land from the city. ESPN noted that six of the nine city council members are in favour of the SDSU West initiative, ensuring the sale is likely to go ahead smoothly.
The project is expected to cost in the region of $250m (£191m/€219m) and it will be paid for by San Diego State. The stadium will be expandable to a capacity of 50,000, enabling it to host an NFL team in the future should the league return to San Diego.
San Diego State president Adela de la Torre said: “We are excited to move forward in this process and will keep our SDSU and San Diego community informed along the way. SDSU will meet with the City of San Diego to discuss the next steps. We are prepared to begin negotiations immediately with the goal of finalising the sale in 2019 and beginning construction in 2020.”
De la Torre added: “SDSU Mission Valley will not rely on taxpayer dollars, student tuition or student fees. This is important to understand. The university will not raise student tuition or fees. The Mission Valley site plan is a self-supporting project that will be paid for by revenue generated by uses on the site.”
The SoccerCity initiative had been backed by Landon Donovan, a former footballer for the US men’s national team. The defeat is likely to put an end to the group’s plans to take an MLS team to San Diego.
Image: SDSU West