The biggest storyline in San Diego this week is how the NFL franchise packed their bags for Hollywood dreams. For the only Division-I football program in town, this might be the time for San Diego State Aztecs to seize the spotlight.
it's alright SD we still have Aztec football in town— Rashaad Penny (@TheRealPenny22) January 12, 2017
But what to do with an aging 65,000-seat stadium that the Aztecs can’t fill?
SDSU President Elliot Hirshman had this to say at the Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s press conference:
Previously, we at the Mountain West Connection previewed this in 2015 when the city hurriedly made a plan to recommend the Chargers build a new stadium on the current Qualcomm parking lot.
President Hirshman was rumored to offer $100 million in university funds towards Dean Spanos’ project in San Diego, but the biggest challenge for SDSU will be finding $200+ million from donors and revenue streams to finance a 20,000-30,000 seat stadium. Of course, that is assuming the university is building on the Qualcomm site not elsewhere.
Long-term Opportunities and Uncertainties
In this early stage of band-aid ripping for San Diego, there are some rumors out there that there is an investment group interested in bringing the MLS to San Diego that would split costs with SDSU on a new facility that would be fit at least 20,000 fans.
This is the best case scenario. That number would be amazing on TV, and would cultivate a real Div.-I college football experience that has been lacking in San Diego for so long. Splitting the costs would be beneficial for the SDSU, a public institution that might have to levy fees onto the student body for the building of a new football stadium.
Given a new sense of direction from city leadership, there seems to be a renewed urgency for a solution for San Diego State especially since the Aztecs aren’t going anywhere, ever.
In the short-term San Diego State has a home at Qualcomm until the end of the 2018 season. They might be able to get away with scrubbing the Chargers identity from the stadium and making it their home for at least two years. They also could possibly extend their lease if no hard solution is found, and we could assume the city would honor an extension since there is no where the Aztecs can play.
For those familiar with the now-only professional sports team San Diego Padres and Petco Park, the Aztecs won’t be able to play there period. There’s no way to expand the dimensions to accompany both baseball and football operations like Qualcomm and there are provisions for the park to only additionally accommodate soccer and rugby.
San Diego and San Diego State will find a solution, because no one is leaving.