SBD/Issue 167/Facilities & Venues

Qualcomm Stadium Audit Shows San Diego Is Losing $12M A Year

Audit Shows City Of San Diego Losing
More Than $12M Annually On Qualcomm Stadium
A recent audit of Qualcomm Stadium "not only showed that the city is losing more than $12[M] a year on its operations but pointed to deeper red ink ahead if the Chargers bolt after the 2010 season," according to Ronald Powell of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. If the Chargers leave after the '10 season, the city "would be left with debt of more than $27[M] for stadium renovations made in 1998, no professional football team and an aging facility." The report by the San Diego Auditor's Office was released this month and is "scheduled to be heard by the city's Audit Committee on June 1, at which recommendations -- including creation of a business plan for the stadium -- will be discussed." San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and other officials have been "content to watch the Chargers focus on getting a new stadium in Chula Vista for the past 18 months." Although progress "there is stalled," the Chargers said that they "remain interested." If the team moves to another location, the city "would be able to take control of the 166-acre Mission Valley property and possibly make millions by selling it, leasing it or developing it." As part of its exit agreement with the city, the Chargers "must pay off all remaining debt from the 1998 renovations if the team leaves after this season or next season." That amount is currently $56.2M. After the '10 season, the team "could leave by paying $25.8[M], and the city would be responsible for the remaining $27.1[M]." Audit Committee Chair Kevin Faulconer said talks on the stadium's future should "begin now rather than a couple of years from now." Powell notes to operate Qualcomm Stadium, the city has "spent millions more than what the 42-year-old facility generates in revenue." City officials said that the city has been "trying to attract more revenue-generating events to the stadium -- from concerts, to Supercross to tractor pulls -- but those efforts have lagged in the hard-hit economy" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/18).

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