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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

SDSU to play 2021 football games at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson

SDSU says the decision allows the university to expedite its work on the construction site adjacent to SDCCU.
Credit: KFMB

SAN DIEGO — San Diego State University and its athletic department announced Tuesday that the 2021 football home games – both spring and fall seasons – will be played at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. SDSU says the decision allows the University to expedite its work on the construction site adjacent to SDCCU. The university says the new stadium is scheduled to open in fall 2022.

"Once the sale of the site was finalized with the city and we knew we could play football in Aztec Stadium in fall 2022, based on all the information we had gathered, it became clear the existing stadium had to come down in the first quarter of 2021," said San Diego State Athletic Director John David Wicker. "Our intention had been to play a final season in SDCCU Stadium. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has forced our hand and we must move the spring 2021 games as well."

SDCCU Stadium will be replaced by a new stadium as part of the SDSU Mission Valley project. In addition to a 35,000-seat state-of-the-art multipurpose stadium for Aztec football, the project also includes a mixed-use development that is transit-oriented. The university says it will expand its educational, research, entrepreneurial, and technology transfer programs.

The decision to not hold events in and eventually deconstruct SDCCU Stadium earlier than originally anticipated will also benefit the timeline for the entire project to move ahead more quickly.

"This is not a decision we made lightly," said Tom McCarron, Senior Vice President, SDSU Mission Valley Development. "Getting the site ready for future development is critical for SDSU to realize the vision we have shared with the community over the past many years. The accelerated development timeline not only keeps the stadium on schedule, but also the River Park and development pads for the residential housing and Innovation District."

The Aztecs previously played at SDCCU Stadium (formerly San Diego Stadium, Jack Murphy Stadium and Qualcomm Stadium), which opened in 1967. San Diego State's first game in the facility was Sept. 15, 1967, when the Don Coryell-led Aztecs defeated Tennessee State, 16-8.

"Although I am disappointed that we will not be playing our home games in San Diego next year, I remain incredibly excited about playing in our new stadium in the fall of 2022," Wicker said. "While we wait for completion of this transformational facility, I am thrilled that Aztec fans will be able to cheer on our team while enjoying a remarkable game-day college atmosphere. The staff at Dignity Health has experience running marquee events and our staff looks forward to working with them to make this a great experience for our supporters."

Dignity Health Sports Park has hosted many professional football events the past several years. The NFL's Chargers called the facility home in 2017, 2018 and 2019, while the XFL's Wildcats made their debut this Spring. In addition, the venue also played host to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl from 2012 through 2017.

"We are excited to welcome San Diego State Football to Dignity Health Sports Park for the 2021 spring and fall seasons," Dignity Health general manager Katie Pandolfo said. "Dignity Health Sports Park is one of the best stadiums in Southern California and will be an ideal home for Aztec Football while Aztec Stadium is being completed. We look forward to hosting SDSU Football as they pursue an 11th straight bowl game and compete for a Mountain West Conference Championship."