The first time I ever went to San Diego I had to find Qualcomm Stadium. The Padres were still playing there at the time, but, unfortunately, it was the off-season. That was over 15 years ago. So, when I recently found myself in San Diego again, I decided it was time to see how the stadium was doing and how it looked several years later. After all, I was in San Diego and the Padres were out of town. I had to find something baseball-related to do.
Now called San Diego County Credit Union Stadium, or SDCCU Stadium for short, the stadium is still alive and well. Like other stadiums from its time, SDCCU Stadium is easily accessible from major highways. It is bordered by interstate highways on three sides (I-805, I-8, and I-15) and surrounded by a huge parking lot. It even has its own San Diego Trolley stop. The road bordering it to the north is still called Friars Road, an obvious reference to the former tenants. It’s located about 10 miles north of the Padres’ new downtown home, Petco Park.
The stadium opened in August 1967 as San Diego Stadium. It was home to the San Diego Chargers. The following year, the Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres played their final season there before giving way to San Diego’s MLB expansion team in 1969.
In 1981, the stadium’s name was changed to San Diego-Jack Murphy Stadium after Jack Murphy’s death in 1980. (Murphy was a local sportswriter who had advocated for the construction of a multi-purpose stadium in San Diego in the early 1960s.) In 1997, naming rights to the stadium were sold for $18 million to the local Qualcomm Corporation and the stadium was renamed Qualcomm Stadium. The naming rights expired on June 14, 2017, and were subsequently purchased by San Diego County Credit Union for $500,000. They hold the rights through the end of this year.
The stadium remains the home of the San Diego State University Aztecs football team; they have played there since it opened in 1967. Starting next year, it will once again host professional football when the Alliance of American Football begins play in February 2019.
It makes me happy to see a stadium continue to be used after its baseball team moves to a newer stadium. Indeed, very few multi-purpose stadiums remain and even fewer host MLB teams. As much as brand new, fancy stadiums are nice to watch a game in, I still miss stadiums like Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium or Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. I only wish I’d seen a game at the former Qualcomm Stadium.
May you continue to live a long and happy life, SDCCU Stadium (or whatever your next name is)!