Kicking around the idea of bringing soccer to San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Kicking around the idea of bringing soccer to San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) —  Less than two weeks after the Chargers announced their move to Los Angeles, a group of investors has unveiled a new proposal to redevelop the Qualcomm Stadium site. 

They have proposed a 30,000-seat, state-of-the-art stadium that would house - not only San Diego State football games - but also a brand new Major League Soccer franchise. 

"We're trying to bring the world's most popular sport to one of the world's greatest cities," said Nick Stone, one of several investors behind the plan.  
The plan not only replaces Qualcomm Stadium with a new, smaller venue, but also completely re-develops the entire 166-acre Mission Valley site. 

"We want to take about a third of the site and commit it to a river park," said Stone. 

That would be a 55-acre park along the San Diego River. Other space would be used for offices and a sports and entertainment district with restaurants shops, bars and live music, according to the FS Investors group's plans. The plan also include housing, with a promise to set aside 800 units for students. 

And how much will all of this cost taxpayers? 
"We're not asking for a penny of taxpayer money," Stone said. 

Stone also said they are willing to pay fair market value for the land, but this deal has to be approved quickly because the MLS is awarding two new franchises this year. To be considered, cities have to agree to have a new stadium ready for play by March 2020.  So instead of putting this to a public vote in 2018, the plan's backers will have to get tens of thousands of signatures from residents within a couple months. And then get the city council to approve it. 

FS Investors group, which also includes Padres lead investor Peter Seidler and former Qualcomm president Steve Altman, has the exclusive negotiating rights with the MLS. The league is expected to designate expansion cities this fall. 

"I think it's a really exciting opportunity to not only bring MLS to San Diego, but have a permanent home for Aztecs football," said Mayor Kevin Faulconer. "[And] a river park, that so many of us want and the city needs. I'm looking forward to seeing the final plan." 

Several cities are fighting to win those two new soccer franchises. So what are San Diego's chances of getting one?  

"We would welcome a team in San Diego," said LA Galaxy president Chris Klein during an interview with CBS News 8 a year and a half ago about the possibility of an MLS team replacing the Chargers.  

"Soccer works in southern California - look at the number of people who play soccer in San Diego," Klein said. "Look at the TV ratings - whenever you have a national team game - men or women - and San Diego is usually at the top of the list."  

The stadium will cost $200 million dollars to build and the investors are asking San Diego State to pay for half of it.   

"We have been engaged in discussions [with FS Investors]," said Gina Jacobs, a spokeswoman for SDSU. "We received the proposal at the same time it was released. We're reviewing it and are excited to see what the rest of the proposal is." 

FS Investors said in five years they would donate their half of the stadium to the university, essentially giving San Diego state a $100 million dollar gift. 

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