Snapdragon Stadium

Capacity35 000
Country United States of America
CitySan Diego
ClubsSan Diego State Aztecs, San Diego Wave FC, San Diego Legion
Inauguration 03/09/2022
Construction 17/08/2020 – 19/08/2022
Cost $ 310 M
Design Gensler
Contractor Clark Construction Group
Address 2101 Stadium Way, San Diego, CA 92108

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Snapdragon Stadium – stadium description

How did the construction of a new football stadium in San Diego happen?

When the Chargers (the NFL franchise), tempted by the opportunity to play at the state-of-the-art ultra-modern SoFi Stadium, moved to the Los Angeles metropolitan area in 2017, questions began to be asked about the future of the massive, 70,000-plus-seat San Diego Stadium. The baseball players of the MLB team, the San Diego Padres, moved out of the facility as early as 2003. The stadium continued to serve the athletes of the university-affiliated San Diego State Aztecs and hosted various competitions, but its glory years were behind it.

The facility was located on a sizable plot of land (135 acres) and was surrounded by open space. Two initiatives soon emerged, each to build a new, but noticeably smaller stadium on the site, adapted to current needs. In a public vote on November 6, 2018, residents voted in favour of San Diego State University's project to build a new university campus, part of which was to include a new stadium for San Diego State Aztecs athletes.

How did the construction of San Diego's new stadium proceed?

The deal to sell the city-owned land to the university (for $86.2 million) was finalised in the summer of 2020, with a design already prepared by the Gensler studio. Shortly after the university acquired the land, construction of the new stadium began. The official ground-breaking ceremony took place on August 17, 2020.

The new facility was being built right next to the old San Diego Stadium, which was decided to be demolished ( dismantling began in late 2020 and was completed in spring 2021). Materials from the torn-down facility were used to build the new arena. The main contractor delivering the stadium was Clark Construction Group. The new arena was expected to be built within two years and ready for the start of the 2022 college football season.

The initial construction cost was expected to be $150 million, but by the time work began, the figure had already grown to $310 million. The facility was originally associated with the name Aztec Stadium; in December 2021, Qualcomm bought the naming rights to the stadium to promote its Snapdragon-branded chips.

Work proceeded on schedule. In December 2020, concrete pouring began. In July 2021, an installation of the last steel beam was celebrated. In January 2022, the assembly of the grandstand seats began, in March the installation of the LED screens began and in June the turf was laid.

On August 20, 2022, a 'soft opening' was performed, which saw fans enter the stands of the new stadium for the first time, with the Aztecs football team introduced to the public. The day before, a ribbon cutting had taken place, marking the completion of construction exactly two years and two days after its official start. The proper inauguration of the stadium took place on September 3, 2022, when the Aztecs football team faced the Arizona Wildcats in their season-opening game (20:38).

What will be included in the Snapdragon Stadium surroundings?

The opening of the stadium has only completed the first phase of the new San Diego State University campus surrounding the former San Diego Stadium. Subsequent facilities, such as academic as well as research and development centres, residential buildings, retail space and recreational areas, are expected to be built within 10-15 years, with the entire project, referred to as SDSU Mission Valley, estimated to be worth $3.5 billion.

Who does Snapdragon Stadium serve?

The stadium is home not only to football players representing San Diego State University, but also the university's soccer and lacrosse teams. In addition, the facility hosts a rugby team, the San Diego Legion, which plays in the MLR, as well as the San Diego Wave FC women's soccer team, which participates in the NWSL.

In 2023, the stadium is expected to be the main arena for the World Lacrosse Championships. There is also potential talk of establishing a soccer team in San Diego to compete in the MLS and even the return of NFL games to the city, which would necessitate an expansion of the facility. In addition, the stadium could be used to host other events, such as concerts.

What are the features of Snapdragon Stadium?

The stadium's stands surround a rectangular field on all sides, designed primarily for football and soccer. The pitch is named Bashor Field, in honour of Dianne Bashor, who contributed $15 million to the construction of the stadium. The playing field is below ground level, with the first tier of stands resting on slopes created around the field.

The lower level of the stands on the west side was further divided into two tiers. Along the pitch, on either side, a second tier of spectator seating was added, created with concrete steps set on a steel framework. A modest, low second level is also located above the north stand, near the western corner. The north stand is equipped with rows of railings, allowing it to serve as a secure standing section. The auditorium is not covered.

A semi-open pavilion with commercial areas and a hospitality zone has been placed behind the western part of the stands. In the two corners there are large screens. Illumination is provided by floodlights mounted on twelve masts (eight are attached to the upper tier of the stands along the length of the pitch, four more stand near the corners). One of the most interesting additions to the stadium is the special pier-like platform that has been erected over the south stand.

The capacity of the stadium is 35,000 spectators. The stands are a mosaic of seats in shades of grey and burgundy, which is present in the upper sections. The stadium has a wide range of catering and extensive premium options. Only cashless payment is available at the venue. There is a light rail stop close to the stadium, and interstate highways 8, 15 and 805 also run nearby.

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