The investment group seeking to bring an MLS team to San Diego released a stadium project rendering during a Jan. 30 rally aboard the USS Midway Museum - Rendering courtesy of Gensler

The investment group seeking to bring an MLS team to San Diego released a stadium project rendering during a Jan. 30 rally aboard the USS Midway Museum - Rendering courtesy of Gensler

Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president of the Spanish-language Univision Deportes, has joined the investment group looking to bring a new Major League Soccer team to San Diego. The announcement was made Jan. 30 as the investors formally submitted their application to MLS Commissioner Don Garber, during a rally aboard the USS Midway Museum.

At a news conference attended by local dignitaries and hundreds of cheering soccer fans, the investors reiterated plans announced last week to bring a new pro soccer team to Mission Valley, which would be the 25th team in the MLS. Garber said the local soccer fan base is part of a young, enthusiastic demographic that the 20-year-old league has been trying to reach for some time.

Rodriguez currently heads the multimedia sports division of New York-based Univision Communications Inc., the nation’s largest Spanish-language broadcaster with holdings in television, radio, digital and other media.

He joins a mostly local investor group that includes Michael Stone of FS Investors; former Qualcomm Inc. President Steve Altman; and San Diego Padres owner Peter Seidler. Also introduced at the downtown rally were two other investment group members not previously announced – local biotech entrepreneurs Massih and Masood Tayebi.

“Our goal is to make San Diego the epicenter of soccer in the United States,” Stone said at a news conference organized by the investor group on the flight deck of the USS Midway.

The investment group during February will be gathering initiative petition signatures to present to the San Diego City Council later this year, for a plan to build a new 30,000-seat stadium that would anchor a privately financed redevelopment of the current city-owned, 166-acre site of Qualcomm Stadium.

The investment group is seeking to work with San Diego State University on a $200 million stadium that could potentially be used for MLS soccer, Aztec football and other events. The investment group would acquire the site from the city at market rate, demolish the current stadium, and also develop a mixed-use commercial district with elements including housing, offices, retail and entertainment elements, as well as river park and other civic spaces.

The San Diego City Council, likely by this summer, would have the choice of approving the proposal or placing it on a future ballot, potentially 2018 at the earliest. However, the MLS has said that it needs to know before the end of this year whether it will have an approved new stadium ready to play in by March 2020.