The San Diego Chargers wanted a new stadium in San Diego but were turned down, leading the franchise to make the decision to head to Los Angeles. San Diego State, who has shared residences with the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium, also wants a new stadium, but the Aztecs lack the same kind of bargaining power and threat the Chargers do. After all, San Diego State cannot go anywhere. The good news is their demands are not nearly as taxing on the city either.
San Diego state currently has a lease with Qualcomm Stadium that expires after the 2018 season, which means the school needs to figure out if it can create a new place to call home or renew its contract for the cavernous Qualcomm Stadium for however many more years are necessary. The school has explored stadium options before, including the possibility of investing $100 million for a brand new stadium all to themselves, but there are no plans in place just yet to break ground on a stadium built just for the Aztecs.
“The big thing is finding a suitable stadium solution for the long term,” San Diego State athletics director John David Wicker said in a story published by The San Diego Union-Tribune. “That means we have to be able to generate revenue over and above what we’re doing now. We need to generate premium sales; we need to generate third-party marketing rights – those types of things that we don’t get now.”
The issues facing San Diego State are common among programs located in cities. Temple and USF, for example, play their home game sin NFL stadiums in part because the location for a football-only stadium is either not available or feasible. San Diego State looks to other midmajor football programs for inspiration where stadiums with a smaller seating capacity offer a more enjoyable experience for fans compared to dressing up (or dressing down) a stadium built in 1967 to host both baseball and football.
“That’s the only way we’re going to be successful moving forward,” Wicker said. “It’s figuring out what that’s going to look like.”
Having just played Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl gave Wicker a chance to meet with Houston officials, who have extended an invitation to him to come check out their football stadium.
“They told me they’d love to have me come out to take a look,” Wicker said. “They said they could tell me what they did right and the things they’re regretting now. There’s that road map out there.”
There is no timeline for when San Diego State will have a future stadium plan all hashed out, but there is work being done behind the scenes to address it.