Padres Owner Among Potential San Diego MLS Leaders

MLSPeter Seidler, an owner of the MLB San Diego Padres, is one of three prominent San Diegans who have expressed interest in owning a San Diego MLS team if a new stadium is built in the Mission Valley area.

Seidler is Peter O’Malley’s nephew — for whom he was named — and the son of Therese O’Malley Seidler. He made his mark with Seidler Equity Partners, but when the family decided to return to baseball, he became the lead investor in the San Diego Padres, with Ron Fowler managing the team.

Now he’s turning his sights to another professional-sports effort, bring MLS to San Diego. He’s bring joined in this effort by Steve Altman, who retired as a Qualcomm executive, and Mike Stone of FS Investors. Their interest, safe to say, was sparked by the potential of a new San Diego State University stadium at or near the current Qualcomm Stadium site — a site that would open up should the San Diego Chargers end up with a new downtown stadium. (That’s turning into quite the saga — check out our Football Stadium Digest site for the latest.) From AP:

”I think the league is strong, the commissioner, Don Garber is strong, and those things matter to me,” Seidler told The Associated Press. ”Ultimately, if there was a new soccer-focused stadium, whatever that means, I think it would be a really cool venue for San Diego, just like Petco Park has proven to be such a great thing for the city.”…

Getting an expansion team could be years away, and Seidler stressed there’s a lot of work to do.

”I look back to when I first started thinking about the Padres. On the first day it’s a longshot and it takes a long time for something like that to not be a longshot,” Seidler said. ”Cool things like this start with one step at a time. I think Mike’s done a great job of analyzing it and thinking through the relevant business as well as community issues, and there’s probably a little bit of positive momentum that hopefully leads somewhere. My personal opinion is that it would be great for the city.”

If one were to bet, one would bet that a new SDSU/MLS stadium is a surer bet than a new Chargers stadium. Here’s why.

The Chargers have collected enough signatures to put the issue of a new downtown “convadium” — a joint NFL stadium/convention center — on the November ballot. If it passes, we’ll see the next round of planning for the stadium. If it fails, we will likely see the team pull up stakes for Los Angeles, where the Chargers would be the second team at a new Inglewood stadium being built by Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The Chargers ownership has until January to make a decision on their stadium future.

If the Chargers stay, that opens up the Qualcomm Stadium area for a new stadium and other development. If the Chargers go, that opens up the Qualcomm Stadium area for a new stadium and other development. Enter SDSU and MLS; exit the Chargers.

Still, we would be talking several years down the line before a new stadium opens. But that’s OK: the parameters of MLS expansion are basically now at 2019 or beyond. And with the MLS expansion process focused first on investors and facilities, having a solid investment group and a new stadium are certainly strong selling points.

Image courtesy MLS.


, , , , ,

August Publications