San Diego State officially opened Snapdragon Stadium on Friday afternoon in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place just outside the main stadium entrance. The event was not open to the general public and included a small number of invited guests and media.
SDSU was joined by San Diego city leaders and representatives from Qualcomm Technologies to celebrate the completion of construction, which broke ground two years and two days ago. Snapdragon Stadium is only the first step in SDSU’s Mission Valley development that will culminate in an expansion campus for the university.
“We are looking forward to fans coming to a stadium that they can be proud of, a stadium that is authentic to San Diego,” SDSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, J.D. Wicker said. “We feel we’ve created an unmatched experience in collegiate athletics and in all events that come to the stadium.”
Wicker gave the final speech of the ceremony and became emotional towards the end when thanking the countless men and women that helped play a big part in reaching this milestone.
“It’s been a hard six years,” he said when asked why he became emotional. “But a fun six years.”
The emcee of the ceremony was legendary San Diego broadcaster Ted Leitner, the radio play-by-play voice of SDSU football and basketball. Marshall Faulk, who Leitner introduced as the greatest Aztec of all time, commemorated the opening of the stadium by giving the first toast.
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SDSU President Adela de la Torre spoke at the ceremony, highlighting the importance the community of San Diego played in the design and construction of the stadium.
“You will see murals, sculptures, and portraits by our own students and local artists,” she said. “Nearly 90% of the old stadium was recycled or reused on-site, and many of the businesses operating in the stadium are locally-owned and run by SDSU alumni.”
The first event to be held at the new stadium will be SDSU football’s fall scrimmage on Saturday. Tickets were not made available for sale for this “soft opening” but were provided to season ticket members, SDSU students, and families of the players. SDSU expects anywhere between 10,000-20,000 fans in attendance to help the operations team stress-test the facilities.
The official opening of the stadium will come on Saturday, September 3, when SDSU hosts Pac-12’s Arizona at 12:30 pm on CBS. A sellout of 35,000 is expected for the opening game.
The naming of the stadium is the result of a long-term agreement between SDSU and Qualcomm. According to the joint announcement back in December 2021, the agreement grants exclusive naming rights for the stadium to Qualcomm for 15 years.
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“From our perspective, Snapdragon is our global consumer brand that we have been building,” said Don McGuire, Chief Marketing Officer of Qualcomm. “It’s the name of our platforms that cut across various device categories, from smartphones to PCs, XR devices, wearables, and connected cars. And we have been pushing to build that brand globally. So adding things like putting our name on a stadium is one of the parts of the marketing mix that we decided to lean in on.”
“And this stadium is right in our backyard. We are a San Diego company, born and bred. Thirty-seven years in this community. Building some of the innovation that is leading to the devices that people love in their lives around the world, and Snapdragon is the pinnacle of that expression of the Qualcomm story.”
McGuire mentioned that the company will be involved heavily in the fan experience for the opening game, including an augmented reality experience powered by Snapdragon devices prior to kickoff in Aztec Village and a special halftime experience for the entire stadium.
McGuire added, “the buzz is just incredible. We are really looking forward to lighting up with Arizona versus San Diego State here coming on the 3rd. We are already seeing huge ROI.”
The stadium will also be the new home of the San Diego Wave FC, the women’s soccer team that plays in the National Women’s Soccer League. The Wave will host their final two home regular season games at Snapdragon Stadium on September 17th and 30th.
Jimmy Buffett and Jason Mraz will have the privilege of performing in the first concert at the stadium. When asked if there were any other concerts in the works, Wicker mentioned they are close to finalizing two more concerts but would not disclose the names of the musical acts.
Avid sports fan and historian of basketball, baseball, football and soccer. UC San Diego and San Diego State alumni living in America’s Finest City. Diverse team following across multiple sports leagues, but Aztecs come first in college athletics.