San Diego State University and MLS officials reportedly met to discuss a new SDSU stadium, raising intrigue about whether an expansion club factor into the facility’s plans.
In November, SDSU West–a proposal that includes a new Aztecs football stadium and surrounding development at the SDCCU Stadium site–was chosen to move forward by San Diego voters, who also rejected the competing SoccerCity. SoccerCity had been floated FS Investors for the same site, calling for a new stadium that would host a San Diego MLS expansion franchise and be surrounded by mixed-used development.
Although FS Investors was leading the MLS expansion effort in San Diego, SDSU officials had emphasized prior to the election that the SDSU West stadium proposal would not shut the door on MLS. The facility will be designed to accommodate professional soccer in addition to college football, with the ability to expand should the NFL ever return to San Diego. Now that discussions about the project are moving forward, SDSU officials have been reaching out to various organizations about potentially using the stadium, reportedly including MLS. More from 10News.com:
Jack McGrory, a CSU Trustee who helped spearhead the SDSU West campaign, said representatives from the university held a preliminary meeting with Major League Soccer to discuss a San Diego team.
MLS officials did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The university in a statement confirmed it has been seeking tenants for its proposed 35,000 stadium but was not specific in which leagues it has approached.
“SDSU Athletics has had contact with multiple professional organizations since the November election,” the statement said. “We have provided information related to our proposed timeline for moving into a stadium by the start of the 2022 season, and the elements that we plan on incorporating in the design of the stadium. We have long said that we are interested in other teams playing in the new Aztec Stadium and will work to create those opportunities for the community.”
The league has issued a statement confirming a recent meeting with SDSU, per MLSSoccer.com:
“Major League Soccer executives recently met with San Diego State University leadership to learn more about the project,” a league-issued statement reads. “Beyond that meeting, we do not have an update.”
SDSU West’s stadium would certainly be ready for MLS, but there are additional questions that would need to be answered. For instance, it remains to be seen if a prospective ownership group and MLS would want the club to be secondary to SDSU. It would also have to be determined whether San Diego fits into MLS’s agenda for expansion. MLS has multiple candidates in the mix as it looks to grow beyond 27 teams, so it remains to be seen how San Diego could stack up in comparison to the rest of the field.
Terms of the SDSU West initiative call for the university to acquire 132 acres from the city at fair market value, but the two sides will have to complete negotiations for any agreement to move forward. SDSU is hoping to begin construction next year and open the new stadium in 2020. For more coverage on the project, visit our sister site Football Stadium Digest.
Images courtesy of Friends of SDSU.
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