Close your eyes for a second and imagine Petco Park filled with sports fans cheering their football team to victory.
That’s right, we might see college football games at the San Diego Padres home ballpark in the near future. A Padres team representative confirmed to NBC7 Monday afternoon that the club is in exploratory talks with the Holiday Bowl to play at least one game at Petco Park.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, the Padres are working with architects on stadium seating solutions to accommodate college football fans at their home venue.
The Padres lease agreement with the city of San Diego currently does not allow football to be played at Petco Park, partly because of safety concerns with the field layout.
This is not the first time the team has considered trying to amend that agreement.
Back in 2012, the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) explored the idea of playing prep football championship games at Petco Park but ultimately that plan fell through.
The main reason that disintegrated was because one of the end zones would have been only a few feet from the outfield wall and there was a fear of increased injury risks.
It’s unknown how many extra seats would need to be added to host a potential pigskin showdown, but with the Chargers moving to Los Angeles, there is a unique opportunity to step to the forefront as a host venue for NCAA football.
San Diego State University has played home football games at Qualcomm Stadium since 1967 and the school’s agreement to play at the Q runs through 2018.
The Holiday Bowl has also called Qualcomm Stadium its home since 1978 and the Poinsettia Bowl welcomes teams to America’s Finest City every year since 2005. Both Bowls and the Aztecs will need a place to draw fans – even if there is no NFL franchise in San Diego.
Petco Park could wind up serving as a temporary site while a long-term solution is finalized. The Padres ballpark likely would help bridge a gap to a future stadium.
But with the future of the Chargers former home and the surrounding land in Mission Valley still uncertain, the race is on to find stadium solutions. Monday, a group of local investors announced they would like to bring a Major League Soccer team to San Diego.
Check back for updates on this developing story.