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SDSU Details Stadium Expansion for San Diego NFL Franchise

SDSU Stadium NFL rendering 2

As shown in plans released on Thursday, a proposed San Diego State University (SDSU) stadium could be expanded to accommodate a San Diego NFL franchise. 

Last year’s relocation of the San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles left San Diego without an NFL franchise for the foreseeable future. It has also prompted plenty of discussion about the future of the team’s former home, SDCCU Stadium. A group known as Friends of SDSU has carried out a citizens’ initiative for SDSU West, a development at the SDCCU Stadium site in Mission Valley that would include a new stadium for SDSU football.

The plans for that stadium call for it to initially seat 35,000, with design specifications allowing it to host college football and professional soccer matches. However, the stadium could also be expanded to 55,000 seats to accommodate a new San Diego NFL franchise. More information about those plans have been unveiled, including renderings that show how the stadium would look in its expanded NFL configuration.

SDSU Stadium NFL rendering 1

There is quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding this concept. The development that includes the new SDSU stadium will appear on the November ballot alongside SoccerCity, a competing proposal for the same site that calls for a new MLS stadium and surrounding development. Even if the plan that includes the SDSU stadium were to move forward, it remains to be seen whether it would be enough to sway a prospective NFL owner. More from The San Diego Union-Tribune:

If the election goes in favor of SDSU West, as the proposal from a group known as Friends of SDSU is called, then the university would own the land. It would present an unprecedented ownership situation in regard to an NFL franchise.

“It’s a conversation to have,” said [SDSU director of athletics John David] Wicker, adding. “It’s a discussion. It’s a negotiation, perhaps. There’s an equity partnership at that point where you’re purchasing part of the stadium or the land or whatever it may be. There are so many ways you can do this.”

The SDSU West proposal calls for a 35,000-seat stadium that would cost an estimated $250 million. Wicker said their estimate is that construction costs to accommodate an NFL team would be an additional $750-$850 million.

“What we’re proposing is an NFL owner could come in,” Wicker said, “take the east side of the stadium and the two end zones, take them down to the ground, build out the service levels and stadium that they need while keeping all the premium amenities on the west side.”

The SoccerCity proposal also has its own NFL component, though it differs from the plan in the SDSU West concept. In its plan, SoccerCity would set aside 16 acres for a period of five years for the use of a NFL stadium. Once that five-year window expires, the land could be converted into a residential development.

With both plans on the ballot, the one with the greatest share of the majority will move forward. If both initiatives fail to reach a majority, discussions over the future of the SDCCU Stadium site will be turned over to the city. SDCCU Stadium originally opened in 1967 and is currently home to SDSU football, but its aging condition has prompted plenty of speculation about how much longer it will last.

Renderings courtesy SDSU athletics.

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August Publications