Photo by Mary York
San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, also known as “The Q,” opened in 1967 and has served as the home for the then San Diego Chargers, San Diego Padres and San Diego State football throughout its time.
Called San Diego Stadium when it first opened and later renamed Jack Murphy Stadium before it became Qualcomm in 1997. Yet, it remains the only stadium in American history to host a Super Bowl and World Series in the same year (1998). It is also one of three sports stadiums to host the Super Bowl, World Series and MLB All-Star Game.
So as the Padres moved to Petco Park in 2004 and the Chargers recently moved to Los Angeles earlier this year, the Aztecs are now the sole tenants of the historic stadium, and there are questions as to what should be done about San Diego’s 70,000-seat venue.
The likely decision moving forward is for SDSU to buy the stadium and surrounding land to build an extension of the school called “West Campus” that would include a smaller football stadium for the team. This was proposed by former SDSU president Elliot Hirshman in the summer of 2016.
The new campus would be 166 acres in size and would include student and faculty housing, an elevated nature walk on the south side, a park conservancy connected to the trolley station to reach the main campus and a 40,000-seat stadium for football games.
The cost of the project for this campus has not been calculated and it is undetermined whether there would be a tuition increase in order to complete the site.
However, West Campus in place of Qualcomm Stadium presents a great opportunity for the school and the football team. Just as the men and women’s basketball teams called Viejas Arena their home when it opened in 1997, Aztec football would be able to claim a home to themselves with a new 40,000-seat venue.
The stadium would also be better fit for the college football atmosphere, making it a better experience for viewers and fans. It’s difficult for Qualcomm to sell out its 70,000 seats, even when the Chargers and Padres were in their heyday.
With a new stadium, Aztec football would be a focal point for San Diego, especially with it being the only football team the city has. It would attract many San Diegans to attend home games as well as students that live in West Campus – a perfect combination.
If this project passes and football finds a new home, there’s no doubt the student and fan experience at SDSU would feel like college and less in the shadows of the Chargers and Qualcomm.
Another idea that has been proposed is to bring an MLS team to San Diego that would share a stadium with Aztec football.
As exciting as that may sound, it would actually take away that “college feel” from SDSU. Football would once again be in the shadows of another major sports team, which isn’t the goal nor what the team deserves.
It’s about time SDSU football received a stadium of its own, especially after conquering back-to-back Mountain West Conference championships and victories in the Hawaii Bowl and Las Vegas Bowl games while being ranked in the AP top 25 three times last season.
The last thing SDSU — and the city of San Diego — needs is a distraction from that. And it is unclear whether the support for soccer in this area will follow.
After all, we don’t want to bring more professional sports team drama similar to what the Chargers brought this past year-plus.