San Diego Agrees $11 Million Subsidy - Extends SDSU's SDCCU Stadium Lease
On Monday, August 6th, San Diego's City Council voted to extend the existing lease that San Diego State University holds over the SDCCU Stadium site by two years, delaying a long planned decommission for at least another 24 months.
The Aztec football program has called this stadium home for over 50 years and on Monday gained ground once again when six members of the council voted to approve a proposed extension with updated terms. District 7 Council member Scott Sherman was the lone no vote while Christopher Ward and Chris Cate of Districts 3 and 6 respectively were absent.
This proposed extension has long been the subject of attention. Since the NFL's Chargers took off in early 2017, the city had publicly made it known that it intended to cease all operations at the concrete bastion of San Diego sports teams at its earliest opportunity.
The former Qualcomm Stadium costs the city as much as $13 million a year to operate according to some projections, and with very little revenue generated currently, it only makes sense to shut down the stadium. Particularly since there are two major ballot initiatives coming this November that could potentially absolve the city of the $100 million+ it owes on deferred maintenance payments from some creative accounting of yesteryear.
The lease had support from several bodies, including SDSU alumni Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who argued passionately that SDSU has been a vital part of the San Diego community for over 120 years.
"The extension of SDSU's lease to play football at SDCCU Stadium is critical because its football program does much more for the university and our city than simply playing a few games a year," explained Faulconer in his introduction of the item.
"SDSU's football program attracts not just student athletes but generates exposure that helps the university attract great students from local schools and from around the world."
The newly approved lease brings the city's operating loses down to an annual $5.6 million over the two year term. In a slight twist to proceedings at City Hall on Monday, council member Mark Kersey requested that additional language be added to the proposed lease that indicated what should happen in the event the SDSU West initiative prevails in November.
The SDSU West initiative is currently written quite broadly and has no mechanism for facilitating the intervening years between when the existing stadium is wound down and the new one is opened up, so language was added to the lease extension to fill that gap. After a short break to craft the specific language, the vote was called, and the amended lease was approved.
All eyes now turn towards November as campaigns ramp up for the silly season. As far as Mission Valley is concerned, there are still some uncertainties regarding the final appearance of both SDSU West and the SoccerCity initiatives come the November ballot.
The City Attorney’s office has ongoing litigation in play that aims to eliminate both initiatives from the November ballot on the premise that the Citizens’ Initiative mechanism does not legally allow for the scripted outcomes.
Stay tuned for more updates on this whole story as time goes on.