Those in the Padres organization hope that the partnership with Chivas and the exhibition match between the two professional soccer clubs will allow it to capitalize on the recent excitement surrounding the 2010 FIFA World Cup and utilize its ballpark to provide a different type of event for a community that already has a diverse culture and strong soccer fan base.
"We're proud to bring a world class soccer event here to PETCO Park," Padres president and chief operating officer Tom Garfinkel said. "When PETCO Park was built, there was a vision of creating an asset for the city of San Diego for all the citizens to enjoy. While baseball is unquestionably our first priority, we want to take advantage of using this asset for people in San Diego."
This will be the second time PETCO Park has hosted an international soccer match, as Sweden and Mexico squared off in 2005 before a crowd of more than 30,000. Garfinkel said he hopes this event will draw a similar number.
Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein, who played on the U.S. World Cup team and is a Southern California native, said the partnership between the two sports will help expose baseball fans to soccer, and vice versa.
"The stadium's probably going to feel different, and hopefully we turn some of those baseball fans into soccer fans," Bornstein said. "But also, [we hope to turn] the soccer fans into baseball fans, and after experiencing a soccer game here, they'll want to experience a baseball game. It'll work both ways."
Chivas de Guadalajara is statistically the most successful club in Mexico's history, capturing 11 league championships. Chivas USA, which was founded in 2004 and is based in Carson, Calif., has earned four consecutive playoff appearances.
This year's ChivaClásico will be the second match between the two clubs, with Chivas de Guadalajara coming away with a 2-0 victory in 2009 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Tickets for the event will go on sale to the general public on Saturday at 10 a.m. PT and can be purchased at padres.com/chivas, at the PETCO Park box office, by phone at (619) 795-5555 or at the Padres Store in Tijuana.
Gina Mizell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less