Ever since the NFL’s Chargers made the decision to leave San Diego for Los Angles, San Diego State has had its focus on figuring out where they will be playing football in the years to come. The future of Aztec football seemingly boils down to two possibilities that will be up for consideration on the ballot this November, and San Diego State hopes its plan is the one that will win over the most voters so their plan can move forward.
San Diego State’s $250 million stadium proposal would erect a stadium with a seating capacity of 35,000 but would allow for expansion up to 55,000 should the NFL decide to make a return to San Diego in the future. Part of the plan, should San Diego State’s proposal win, would allow for a prospective NFL owner to purchase a portion of the land the stadium sits on to build up whatever facilities would be needed to accommodate an NFL franchise.
“What we’re proposing is an NFL owner could come in, 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,” San Diego State director of athletics John David Wicker explained, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. That may not sound all that enticing for any NFL owner who may want total control of the stadium, but the offer would apparently stand for as long as needed.
The other major stadium proposal up for consideration is the soccer stadium proposal from investors looking to attract a Major League Soccer franchise to San Diego. The soccer stadium plan would include San Diego State football in its plans, but the option for an NFL franchise would come with a timeline with an expiration date. In addition to the stadium, the soccer stadium proposal would set aside five acres of land reserved for a possible NFL franchise, but that land would be developed for residential use after the five years passes without any NFL interest.
“Ours doesn’t sunset in five years,” Wicker said. “Our opportunity to build an NFL stadium will be there as long as we have the site there.”
The other key aspect of this stadium proposal from San Diego State is the land would belong to San Diego State. That is a nice financial incentive on San Diego State’s side with or without an NFL team showing interest. San Diego State’s proposal also includes the possibility to host an MLS franchise as well, as it has become clear any new stadium will serve as the home site for San Diego State football and a prospective MLS franchise. And while both options have flexibility for the NFL as well, voters will decide which fo the two plans they like best in November. If either plan receives a majority of the votes, it will be the one that advances to the next stage of development in San Diego.
The city of San Diego seems content to realize it may no longer be building a structure that will one day welcome an event like the Super Bowl back to the city. And while not ruled out entirely, it would seem any new stadium built would lack in the appeal for a possible future College Football Playoff national championship game as well.
In the meantime, San Diego State has extended their contract to play football games in SDCCU Stadium through 2020, tacking on two more seasons to a contract that was set to expire at the end of the 2018 season.