San Diego State University has reportedly met with MLS, part of its efforts to explore potential tenants for a new stadium it is planning.
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 was a proposal from FS Investors that included a new stadium for an MLS expansion squad with surrounding development at the same site, while SDSU backers proposed a multi-purpose stadium that could host Aztecs football and professional soccer, with the ability to be expanded to accommodate the NFL should it ever return to San Diego.
Potential SDSU stadium tenants have been contacted by the university in recent months, and it appears that MLS might have been part of those discussions. One of the key individuals behind SDSU West says that the university conducted a preliminary meeting with the league. SDSU, for its part, confirms discussions “with multiple professional organizations” since the election, but its statement was not specific about what organizations have been contacted. 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.”
SDSU officials have maintained since before the election that SDSU West does not shut the door on MLS coming to San Diego, especially since the facility will be designed with soccer in mind. The stadium would certainly be prepared for MLS, but there are other questions in play–including whether a prospective ownership group and MLS would want the club to be secondary to SDSU, and how the overall plans fit 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.
The ballot initiative called for SDSU 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. Should the plan make enough progress in 2019, SDSU could begin construction in 2020 and open the new stadium in 2022.
Rendering courtesy Populous and San Diego State University.
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