It was the home of the San Diego State Aztecs football team from San Diego State University from 1967 until 2019. One college football bowl game, the Holiday Bowl, was held in the stadium every December. It was briefly also the home of the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football in early 2019. The stadium was the longtime home of two professional franchises: the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League (NFL) and the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Chargers played at the stadium from 1967 through the 2016 season, after which they moved to Los Angeles to become the Los Angeles Chargers. The Padres played home games at the stadium from their founding in 1969 through the 2003 season, when they moved to Petco Park in downtown San Diego. The stadium was also home to a second college bowl game, the Poinsettia Bowl, from 2005 until its discontinuation following the 2016 edition.
The stadium hosted three Super Bowls: Super Bowl XXII in 1988, Super Bowl XXXII in 1998, and Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. It also hosted the 1978 and 1992 Major League Baseball All-Star Games, as well as games of the 1996 and 1998 National League Division Series, the 1984 and 1998 National League Championship Series, and the 1984 and 1998 World Series. It was the only stadium ever to host both the Super Bowl and the World Series in the same year (1998), and it was one of three stadiums to host the World Series, the MLB All-Star Game, and the Super Bowl, along with the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.
The stadium was located immediately northwest of the interchange of Interstates 8 and 15. The neighborhood surrounding the stadium is known as Mission Valley, in reference to the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, which is located to the east, and its placement in the valley of the San Diego River. The stadium was served by the Stadium station of the San Diego Trolley.