Chargers Stadium, Affordable or Not

Filner: “Taxpayers should not and will not be asked to subsidize this project.”
  • Filner: “Taxpayers should not and will not be asked to subsidize this project.”

San Diego can hardly afford to plop $750 million or more into a subsidized football stadium for the Chargers. But increasingly, even opponents fear it may be inevitable. Former councilmember Bruce Henderson, a longtime battler against the pro sports scam, reluctantly concedes, “The only thing that will keep the people of San Diego from being skinned again is that the team really wants [to move to] Los Angeles. If the team wants to stay in San Diego, we are going to get skinned.”

The reason is that pro sports/political corruption is more deeply inculcated in the San Diego culture than any other hushed-up turpitude, including the underground circulation of laundered drug money and the hotel industry’s symbiotic relationship with hookers. Self-appointed civic boosters, who make sure that money is steered downtown instead of to run-down neighborhoods and rotting infrastructure, are at the root of this corruption, along with lavishly kept politicians and mainstream media.

Unfortunately, both Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner are flirting with the idea of a sports and entertainment district that would be used all year. Watch your wallet. DeMaio is looking at a public-private partnership, an arrangement that historically in San Diego has lined private pockets while picking taxpayer pockets.

Bob Filner can see a synergy between an expanded convention center and a stadium. But, vows Filner, “Taxpayers should not and will not be asked to subsidize this project.”

Filner approves of the state’s dismantling of Centre City Development Corporation, the group that makes sure money pours downtown. Filner wants to set up a neighborhood investment corporation that would thwart the money-hogging by downtown interests.

Is it any wonder that in June DeMaio raised more than three times as much money as Filner did? San Diego’s big money intends to buy this election for a candidate that will do its bidding.

DeMaio favors a public vote on the stadium issue. But proponents will outspend opponents 100 to 1.

DeMaio favors a public vote on the stadium issue. But proponents will outspend opponents 100 to 1.

Despite the bags of money at his disposal, DeMaio is behind in the polls. He favors a citizen vote on the stadium subsidy, but opponents will be outspent at least 100 to 1. Filner, if he wins, will face pressure from labor unions for a subsidized project. No matter which candidate wins, the stadium deal will be covertly wrapped up in an indecipherable package that will conceal costs. The contract will be “written so nobody can understand it, and it will be written that way on purpose,” says former councilmember Donna Frye, who has also fought the sports subsidy/downtown mendicants.

“When people step forward to challenge [the taxpayer fleecing], the character assassination will begin. That will keep others from speaking out,” says Frye, who has been the victim of the downtown boosters’ slanders. (In fact, she had a mayoral election stolen from her, so fearful were the downtown fixers that she would drop arsenic in their gravy train.)

The mainstream media guard the overlords’ gravy train. Voice of San Diego has been biting at Filner. U-T San Diego, of course, is boosting DeMaio and attacking Filner. At least the U-T’s bias is not concealed. As soon as owner “Papa Doug” Manchester and his lieutenant John Lynch took over, “They laid out the role of the paper and exactly what they were going to do. They said they will be cheerleaders for the Chargers,” notes Frye.

The cast of “Pro Stadium Follies,” the longest-running show in town

The cast of “Pro Stadium Follies,” the longest-running show in town

“I personally believe that if we vote for DeMaio, we get Manchester as mayor,” says Norma Damashek, former president of the League of Women Voters. And that means San Diego will get a stadium, whether or not it’s affordable.

Former city attorney Mike Aguirre says a stadium “is not a sure thing. Financially, I don’t see how it can be done.” A subsidized stadium can’t be justified on economics, business sense, social priorities, equity — “only on selfishness. And people are recognizing selfishness is not the way to proceed.”

But, historically, greed and political dishonesty have won out. In the 2000 mayoral race, Dick Murphy denounced the 1995 stadium deal with the Chargers. The City had foolishly guaranteed the team revenue equivalent to 60,000 seats per game. The team was making more money not selling tickets than selling them and was not doing marketing.

Murphy threatened to sue the Chargers. It appeared he was the candidate who would be tough on pro sports subsidies. Eventually, the City owed the team $36 million for those unsold seats. Voters were outraged. But when the Chargers said they would end the guarantee, Murphy, by then mayor, gave them a deal that would cost more than $90 million over 20 years and grant them a three-month window every year in which they could break their lease and skip town.

Similarly, in the 2004 election, Murphy chided challenger Ron Roberts for being too cozy with the Padres, their owner John Moores, and developers and labor unions that might get rich from the new ballpark. But after the Padres shut down construction of promised ancillary buildings, Murphy came up with a plan that deviated from the one voters had approved in 1998. The City would raid hotel-tax revenues earmarked for civic and cultural projects. Under Murphy’s watch, the Padres got away with numerous stunts that departed from initial promises.

Murphy ran in 2000 and 2004 as the candidate with moderate, sensible views on sports subsidies, but he changed course completely once in office. “Murphy was a nobody. That’s why [the establishment] put him there,” says Damashek.

And then, among many crooked things, there were the gifts — including highly remunerative stock tips — that Moores showered on Councilmember Valerie Stallings, who was providing him information. He got off completely and she got a light wrist slap. Moores described his generosity as “simple human kindness.” The establishment, choking back tears, marveled at his magnanimity. So did law enforcement, the judiciary, political leadership, and the mainstream media. ■

Comments

Hurry up and get this thing built already! State of the art, retractable roof, the whole nine. Let's go! This is a great thing for SD. Break ground now!

Gee, you sound just like the cheerleaders at the U-T, Centre City Development Corp., and other downtown boosters who are hogging all the money downtown and applauding further neglect of infrastructure and neighborhoods. Hooray for you! Best, Don Bauder

SanDiegoTaxPayer--I really hope that is sarcasm.

I certainly think SanDiegoTaxPayer's comment was sarcasm. Best, Don Bauder

If a new stadium would be so fantastic, why don't the Chargers just build one? Why do they need my money when I don't care a fig about organized sports? Why can't San Diego sports lovers all donate to a stadium project and leave the rest of us alone?

Are you kidding? Chargers pay for a stadium? This is a family worth more than $1 billion dollars. It is in better financial shape than the City or the County. And you want those poor dears to put their own capital up? In fact, when the Chargers say they will put in $200 million or so, you have to subtract naming rights, advertising revenues, etc. The Spanos family would actually put in very little. Best, Don Bauder

Will their "handlers" let them get away with this ?

Their handlers are kept. That's how they got their jobs. No one will tell the downtown boosters or citizens that there is no money for this giveaway. Best, Don Bauder

Once again I advocate a separation of State and Sport. Let the teams solicit donations from individuals and corporation, and pay their own way. No pubilc money for private enterprises!

Agree 100%. But it won't happen. Pro teams routinely get taxpayers to pay for two-thirds of their stadiums. Politicians and media deliberately misinform the citizenry. It is a scam. Best, Don Bauder

“Filner wants to set up a neighborhood investment corporation…” Okay, so what is a neighborhood investment corporation? I did a brief online search. Evidently, Washington, D.C. has one, which is funded with property tax. And there was one in Michigan that went broke. Is Filner’s neighborhood investment corporation different from Jerry Sanders’ Civic San Diego?

Is Filner’s an infrastructure financing district? There are multiple bills coming out of the Legislature to make it easier for cities to establish infrastructure financing districts. Even Ben Hueso authored one.

Mainly, these bills would allow cities to establish one of these without a public vote. Their funding source would be some version of tax increment financing. And they would have eminent domain powers to fight something as vague as climate change. Would the Chargers’ new stadium have a retractable roof covered in native plants and solar panels?

The Chargers could even get a new stadium via redevelopment. The Successor Agency (the City Council) is intent on putting every payment—valid or not—on the enforceable obligation payment schedule for the former Redevelopment Agency. The Oversight Board rubberstamps these payments as they come up for review, and the state Department of Finance seems like they would like to wash their hands of the whole thing. Would Filner, if elected Mayor, put an end to this abuse?

These are excellent questions for Bob Filner, Brian. What are the details of the neighborhood investment corporation? You're correct, Brian, when you note that the council is intent on putting every payment, valid or not, on the enforceable obligation payment schedule. I have written about this in a column in which you were quoted. The Oversight Board is rubber-stamping these payments. You could tell that was going to happen just by looking at who was appointed to that board. This is one reason I am pessimistic about this downtown stadium scam. The corrupt downtown forces shove such things down the citizenry's throat. The citizenry doesn't get adequate information because of media complicity. Best, Don Bauder

Excellent points, Brian. What are the details of the neighborhood investment corporation? Is it just another scam in disguise? Filner should explain it. And you are correct: the city council is putting every payment, valid or not, on the enforceable obligation payment schedule. The Oversight Board is rubber stamping these dubious payments. But you knew that would happen just by looking at who was appointed to the Oversight Board. Best, Don Bauder

I'm thinking many of the signers of the amazing sycophant-fest "Thank You John Moores" full page ad in the 9/2 U-T may be on the Chargers stadium cheerleading squad as well.

Yes, that ad was sent to me. It is disgusting, and full of untruths. Best, Don Bauder

For perspective, let's not forget the huge securities fraud at Peregrine Systems, Inc., when John Moores was chairman. Several Peregrine executives received prison time and/or fines. Moores apparently got a pass. Wikipedia states: "...John Moores, sold more than $800 million of shares during Peregrine's fraudulent period, the court of appeals determined that there was insufficient evidence that Moores knew about the fraud that led to the company’s bankruptcy." So was Moores innocent at Peregrine or just very clever?

I have covered that case in detail. My Reader columns on it should be in the Reader archives. Of course Moores knew what was going on. When there were criminal cases against other Peregrine executives, the judges wouldn't let defense attorneys discuss Moores, who dumped far more stock during the fraud period than the executives who went to prison. Best, Don Bauder

The only possible explanations are

  1. Moores was aware of what was going on, in which case he was a crook.
  2. Moores was not aware of what was going on, in which case he was a phenomenally incompentent CEO.

I think #1 is by far the more likely explanation.

Try a #3: Top officials in Washington D.C. told local law enforcement, and judges, to lay off Moores, who was definitely aware of what was going on. The Peregrine board ended up paying a $55 million settlement; I assume Moores paid the bulk of it, but it was a drop in the bucket for him. Best, Don Bauder

The one thing that doesn't make sense - when Spanos rehired AJ & Norv it seemed like part of a grand plan to move up to L.A. Why would Spanos give those guys yet another chance? One more year with AJ & Norv will complete the fall from NFL elite to mediocrity. Then, they can move up to L.A., blow out the whole mgmt, coaching crew, and start fresh with a whole new group in L.A.

I don't see them moving to L.A.. AEG wants a piece of the action, and Spanos wants all the pieces for himself and his family. He does not want to sell any part of the club.

Definitely, AEG's desire for a part ownership of the team could be a snag in the downtown L.A. deal. Best, Don Bauder

The most likely scenario for LA is a shared stadium like the Jets / Giants in NJ. That wont cost any ownership giveaway.

The Rams are going through arbitration on their stadium lease and the requirement is that their venue be "top tier" which means it must be in the top quartile of NFL stadiums. That's expected to cost $500 million to $700 million in renovations, arbitrators decide and Stl can meet the arbitration decision (expected to be completed by the end of the year) or say screw it and let the Rams out of their lease. The Rams would then be free to leave and the Chargers will follow them to LA.

I don't know that the rehiring of those guys was a step in the way out of town to L.A. You may well be right. Of course, L.A. is having troubles getting either of the proposed stadiums off the drawing boards. Best, Don Bauder

LA was once the land where anything was possible. Yet for the longest time it has been unable to get an NFL team into any sort of stadium that is "NFL Quality". With all of the obscenely rich wacka-doo's in LA, there should have been one who would have been willing to pay for such a stadium, or so I'd think, by now. Puzzling!

The Big Bucks guy in the proposed downtown project is Anschutz, who is from Denver. Best, Don Bauder

NFL owners don't pay for their own stadiums. Why spend your own money when you can just fleece ignorant taxpayers/fans.

A late night TV host (I can't remember who) once made a joke about how LA will never get another team because it's more valuable to the NFL to have the perpetual threat of "we can always move to LA" hanging over the head of every NFL city. Maybe it's not such a joke.

Oh I found the quote, from Jimmy Kimmel speaking to Magic Johnson.

Jimmy Kimmel replied, "I think the NFL likes to keep Los Angeles vacant because then they can play blackmail with the other teams and tell them, 'Oh, if you don't give us a stadium we're going to move the team to L.A.'"

Isn't Mayor Sanders and his minions, er, task force, supposed to announce a financing plan for the new stadium before he leaves office? Just wondering how that is coming along...

According to a story in the U-T, there are now questions about part of the land the Chargers expected taxpayers to put a stadium on. Without that piece of land, the current proposed location would never work. Best, Don Bauder

The Chargers and Mayor Sanders have stated that the City's buy-in for a new downtown NFL Stadium involved giving Qualcomm Stadium and the Sports Arena public land assets to Spanos for private development. Thankfully our City Charter requires a public vote before the City sells public lands greater than 80 acres in size.

http://www.tinyurl.com/20120507c

Linked above is our financing plan which includes a public vote to increase our TOT by 5 percent for a 15.5 percent maximum Tax Rate for overnight Hotel guests.

Linked below is the Video of Wednesday morning, June 13, 2012 City Council Rules Committee Hearing.

http://tinyurl.com/20120613a

Please see Video: Start time 2 Minutes to Video End Time 5 Minutes. . Start time 36 Minutes to Video End Time 40 Minutes. . Start time 1 Hour and 42 Minutes to Video End Time 1 Hour and 54 Minutes.

What kind of private development would pay off now? The condos and hotels in the ballpark district are doing poorly. Downtown condos are still in trouble. Mission Valley has more than enough shopping centers. Build what? Best, Don Bauder

Hopefully the voters aren't fooled by the Spanoses once again. Demaio will work a backroom deal if elected, just like Susan Golding.

Sadly I have very little faith in the intelligence of San Diegan voters so our only hope of avoiding bankruptcy is for the Chargers to move to LA. We know from the Padres deal and the Qualcomm expansion that costs will be understated and revenue estimates will be vastly inflated.

Just vote no on any stadium "deal" because it's clear the taxpayers will get screwed.

Agreed: the taxpayers will get taken to the cleaners. If a public vote is the only roadblock to stopping this massive subsidy to a billionaire family, watch out: mendicants will outspend opponents by more than 100 to 1. Best, Don Bauder

I've been saying for years that the whole scam involved the fabulous real estate of the present Stadium location. Thanks for spotting this. There are real problems developing there, toxic waste and such, as well as the restrictions mentioned, but Spanos already proposed an absurd huge development on the site. The present Stadium is the perfect place for football, some think it's a great place for condos also.

Whatever you do, keep voting Republican or Democrat! It doesn't matter that they both want, and vote for, the same things... you can feel really smug that "your guy" won, or really fired up that he lost. And next election, you can vote for more of the same again, and keep blaming the other guy when you get it! Under no circumstance should you vote for a third party... why, that would be throwing your vote away!

Unfortunately, your observation smacks of verisimilitude. Best, Don Bauder

Whenever you see addictive or dysfunctional behavior within a family you look for enablers. The enablers in all this are the sports fans, legions of them locally, who would see the streets unpaved, the schools closed, the sewers backing up, and no water coming from the faucet, rather than do without their beloved Bolts or Pads. They are the ones who would write letters to the editor of the late, not-so-great, Union-Tribune and plead that the local leadership just do "whatever it takes" to keep their sports franchises here. Ironically, many of them seldom, if ever, actually go to a game. They can't afford the tickets, the parking, or the fuel, let alone the food and drink once there. But the fact that the team is local and that their favorite local TV face- and mouthpiece can make them feel good on the evening news, and that there's plenty of that trash to talk about with the guys at work, is enough. Sports for them is life. Without the sports their lives lose all color and go to grayscale. The politicians are terrified of what those fans would do to them, absent their teams. And their fear is likely well-founded. Messing with those franchises is the "third rail" of local politics, or at least the politicians think so, and in addition to all that money flowing in local elections there is a real grassroots support for the likes of Moores and Spanos. Sad, but that's how it works.

Visduh, I envy your ability to articulate the truth. Right on. Twenty percent of people are rabid fans. That's enough to swing any election. That's why politicians almost always cave to the pro sports shakedown artists. This happens even in the cerebrally-oriented metro areas such as New York (the Yankees deal was a complete scam) and Minneapolis/St. Paul. San Francisco has put up good fights in the past, but now it appears that brainy Silicon Valley will pull the rug out from under it. In California, pro sports teams have been stealing money from schools. I had hoped Brown's elimination of redevelopment agencies would curb that, but now it looks like it will continue on as usual. Best, Don Bauder

You envy my ability? Wow. I envy you more, far more. Since we don't agree on everything I was never sure. Thanks.

The National Football League is thrilled that it steals money from schools. The NFL instructs owners how to fleece taxpayers -- thus, in California, filching financial support that should go to education. Best, Don Bauder

It is sad Visduh but unfortunately you are 100% correct.

The Chargers moving to LA might be our only hope.

It's possible that San Diegans might get more TV access to Chargers games if the team were actually in LA. That depends on a lot of variables, however. Best, Don Bauder

there's an idea. Institute a "team tax" of something like 30% of the gross on professional sports teams, and that will encourage them to leave. Of course, earmark the tax for a special fund to be used only for non-pro sports for the children. Let Pro teams fund the school sports programs, after all who skims the cream?

Tax the teams? Goodness, we and other cities have been giving them massive subsidies. Of course, their financial operations are deliberately kept quiet. Best, Don Bauder

This was addressed by Roger Goodell quite some time ago. Charger games are blacked out in LA unless they are sold out, as the Chargers' home opener is. Since Los Angeles is the secondary market of the Chargers, broadcasts fall under the same rules here as they do in S.D. in terms of sellouts/blackouts. If the Chargers move to L.A., San Diego becomes the secondary market and the roles would just be flip-flopped. S.D. would become the secondary market and the games would not be shown unless they are sold out in L.A..

I think the two entities wanting to build stadiums in the LA environs are expecting regular sellouts -- particularly in the luxury boxes. However, the last two teams there, the Rams and Raiders, didn't get constant sellouts. Best, Don Bauder

I thought the Raiders played in the LA Memorial Coliseum??? They don't have luxury boxes. Plus it is 30% larger than your average football Coliseum.

Yes, the Raiders played in the Coliseum. True, it is large. As far as I know, there are no luxury boxes. The Rams played in more than one location -- Orange County was one. I don't know whether there were luxury boxes in any of those facilities. Generally, the Rams and Raiders played in L.A. before the scam of taxpayers paying for luxury boxes burgeoned. Best, Don Bauder

Georgia Frontierre took the team to St. Louis precisely because the taxpayers WOULDN'T pay for a new stadium

Yes, that was Frontiere's stated reason for moving Rams to St. Louis. It was also the reason Art Modell gave for moving the Browns to Baltimore. Best, Don Bauder

Don--of course they didn't have regular sell-outs. They each needed a new stadium--that would have solved all of their problems (allegedly).

I'm anti stadium and want the Chargers to move to LA but come on it's silly to ignore the fact that the Coliseum's 95,000 seat capacity didn't negatively impact sellouts.

Farmers field is looking at a capacity of 72,000. At least try to have an honest discussion.

The Coliseum's capacity for football at the time the Raiders played there was just over 92,000 and it had no impact on whether or not the Raiders were able to sell out. During the entire time the Raiders played in the Coliseum, attendance exceeded 70k something like 12-15 times for regular season games. If memory serves me correctly, a game against the Chargers was the first to break 70k in attendance. In a 72k stadium, the would have sold out about 8 times. Most seasons, their attendance averaged between 50-60 K; they wouldn't have even sold out playing in the Murph for about 85% of their games. Hell, the Raiders play in a stadium that has only a 63k capacity and I don't think that they have averaged 60k for a season since they went back to Oakland. The reason that the Raiders couldn't sellout the Coliseum wasn't because it was so big, it was because not enough people cared about the Raiders enough to bother going to a game.

Maybe LA, despite the huge size of the market, doesn't have enough people interested in pro football. I do think that if one team relocates to a new stadium, there could be regular sellouts. Some are talking about two teams for the LA market. I would question that. There are too many other things to do in LA, and people are absorbed in USC and UCLA. Best, Don Bauder

"Maybe LA, despite the huge size of the market, doesn't have enough people interested in pro football. I do think that if one team relocates to a new stadium, there could be regular sellouts." Aren't you contradicting yourself? First you say that maybe not enough of the L.A. population is interested in pro football and your very next thought is that if a single team moves to L.A. there could be regular sellout. It's either one or the other. I disagree that LA can't support 2 teams, but it depends on how the teams fare. LA WON'T support a losing team for very long. The Rams and the Raiders left because they couldn't get new stadiums. In a new stadium, that's a non issue. Then attendance began to fall when the product on the filed stopped producing, which, in the eyes of many, was a calculated move by both Al Davis and Georgia Frontierre. Having lived here my entire life, I can tell you that people are not as "absorbed" in USC and UCLA football as you think they are. In L.A., it's completely different than college football, and athletics in general, than in San Diego. But it's just one segment of the population that is hardcore about the schools. Most people have a preference of one or the other, for varied reasons, but in the second largest metro area in the country, when you combine attendance of both teams, only about 1% of the population attends the games. When the Rams and Raiders were both playing, there was virtually no decrease in attendance and remember that the Rams had already been playing, first in the Coliseum and then in Anaheim, since 1946. Pro Football could draw for 2 teams back then and I am of the opinion that 2 teams can draw now. But I could be wrong because remember, I've not lived here long, only close to 62 yrs.

What I meant to articulate, and maybe I didn't, is that LA, while a very large market, may not be large enough for two pro teams, as some have suggested, partly because fans are obsessed with USC and UCLA. But one team should have regular sellouts in either of the two stadiums on the drawing boards now. Not two teams, though. Best, Don Bauder

I was primarily talking about the Rams before they moved to Anaheim. They had a ton of games over 60K (avg stadium size back then) that didn't meet the 93,000 sellout requirement.

The primary reason for low ticket sales during the Raiders tenure is that the Coliseum is in the ghetto and families wouldn't deal with the location or raiders fans.

BTW, the sellout requirement has changed but the Spanoses would rather screw San Diego than give up a tiny amount of revenue.

The neighborhood in which the Coliseum is located is definitely a factor. The NFL does not want the Coliseum. Best, Don Bauder

I'm not sure of the relevance pre 1973 attendance, when you consider that the NFL only instituted the sellout/blackout rule in 1973. Prior to that, all NFL games were blacked-out in each team's home city and that includes the playoffs and the Super Bowl, regardless of attendance. BTW,because of a bleacher reconfiguration, the last 3 or 4 years the Rams were there, capacity was just over 71k, not 93k. I disagree to an extent about the Raisers, as I have said in other comments. While the neighborhood does have some affect on some, it hasn't stopped USC from having large crowds for as long as I can remember. Many USC-UCLA games wee sellouts as well as USC-Notre Dame games, back when ND was a powerhouse. I believe that USC's most recent game vs Hawaii had a capacity crowd, for a nationally televised game. As an Angelino, I still maintain that the biggest reason for low attendance at Raider games was the team. Just my opinion. Opinions vary.

It's disingenuous to ignore the coliseum's size effect on sellouts even during the reconfigure era. Capacity at San Diego stadium was 50K during that time and the Chargers never sold out until the end of the decade. The Rams would have sold out regularly.

On the Raider issue, you're ignoring they had to compete with the real home team's fan base. The Raiders just aren't applicable to any discussion on the viability of support for the NFL in LA because of a laundry list of problems. But it's obvious they would have done fine in a 61,000 seat venue like San Diego stadium during that period. Look at their average annual attendance.

I mentioned the change in blackout rules because it's not required anymore to sellout a game to lift a blackout.

Exactly how is it that I am being disingenuous. My above comment was directed towards your claim that you were referring to the Rams before they moved to Anaheim. That was in 1980. From 1946 until the beginning of the 1973 season, attendance simply didn't matter. The Rams could have dawn 100K per game and they still would not have had their games televised in their home market. Period. From 1973 thru 1980, the Rams would have sold out many games had they been in a smaller stadium, but they weren't. And that's the biggest reason that Carol Rosenbloom announced plans to move the Rams to Anaheim Stadium, which his widow Georgia did after his death. I have no idea what you mean by the Raider's having to compete with "the real home team's fan base." If you're talking about the Rams, well I think fans people from OC eroded the LA fan base of the Rams, so I don't think that had a perceivable effect on the Raiders' attendance. And as for having done fine in a 61K stadium, perhaps you are the one who needs to review the attendance for those years, though I guess it depends on your definition of "fine". During the 13 yrs the Raiders were in LA, they failed to draw 61K in over 60% of their games, actually almost 70%. To me that's far from "fine". I am aware of the blackout rule changes which were made earlier this summer and their lack of affect on the San Diego games. Let me close my participation with this. The Chargers and their possible move to L.A. are a conundrum. Phil Anschutz is steadfast in his requirement to own, at minimum, a majority interest in any team that moves to his stadium. At this time, it appears as if the Spanos clan is not interested in divesting itself of the team, although on various occasions, I have read reports of a willingness to do just that. Who knows and Who cares. Personally, I would not want the Chargers here as a Spanos owned team. I want a team with an owner that will spend money to try and win, which a Spanos won't. I say to the Chargers, stay put, I don't want you here.

Hell, the Raiders play in a stadium that has only a 63k capacity and I don't think that they have averaged 60k for a season since they went back to Oakland.

You may not believe this, but I was a die hard Raider fan growing up in Oakland, and surrounding cities, and before they moved to LA in 1983 they had sold out every game for decades.............Al Davis ruined the Raiders, Football and pro sports as he was the one who pioneered the stadium blackmail scam. Now every pro team in every sport plays the "we'll move" card if you don't give away the farm to them, and their nut huggers will claim you must give them everything they want or you will never be a "first class city"................Hahahahahh. right.

Of course the Coliseum's enormous capacity inhibited sellouts. Best, Don Bauder

During the latter part of the Raiders tenure in the Coliseum, the NFL granted the Raiders permission to place black tarps over seats that were seldom sold. This reduced the official capacity, in terms NFL black out rules, to about 65,000. And much of the time, the Raiders STILL couldn't sell enough tickets to beat the blackout rule. As I said, the reason that the Raiders couldn't sellout the Coliseum on a regular basis wasn't because it was so big, it was because not enough people cared about the Raiders enough to bother going to a game.

As we have said, LA wasn't then, and probably isn't now, ready for two NFL teams. Best, Don Bauder

Stadiums and ballparks are built smaller these days. If Farmers holds 72,000 (and I believe that is correct), there should be regular sellouts. Best, Don Bauder

The subsidized stadium/ballpark scam works this way: the team owner promises he/she won't raise prices if the taxpayers will just provide the team a new stadium. The owner promises to spend money to put a good team on the field. The taxpayers cough up, the stadium/ballpark is built, and prices zoom, despite the earlier promises. There is a novelty effect; attendance is high the first 4 or 5 years. So profits gush. But the owner is not likely to spend the money to provide a good team. The owner pockets the proceeds. Sound familiar? Best, Don Bauder

Don, Bauder, you live in Colorado. Do you think that applies to the Denver Broncos and their stadium?

The Rockies and Broncos completely scammed Colorado taxpayers. Best, Don Bauder

Your initial comment wasn't confined to the taxpayers participation. You also said the owner would promise to and likely not spend the money to provide a good team and that attendance would be high the first 4 or 5 years, the "novelty effect" is what you called it. So how has that worked out for Denver? How has attendance been since the Broncos moved from Mile High to their new stadium? Well, excluding a couple of games with replacement players during the 1987 strike season, the Broncos have sold out every home game since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. I don't know the exact number, but including playoffs it's in the neighborhood of 300 consecutive sellouts. Viewed from another perspective, you were still living in Cleveland when the Broncos last time Denver DIDN'T sell out a home game. So much for the "novelty effect". How about the quality of the teams? I believe the Broncos have only had about 10 losing seasons since the merger and since they moved into the new stadium they have won or tied for the division title or finished 2nd in 8 of 11 seasons, so they must be putting some pretty good players on the field. And certainly the signing of Peyton Manning shows a willingness to spend the money to provide a good team. My understanding is that Pat Bowlen agreed to fund 25% of the cost and the rest came from the taxpayers of the six-county area around Denver through a penny-per-$10 sales tax on retail goods, which was approved by taxpayers in 1998. So, the taxpayers in and around Denver voted on and approved the tax needed for the public portion of the financing and Pat Bowlen kicked in his $100 miliion or so. The team continues to play good football and with the addition of Peyton Manning, the expectations are high for at least the next 3 years. And the fans apparently approve because they continue to sell out their games, also meaning the ticket prices must not have been raised too much to keep them from showing up. So exactly how is it that the Broncos "completely scammed" the Colorado taxpayers?

The measure of whether taxpayers are completely scammed is NOT, NOT whether the team wins. It's whether the taxpayers break even. And the two stadiums in Denver have not stimulated development significantly, if at all. The Broncos are an exception to the novelty effect. There are enough rabid fans to fill the stadium every game, and probably would have been even if a new stadium had not been built. But in most locations, the novelty wears off. The Rockies novelty wore off, for example. Best, Don Bauder

"The measure of whether taxpayers are completely scammed is NOT, NOT whether the team wins. It's whether the taxpayers break even." I agree with you 100%. However, your comment from Sept. 16, 2012 @ 8:47 a.m. didn't make reference to taxpayer participation. You were very specific on how "the subsidized stadium/ballpark scam works" Under those criterion you you gave, Broncos did not completely scam Colorado taxpayers. As for "stimulating" development, I really don't believe that the new stadium was intended to "stimulate" development. The new stadium was built basically right next door to the old one, I believe on land that was used for parking for Mile High, If you've never been there, it's close to downtown, the convention center and the Pepsi Center. I agree that the Broncos are an exception, but that is not relevant. My question was simply by the terms you specified for the "subsidized stadium/ballpark scam", did they apply to the Broncos and their new stadium. And by those terms, they didn't. As for the taxpayers breaking even, well if you'd like, I'm sure you can research the 1999 bond issue for the stadium. And I don't think anyone, anywhere, gives a crap about the Rockies. They were a bad idea in the beginning and they remain one now. Though they continue to out draw the Padres

A new stadium is extremely profitable for the beggar teams in the first few years. As the novelty wears off, it becomes less profitable. But still it is VERY profitable, precisely because the teams haven't put up any significant capital, thanks to naming rights, advertising income, etc. Best, Don Bauder

So true, Visduh. There are far too many people who consider a local pro team their identity. It's just about all they have in life. And the teams can get them out to vote. Best, Don Bauder

Here's the way the system works--you hang a scapegoat or two, and the crowd gets on with their water-skiing and dune-buggying. Those frogs will not jump out of the gradually-heating hot tub, and will take a little screwing at a time.

"It's easier to find a million suckers with a buck than one sucker with a million." --Anonymous

You don't know your pocket has been picked until you reach for your wallet. Best, Don Bauder

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It sounds to me like a subsidized stadium is much more likely under DeMaio than Filner. DeMaio is playing up to the downtown boosters. Filner, too, seems to be wobbling on this, but if he gets elected, he will owe nothing to the corporate welfare crowd, which is backing DeMaio. Best, Don Bauder

One saving grace could be that if the county has to get on board with part of the subsidy and it takes a countywide vote to approve, some of the saner folks in the outlying cities, and especially No County, will shoot it down. On the whole the cities and unincorporated areas to the north and east of the city of SD tend to be tax averse, are more critical and involved with their local municipal government, and just more aware. Furthermore, to ask them to help build a stadium fifty or more miles away, and one with lousy parking, it not something that will be an easy sell.

I hope you are right on that, Visduh. However, my guess is that a lot of the Chargers attendees are from North County. They can afford the prices. Many in South County can't. Best, Don Bauder

So what happens now, since AEG is allegedly for sale? What happens with their stadium plans in LA? What happens to the San Diego Sports Arena, which AEG operates?

Well, the badly-named "Farmers Field" can still be built. But it will more likely be used for conventions where they show off new tractors, cow barns, fertilizer-spreaders, egg-processing equipment and automated potato-diggers! As for Valley View Casino Center, wouldn't long-term contracts just keep things as is?

Some bright young garage geeks will soon come up with virtual football, and we will have to use the stadia for dog shows--uh, oh, those will go "virtual" too. How virtuous!

Chargers will be in LA soon enough.....I predict just in time for the lights to go off in San Diego. And The Man wins again. Oh well.

All the sound and fury signifies nothing. Without concerted ACTION, it's a done deal!

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