Opinion: As mayor, I know San Diego is a sports town that will embrace Major League Soccer

Gloria is the mayor of San Diego. He lives in Little Italy.

January 2017 is a time that lives in San Diego sports activities infamy.

That’s when the Chargers introduced they had been making the dreaded transfer to Los Angeles. It’s a transfer they threatened town with for years.

Their departure seemingly perpetuated a story about whether or not San Diego is a “true” large metropolis. San Diego didn’t have L.A.’s large media market or company sponsors. Our fan base was seen as displaying little enthusiasm, and our sports activities groups hardly ever made it to the large video games. “San Diego simply isn’t a sports activities city,” folks mentioned.

The saying that it’s all the time darkest earlier than the daybreak has by no means appeared extra apt than at that second in 2017 — as a result of the previous a number of years have confirmed those that dismissed San Diego’s civic spirit to be useless fallacious.

San Diego is a sports activities city, and San Diegans have proven up enthusiastically and proudly to rally and are available collectively behind the groups that signify our metropolis.

When the Padres superior by the playoffs final fall, we packed the stands at Petco Park.

When the San Diego State College Aztecs males’s basketball workforce reached the Ultimate 4, we confirmed up in droves in Houston to cheer them on and rallied right here at house in Viejas Enviornment.

We’ll all the time keep in mind the place we had been when Lamont Butler hit that iconic buzzer beater to defeat Florida Atlantic College and ship the workforce to the NCAA finals.

Take a look at how rapidly the Loyal and Wave soccer groups had been in a position to construct an avid fan base which have already created enjoyable traditions for the matches — as if the groups have been right here for many years, moderately than only a few brief years.

Take a look at how San Diego has been chosen once more to host the Breeder’s Cup on the Del Mar Racetrack in 2024 and the World Lacrosse Males’s Championship this summer time, thanks largely to the advocacy of the San Diego Seals’ workforce possession.

And now, the subsequent frontier of San Diego sports activities is on the horizon with Main League Soccer asserting that San Diego shall be house to its latest workforce.

This win says loud and clear that San Diego is a sports activities city — and that does wonders for our area.

It additionally exhibits we’re a metropolis that will get issues achieved after we come collectively behind a collective objective. Snapdragon Stadium, the place the brand new MLS workforce will play, was a feat of civic motion; lower than 4 years after San Diegans overwhelmingly voted for town to promote the Mission Valley stadium land to SDSU, town and the college had executed a good purchase-and-sale settlement, and an attractive new stadium was welcoming followers to SDSU soccer video games. Snapdragon Stadium additionally was within the highlight when the primary main league workforce to play there, the San Diego Wave, repeatedly broke the Nationwide Girls’s Soccer League’s attendance data.

This monumental success ought to make San Diegans optimistic about what may come from the brand new sports activities enviornment within the Halfway redevelopment mission, which has famend sports-and-entertainment venue Legends as its enviornment accomplice.

We should always welcome and problem neighborhood and enterprise leaders to assume large in the case of sports activities. Sports activities tourism is a boon to our native economic system, with occasions estimated to generate greater than 300,000 room nights per yr in San Diego.

That’s nice for town’s funds, as our resort room-night tax is likely one of the few income sources town doesn’t must share with the county and state. This makes it one of many high sources of funding we use to pay for parks, libraries, avenue repairs, public security and extra.

When our sports activities groups are drawing followers and massive occasions carry guests to city, our small companies — eating places, bars, retailers and caterers — additionally rating.

Sports activities are nice at bringing our metropolis collectively. As mayor, I’m excited to see San Diego actually coming into its personal with this unifying drive and displaying what a loyal, loud and proud metropolis we’re as we cheer on the groups which have invested in us.

Most of all, our sports activities groups show the one factor all of us learn about our San Diego spirit: By no means rely us out.

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