It’s time to grow up, San Diego.
If you would like to be considered a “sports city,” a major attitude adjustment is needed. I know that’s blunt, and some people will be offended by what they just read. But the city has no significant sports history, which is a reality. No major sports championships, no collegiate championships within the significant sports programs. Nothing.
San Diego should have hoisted a trophy by the process of elimination alone. The city should have claimed a championship by blind luck by now. You would think, right? Every dog has their day. Or at least that is what they say. For San Diego, there has been nothing. No joy. Just moments of celebrations for nearly getting there. But no real joy.
How is this possible? Is the city cursed?
The San Diego Padres are the only major sports franchise in the area and the lone team left to complete the city’s mission. Some optimistic sports fans believe the Chargers will return one day. Those same poor souls are awaiting the return of the Clippers. A team that left nearly 40 years ago. At this point, the city of San Diego is coming from the bottom. With only one franchise out of the four major sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey), there is little to celebrate. The Sockers, Loyal, Wave, Seals, and Gulls provide great entertainment for the city and its sports fans, but the reality is they are not considered major sports franchises.
Though I should point out that the San Diego Sockers are easily the most-successful sports franchise in the history of the city, the team has won 16 times since it was established in 1978 and will play in a new arena starting the 2023 season. The Sockers win consistently but are not drawing in the stands as they should like they are capable of doing.
So how does supporting a college like San Diego State University help professional sports in the area? It is simple. On a national level, when you think about collegiate sports in the city, San Diego State University is immediately who you think about. The Aztecs are linked to the city, like it or not.
March Madness generates a ton of advertising revenue as the tournament is adored by the whole nation. Only the NFL Playoffs make slightly more income as far as advertising is concerned. The Aztecs basketball team is on the verge of something special. They are easily the most successful basketball team in their conference over the last two-plus decades. Though the team has fallen short of their goal, plenty of eyes were placed on the city of San Diego simply because they play well.
In recent rating numbers, NCAA Bowl Games are gaining more viewers than NBA Playoff games. Collegiate sports are on the upswing as some fans are growing tired of the politics and greed involved in professional sports. San Diego State University is about to open a brand new stadium in Mission Valley. Snapdragon Stadium will easily host College Bowl Games in the future. The Aztecs themselves could be on the move to the Pac-12 as USC and UCLA are likely set to move to the Big-10 Conference. If that were to happen, recruiting would pick up for the school in all sports, and the sky would be the limit as far as production on the field.
With the recent play of the Padres, the city is poised to make a splash in national sports. San Diegans are blessed with three opportunities each sports season to show excellent fandom. The MLB baseball season, the NCAA men’s basketball season, and the NCAA football season. If the city can sell out these events and show the world what kind of fans they can be, then the city will generate opportunities with other sports. San Diego is the second-largest city in California and the eighth largest in the whole nation. Geography does limit the city to some degree, but there must be a more prevalent showing in the sports community.
SDSU has produced hall-of-fame level talent from Marshall Faulk to Tony Gwynn to Kawhi Leonard. Players who are adored and loved by people that have never set one foot in the city of San Diego. Athletes like this gave recognition and a name to America’s Finest City. The Aztecs are ambassadors to the city in regards to the NCAA. There is no denying that.
The University of San Diego (USD) and the University of California San Diego (UCSD) are both in the area and certainly deserve attention from local sports fanatics. Both USD and UCSD are on the upswing when it comes to athletics. USD has always produced excellent baseball players in the area. Starting in 2020, UCSD started playing in Division-1, and with that, they have been able to add credible athletes to their sports departments. These two schools will also help build sports in the area, but most outsiders are unfamiliar with these smaller schools. The Aztecs remain front and center in the minds of sports fans.
Yes, living in San Diego is fantastic for its residents. You have the beaches and the mountains—nightlife and theme parks. There is much to do in the city with its amazing weather. Attendance can sometimes be an issue for organizations in the area. Opposing teams have always had a prominent showing in the stands in San Diego. Their fans travel to the city, take a vacation and watch a ball game. That will always be a thing. The city is a top travel destination within the continental United States.
You cannot stop opposing fans from traveling to San Diego and watching their teams. These fan bases might enjoy the city and what it has to offer, but their team is leaving with a loss. That is the mentality that must happen. That is what is needed for this city to be a sports powerhouse. The laid-back attitude of the city must end, and the hardcore fanatics must emerge and help drive their team to victory.
There is a new stadium being built in Mission Valley right now.
There is no doubt in my mind that the new facility will be a “hip” place to be. The development and renovation of the space will not be as drastic as when the Padres moved into the Gaslamp/East Village area, but there will be noticeable changes. The stadium will not just benefit the school. It will benefit the community and provide an adequate place for families to enjoy the Mission Valley area. Snapdragon Stadium already announced that Jimmy Buffett will play a concert on October 22 in Mission Valley. Like the Padres, SDSU and their stadium will utilize their venue for multiple functions.
There is no doubt that San Diego State University can snowball this whole effort into a huge success for the school. National eyes will be on the stadium as it opens in early September. If the Aztecs can create just a little of the magic that the Padres created in downtown San Diego, then Mission Valley will surely return the glory of its past.
Fandom is about supporting your area and having respect for the city.
The growth of San Diego State University and its athletic department is happening presently. With the construction of the new stadium, San Diego State is coming into its own as a collegiate sports powerhouse within the area. The football team will directly benefit from the stadium, but the growth will easily trickle down to all the other departments. The men’s basketball team is poised to have its best season ever with much anticipation regarding their roster.
Big things are happening at San Diego State University. It is time to get on board. Show investors that this city loves its sports teams and can support any potential franchise that wants to come into the area. There is no doubt the Aztecs will be embraced by the city shortly. After all, they represent San Diego, and that is a great thing. Go Aztecs. Go San Diego Sports.