News that San Diego investors were closing in on a team was surprising.
Out of nowhere, there were reports out of San Diego that San Diego soccer backers that included a local gambling tribe and an Egyptian billionaire were closing in on landing a Major League Soccer franchise. The report was not initially confirmed by Major League Soccer. San Diego is a market that has intrigued Major League Soccer officials. There is just one Major League team in the city, Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres franchise so in theory there can be some corporate money available for an additional sports franchise. The National Football League’s San Diego Chargers ownership abandoned the city following the 2016 season after the team owners, the Spanos family, could not get a football stadium built locally. In 2016, San Diego voters said no to funding a soccer stadium at the site of the city’s stadium that once housed the baseball Padres and the NFL’s Chargers. San Diego State University built a smaller stadium on the site and there was some campus expansion nearby.
But the San Diego State University stadium could be used for soccer. This past May, San Diego State athletics director JD Wicker said the venue was given the go ahead by MLS officials as a venue that was up to league standards. In December 2021, MLS Commissioner Don Garber told ESPN, “We’ve looked at that market for many years now. We unfortunately lost the public vote on the site, but we’ve remained in touch with and still believe that San Diego would be a great MLS market.” The San Diego news was somewhat of a surprise in that the MLS seemed to be honing in on Las Vegas as an expansion site and that would give the league 30 teams. The league has committed to one more expansion team. San Diego has a stadium advantage over Las Vegas.
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