An addendum update to the post yesterday on Election Day referendum ballot measures and the impact on the Major League Soccer expansion process:
San Diego residents voted against the Soccer City proposal of the referendum overwhelmingly. The vote all but ends the bid by Landon Donovan and his partners for landing an expansion franchise in that city. The biggest issue that I perceived with that proposal was, although the stadium and other development was going to be completely privately financed, the public was unsure that an affirmative vote on the land use for that purpose without any guarantee by MLS of them getting an expansion team was a sound choice for the land.
However, the football stadium for SDSU did get approved as well as the campus extension for the school to include the “Innovation Zone”. The public evidently understood the need for the campus extension and also understood the need for a place for the school’s football team to have an updated and appropriate venue to host games. The SDSU football team is already in the city and has a tradition going back decades, it is a safer play to vote that proposal through to the next stage. It also should be noted that the taxpayers have been paying for repairs and upkeep on the enormous Qualcomm Stadium since the Chargers moved almost two years ago. It is time to tear down that facility and replace it with a smaller, less costly venue on that site.
This vote by San Diego residents gives both Phoenix and St. Louis a better shot at landing the one remaining expansion slot left for MLS.
In Miami, the voters approved the ballot measure to allow Beckham and his partners to negotiate the lease and terms of the development of the stadium in the Freedom Park project. The issue remaining is two-fold: the group has to get approval by the city council and can have only one dissenting vote so they need 4 of 5 votes cast to approve the development moving forward. They also must face the reality that the site will not be ready for 2020 opening day and will have to explore temporary stadium sites in the area if MLS wants the team to launch in 2020.
Many moving parts, but the vote yesterday in two cities brought some clarity to the process.