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San Diego
Saturday, May 18, 2024

Qualcomm Stadium Expects Sellout When ‘Futbol’ Fever Spikes

For local soccer fans, the place to be June 4 is Qualcomm Stadium, when it hosts an exhibition match between Mexico and Argentina.

If you’re into futbol, enough said.

In terms of its soccer pedigree, Argentina is about as big as it gets. The country is a perennial powerhouse that nearly always challenges for the World Cup championship held every four years. It’s among only a handful of nations that has won the cup more than once, with two championships, in 1978 and 1982. The latter team was led by renowned superstar Maradona.

“They produce some of the best players in the world and play a high level, entertaining brand of soccer,” said Paul Mendez, event manager for Soccer United Marketing, which organized the match.

Expect a sellout. The Mexican national team always guarantees a huge crowd, but with Argentina as the opponent, the game should fill the stadium’s 69,000 seats, he says.

“Field level, $300 seats are sold out, and all the $25 tickets are gone,” Mendez said. “But we have about 29,000 seats at $30. Mexico always wants to make sure that families can go to these games.”

Both national teams should also be playing some of their best stars, as both are using the June match as a tuneup for World Cup qualifying games later that month.

The Argentines are ranked No. 1 by FIFA, the sport’s international governing body, while Mexico is No. 16.

Argentina boasts last year’s world player of the year in Lionel Messi. Among the top players for Mexico expected to take the pitch are Rafael Marquez, Pavel Pardo and Oswaldo Sanchez.

Mike McSweeney, acting general manager at the Q, says the crowd should be larger than the last time Mexico played here, in early 2007, when 64,000 showed up for its 3-1 win against Venezuela.

“I expect a sellout based on the volume of calls we’ve been getting,” he said.

A special pre-sale for the match using only Visa credit cards ends May 5 when tickets will be sold at all Ticketmaster outlets.

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Stadium Proposal Changes Chargers’ Dynamics: You could almost feel the anxiety rising among San Diego Chargers fans last month when developer Edward Roski Jr. announced the construction of a football-only stadium in the city of Industry, near Los Angeles.

Roski, who developed the Staples Center several years ago and is a part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings, has been quietly working for the past 12 years to bring the National Football League back to the region. Both the Rams and the Raiders left the area at the end of the 1994 season.

The developer already has done an environmental report at the site that would include office, retail and entertainment space in 2004, and is working on a supplemental report that is specific for a state-of-the-art football stadium.

The announcement gave no news about a possible tenant, but several franchises are clearly looking at changing their address, including our Chargers.

The Bolts have not been happy with 40-year-old Qualcomm Stadium for a while and, two years ago, officially gave up working with the stadium’s owners, the city of San Diego, to construct a new stadium along with offices, retail and residential units at the same site in Mission Valley.

Since last year, the Chargers have been focused on Chula Vista, where there are two possible sites, on the bay front at a site now occupied by a power plant, and another on vacant land in the eastern part of the city.

The team has been conducting a financial feasibility study of the project and hopes to have some answers by the summer, says stadium point man Mark Fabiani.

Coincidentally, Roski and the Chargers’ owners, the Spanoses, are good buddies, and he’s even told Dean Spanos about his plans, Fabiani says.

And invited them to move north?

Nope. “We are continuing to focus our efforts on our remaining two options in Chula Vista and working as hard as we can to make something happen there,” he said.

And if something doesn’t happen? “We believe it’s premature to consider that question.”

The team has said many times that while it has the legal right to talk to other cities about a new home, it has made a commitment to getting a stadium built inside the county limits.

But this latest Los Angeles plan has got to make many Chargers fans worry whether they’ll have a team much longer.

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Padres’ Attendance And Offense Drop: The latest San Diego Padres homestand wasn’t good in terms of wins, one victory in five tries, or at the gate. Although the weekend series featured the red-hot Arizona Diamondbacks, only the April 27 game drew well, at 40,000 tickets sold. This season, the team’s average attendance at Petco Park is 30,770, or 6.9 percent below its 32,900 average last year.

The Padres were not only mired in last place in their division as of last week’s deadline, they’re hearing a growing amount of discontent about ownership’s reluctance to spend money on players who can hit. And the selling of beers with 3.2 percent alcohol at Petco Park, less alcohol than many beers available elsewhere, doesn’t help matters, either.

Send any news about local sports business to Mike Allen via e-mail at He can be reached at (858) 277-6359.


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