Basic Overview of SoccerCitySD
It has been just over a year since the day Mike Stone, Nick Stone, Steve Altman, Landon Donovan, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Juan Carlos Rodriguez and dozens of other people stood on the deck of the USS Midway to present San Diego's Major League Soccer expansion bid to league commissioner Don Garber.
In the months since that beautiful January morning, San Diego has gotten quite familiar with the SoccerCity San Diego plan devised by FS Investor's head Mike Stone, and written by Nick Stone (no relation to Mike) and Jon Dunbar.
I'll summarize the gist of the situation: Major League Soccer has been expanding for several years now. The 2017 season saw 22 teams take the field across 21 different markets across the country. With teams 23 and 24 set to kick off within the next two years, the league announced an additional round of expansion from 24 teams to 28 in December of 2015.
With that knowledge in mind, the rich sharps from La Jolla began performing due diligence on the city of San Diego's potential as a destination for Major League Soccer. Around that same time, a bloke by the name of Dean Spanos, owner of a National Football League team that currently sublets field space from the MLS' flagship franchise the Los Angeles Galaxy, was waist deep in extricating his team from their home in San Diego.
The sharps from La Jolla figured that if the Qualcomm property was soon-to-be vacant, they might as well see what sort of synergies they could stack in order to maximize their return on investment.
Replacing a football team with a soccer team, while replacing an old dilapidated relic of a stadium with a hi-tech newfangled sparkly albeit smaller than the dinosaur it would be replacing stadium, while also providing for SDSU's football team to have a place to call home, while also injecting some much needed capital into the city's nearly empty coffers, while also building housing and parkland seems to me like a simply sumptuous synergy sandwich. Seems like it seemed like a simply sumptuous synergy sandwich to the folks at FS as well.
That became their plan. Fulfill multiple wants/needs/demands of as wide a population base as possible, secure support from said wide base of citizens of San Diego for the Citizens Initiative process that enabled FS to move more quickly than neighbors down the Friars Road in the Civita development that was more than 10 years in the making, and either have the City Council directly adopt the SoccerCity initiative or orchestrate a special election that enabled them to meet the MLS expansion decision deadline.
Long story short, that plan failed.
Now, SoccerCity is onto Plan B. Wait for the 2018 November midterm election, win at the polls and hope that no other potential expansion city gets their ducks lined up before San Diego. So far, one of the four spots that was up for grabs at the start of this campaign has been taken by Nashville.
According to multiple people with intimate knowledge of the league, if there are still any spaces left open in MLS if and when the SoccerCity initiative is approved by voters in November of 2018, then San Diego will certainly be granted an expansion franchise. If not, then the entire SoccerCity proposal becomes null and void.
With all that being said, citizens of San Diego can expect escalation of SoccerCity campaigning over the course of the next few months. With as much of a guarantee from a professional sports league as anyone is ever likely to receive, SoccerCity has to go all in if they intend to see their plan come to fruition.