There was a new indication of Major League Soccer’s interest in San Diego on Friday, as Southern California residents who are MLS fans were sent a survey about a potential new stadium in the city.
San Diego, repeatedly mooted as a potential MLS expansion target by MLS Commissioner Don Garber this year, has been linked to a new joint stadium project with San Diego State University. The stadium project is to be shared by the MLS team and SDSU’s football team. It has been proposed by SDSU to be located on the site of the current Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley, which would be torn down and redeveloped.
The survey included questions about the likelihood of respondents attending MLS games in a San Diego stadium and buying season tickets for said MLS team (as well as gauging price points for those season tickets), as well as the same for SDSU football games.
The email sent with the survey link included key language that this survey is: “As part of the project planning process, a third-party market research firm has been engaged to conduct a market feasibility study to determine interest in attending events at a new stadium in Mission Valley, as well as preferences for various amenities that could enhance the fan experience.”
So while this is the best indication yet that the MLS-SDSU partnership is indeed something being seriously considered, it’s important to understand this is still tentative, and a survey being sent out is not proof MLS is coming to San Diego.
Furthermore, it may be of interest to those watching MLS expansion trends that the survey was considerably concerned with high-end seating options, at one point explained in depth ahead of a survey question:
Consideration is currently being given to a new stadium in San Diego that could serve as the home to an expansion MLS team and SDSU football. A new stadium could offer a variety of seating options, including a number of premium seating areas such as club seats, loge boxes and luxury suites, among others. Premium seating will be located in the best areas of the stadium, offering the best views to the pitch, and include amenities such as access to a climate-controlled club lounge with upscale food and beverage options, private restrooms, and casual seating areas, private stadium entrance, preferred parking, and other such amenities.
How would you characterize your attitude toward a new stadium in San Diego that would potentially serve as the home of an expansion MLS team and SDSU football?
What does that mean? Who knows, but they seem really concerned with rich people’s and corporate interest in going to sporting events in the stadium.
So with this in mind, what exactly does it mean? San Diego has to be a serious expansion contender, if market research is being conducted regarding a stadium project. But Cleveland was once a serious MLS expansion contender, and that came to nothing.
Also, it’s important to bear in mind the dominoes of this process. Does San Diego need a new stadium in order to get an MLS team? Almost certainly, since Qualcomm would not be a good venue, and neither would the San Diego Padres’ Petco Park. And if they need a stadium, then they’ll need a lot of things to come together to make that a reality, including some kind of resolution to the San Diego Chargers’ situation, whether they stay in the city or flee.
But again, the fact that a survey went out means San Diego isn’t being thrown around as an expansion candidate just to make up the numbers. There appears to be more momentum behind this effort than ever.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!