More than 100,000 San Diego residents signed a petition in favor of the city's MLS expansion bid.

By Brian Straus
April 28, 2017

On Monday, San Diego MLS investment group Goal SD submitted more than 100,000 signatures from eligible voters to the city. They were collected in under two weeks.

Goal SD needed only 71,646 signatures to put its SoccerCity development proposal before the city council. Although the council could simply approve it then and there, the investors want their plan sent to the voters in November in order to remove any doubt that it has the public’s full support.

“The fact that more than 100,000 people signed the petition in less than two week’s time speaks volumes to the enthusiasm that San Diegans feel for this proposal,” investor Nick Stone said.

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The project in Mission Valley calls for the demolition of Qualcomm Stadium, the Chargers’ former home, and the construction of a 30,000-seat, expandable venue for MLS and San Diego State football. It also includes 55 acres of park, six public fields, land for a future NFL stadium, 3,520 housing units, 800 student dormitory units, 480 units of affordable housing, 2.4 million square feet of office space, 740,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space and two hotels. And it’ll all be privately funded.

So where’s the opposition? Goal SD investor Landon Donovan told SI.com last month that he expected it to come from four potential sources—those who want the property reserved strictly for a future NFL franchise, those who want it reserved for SDSU, those who want less development and more parkland and rival developers who either want the site for themselves or don’t wish to compete with SoccerCity.

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So far, only the latter has really coalesced in the form of Sudberry Properties and HG Fenton, developers that are working on their own mixed-use projects nearby. 

In late March, a study was published based on data from Esri, a demographic and geographic information systems company, that indicated San Diego leads all 12 MLS expansion applicants in soccer participation and TV viewership.

The city’s figures also eclipse the average of current MLS markets.