An option: Chargers stay, Qualcomm gets facelift

Spanos family possibly can't afford Inglewood

It's time to talk sense about the Chargers. San Diego, with a massive infrastructure deficit, a need for bolstering police and fire protection, and voters wising up to the billionaire stadium scam, can't afford and may not get a taxpayer-financed stadium. Financially, the Spanos family may not be able to come up with the money for Inglewood that Rams owner Stan Kroenke might demand, even if, as rumors hint, the National Football League will be in on the Spanos/Kroenke negotiations to be sure the former can afford what the latter is asking.

Actually, San Diego is not a particularly good pro football market. Yes, it is the 17th largest metro area in the nation. But it will lose part of its football market when when a new team or teams occupy Los Angeles. San Diego is only the 28th largest media market. The weather is perfect, so there are lots of things to do rather than watching a football game in a stadium or on TV. Through the decades, the Chargers have not attracted large crowds, compared with teams in some smaller markets. San Diego does not have enough super-wealthy plutocrats to fill luxury boxes or sell personal seat licenses. San Diego's median income levels, adjusted for inflation, do not permit the team to raise ticket prices much.

Neither the Spanos family nor the National Football League wants to chew their nails to see if voters would approve a taxpayer-financed stadium.

One of the big falsehoods of this debate is that Qualcomm Stadium is dilapidated. Compared with football stadiums of the largest universities, and two Major League Baseball ballparks, Qualcomm is relatively young at age 48. Another falsehood is that the team will improve if there is a new stadium. Dallas has the fanciest stadium of all and the team is lousy. John Moores promised the Padres would have a top team if they only got a new ballpark; look what happened. Pro football's draft and salary caps inhibit any team from monopolizing the best players.

Yes, Qualcomm needs a facelift. And there is an avenue for that to get done. The Chargers' contract is up in 2020. The team should get a much more generous naming rights deal than it got (on an emergency basis) from Qualcomm. There is no reason that naming rights should go strictly to a team. They should also go to the home city. So, part of the naming rights, plus part of advertising rights and parking fees, could go toward giving Qualcomm a facelift. The strain on the city's budget could be minimal. The Chargers are making a bundle at Qualcomm now and will continue to do so.

If San Diego builds a $1.1 billion stadium, it will be compared unfavorably with Kroenke's posh $2.6 billion (the latest estimate) stadium just up the road in L.A. So, if the Chargers can't make a deal with Kroenke, even with the NFL's help, the team should go back to a bit prettier Qualcomm Stadium and forget a taxpayer-financed stadium the city (and/or county) cannot afford.

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To turn the Q into primarily a football stadium will take much, much more than the $80 million previously proposed by those who feel a remodel is all that is necessary.

aardvark The Q was turned into a primarily football stadium back in the mid-1990s. That was the whole idea of the conversion that permitted the Padres to get a new ballpark at taxpayer expense. Best, Don Bauder

Don--I disagree. Basically all the city did was add seats and skyboxes. They didn't solve the problem of what should be the best seats in the stadium--club level seats and suites that are just too far from the field. Doing that would involve massive amounts of demolition and reconstruction that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. A good example (or really bad example, depending on your thoughts) was what Chicago did to Soldier Field. They essentially built a new stadium within the shell of the old Soldier Field for over $600 million 13 years ago. Arrowhead Stadium in KC was remodeled starting in 2007 for $375 million--and it was already a stadium mainly built for football.

aardvark: I have sat in a number of seats at Qualcomm and only one was inadequate. (It was low in the end zone and we couldn't see the scoreboard with replays or the other half of the field.) Otherwise, I thought all the seats were good.

This is the bottom line: the stadium will be used ten times a year (slightly more if the team makes the playoffs) for three hours or so for pro football, a few days a year for SDSU, and some evenings for tractor pulls and the like. From the standpoint of societal priorities, is it worth spending $375 million or $600 million to rehab a stadium when there are so many other important priorities, such as infrastructure, and fire and police protection? Is it that important that football fans have perfect views?

University stadiums are 60, 80, sometimes more than 100 years old (Mississippi and Mississippi State are a century old.) Maintenance has been kept up and luxury boxes for rich alums added. There is no reason on earth why San Diego should think it has to spend $375 milion because Kansas City did, or $600 million because Chicago did. (Think of all the social problems in Chicago. Was the Soldier Field rehab really worth it?)

San Diego should lead the way among American cities by having priorities in order. Best, Don Bauder

You're a real mensch, Mr. Bauder. A model for our youth on what a real man is. Even though a "fan," you are responsible enough to face up to the realities.

Flapper: Yes, I confess I watch football games on TV (but only the pro team in my home area, plus my college alma mater's games). So I am a hypocrite. But when I go to a game, I don't expect to have perfect sightlines.

A much greater love is opera, and I have been to many more operas than football games. But my wife and I don't insist on perfect seats. We take what we can get and love it. Best, Don Bauder

Don--The only thing I disagreed with you on was that the Q had already been turned into a football stadium, and that remodeling the facility would have been foolish. I am not, nor have I ever, been a proponent of a remodel of the Q. Nor am I a proponent of a massive taxpayer subsidy to build a new stadium. Again, I was just saying that the Q is not primarily a football stadium.

aardvark: OK. We can agree to disagree. I thought the rehab of what is now the Q in the mid-1990s was to make it a football-only stadium. Best, Don Bauder

Don--One more thing then I will stop. It obviously wasn't a football only stadium--since through the 2003 season, the Padres still played there. The field never changed, and the seats never changed. The only thing that happened was the number of seats increased along with the number of boxes.

aardvark: Yes, but the citizenry voted for a new, highly-subsidized baseball stadium in 1998. The Padres were only playing at the Q until the new ballpark would be completed -- rather like the Rams playing in the Coliseum until the Inglewood stadium is built. Best, Don Bauder

Don--And that's my point. They could continue there as the facility could still host baseball as well as football--exactly as designed. In spite of the fact that seats were added to what was originally the open end--to completely enclose the bowl--nothing else changed.

aardvark: Two points: 1.The 1990s rehab of what's now Qualcomm was INTENDED to make it football-only. 2, Your argument is that the rehab didn't make it so. Best, Don Bauder

Don: Again, it was intended to add seats and boxes to make it more advantageous for the Chargers (larger crowds) and the NFL (Super Bowls). Nothing changed in relation to the field itself. The field is the same to this day. It is still just as easy to play baseball there as the day it was built.

aardvark: I think we have exhausted this topic. Also, I don't think it is important to the subject at hand, which is what will happen to the Chargers. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder I’ll just add my 2 cents worth to this and then let the subject of the Chargers fade away.

It was in 1984 when the stadium was expanded to nearly 61,000 seats and 50 suites were added at cost of $9.1 million, raising capacity to 61,000 for football. In 1997, the seating in the stadium was expanded again, adding 10,500 seats, 34 suites, 4 Club Lounges, upgraded food service and two video boards. The total cost was $78 million, which also included a new practice facility for the Chargers. I believe the money came from a bond issuance, which hasn’t been paid off yet. After the 1997 renovation, Qualcomm agreed to pay the city $18 million to complete the expansion project, in return the name change to Qualcomm Stadium, a deal which expires in 2017. I don’t recall work on the stadium ever being referred to as anything but an expansion, and never a conversion. I can recall reading the city council minutes many years ago and it was always called an expansion. In fact, the city fiscal budget report refers to Qualcomm as an outdoor multi-purpose stadium. I am sure that you will continue to refer to it as a football only stadium. But in this case, the evidence clearly shows that not to be the case.

danfogel: I generally pay little attention to what politicians label a facility or a phenomenon. They may have called it an expansion. It was necessary to call it that because the upcoming Padres deal had not been announced.

But the pols knew that the Padres expected to be moving out and attempting to get taxpayers to pay for a new ballpark. At the time, though, the politicians were not saying the Padres planned to move. The insiders -- the movers and shakers who planned the scam -- knew full well. Best, Don Bauder

San Diego should consider selling the land to potential buyers. Then San Diego would be able to receive that money for infrastructure needs. With the yearly property tax along with sales and tourism tax that the stadium would bring from all of the events that would be scheduled, San Diego would have a better financial outlook and less overhead, if the money is used correctly. Thats what Kroenke did and the citizens or the city of L.A or Inglewood doesn't have to pay.

unomero: Inglewood was not going to pay in the first place. Throughout the L.A. area, happily, there is an aversion to government subsidies for sports facilities. (Don't be surprised, however, if some of the costs get shifted to government surreptitiously.)

Selling the Qualcomm land is a possibility, but there are problems. The land is owned both by the city and by the water department. Some say the plume under the stadium is fixed, others say it is still an obstacle. There is a lot of opposition to further real estate development of Mission Valley.

I agree that if the land and stadium are sold, the proceeds should be applied to infrastructure improvement -- absolutely not to a downtown stadium/convention center expansion, which would be a white elephant. Best, Don Bauder

In any case the plume should be mitigated and the leaks stopped. Better yet, the fuel tanks should be relocated. Mission "Valley" is a misnomer. It is a RIVER that has been encroached upon by development that should never have been built.

Kinder Morgan is never going to move their terminal and relocate/reroute the pipelines. Especially to accommodate a sports stadium or other development. To move that facility would cost in the several billions of dollars and the cleanup would take decades.

Ponzi: That is probably correct, and especially now, when Kinder Morgan and other pipeline companies are hurting. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: Yes, the development of Mission Valley was flubbed from the very beginning. Best, Don Bauder

The "plume" has contaminated the water table, and will continue to do so until the leaks are fixed and the site is mitigated by cleaning it up. It should not take a lawsuit to do that, just an EPA investigation and daily fines until it is cleaned up. If not, by the time it reaches the Robiinson's basement pumps and blows the place up, the lawsuits should finish off Kinder Morgan, with major change left over.

And the government can be sued for willful neglect. "We has met the enemy, and he is US!" --Pogo

Flapper: You seem to be suggesting that San Diego could become another Fllint, Michigan. Best, Don Bauder

It all depends upon the nature of the plume. How much in the way of carcinogens such as benzene, what kind of petroleum products and how much, how long it's been there, exactly where is it and where is it going how fast or slow, how deeply and how near the surface. If it is not an approved injection well, it's illegal.

Much of the San Diego River's water flows beneath the surface of the "flood plain" (river bottom). I do not have these data, and I do not know if any wells are tapped into the water table--but someday we might want to do it. Then we could light pretty flames at our kitschen faucets.

Flapper: I was just kidding when I suggested San Diego may be another Flint, Michigan. Best, Don Bauder

That's an accurate description of the flood plain surrounding the San Diego River in Mission Valley.

Yes, it is a "flood plain." But it is primarily a braided river channel which raises and lowers. Its channelization has created a public health and safety problem by confining it to an overly-narrow channel to create real estate by artificially filling building sites. In addition to so-called "flood" hazards, it is a disaster waiting for the next earthquake. You will see "incredible" liquifaction and carnage. If the dam breaks, the whole mess will be washed out to sea, and perhaps we will then learn our lesson. But I'm not holding my breath. We've got bigger things to worry about from other damnedfool was of making a killing--e. g. The San Onofre waste "facility."

Flapper: The San Onofre waste facility is a disgrace -- and San Diego and Orange County should worry about it. A catastrophe there would dwarf a catastrophe in Mission Valley. Best, Don Bauder

Correction: ". . . damnedfool ways . . ."

monaghan: Yes, it is an accurate description. Will there be El Nino related problems this year in Mission Valley? Best, Don Bauder

If a rain like 1916's comes along, the different state of the watershed (higher Q) because of all the pavement, roofs, landscaping, brush removal and the like will cause us to believe that the dam has broken even if it hasn't.

Flapper: I will have to read about the 1916 disaster. Best, Don Bauder

Ken Sullivan: Tell my wife that. She laments that I cannot pound a nail in straight. Best, Don Bauder

Greg Kohut: Yes, adjusted for cost of living would have been a better way to describe it. Best, Don Bauder

Another argument for taxpayer funding of a stadium being promoted now is that a new stadium would be for many things other than football.

I admit I didn't do an extensive study, but I decided to look up the schedule for AT&T Stadium ("Jerry World") in Dallas. This stadium is considered by many to be the best stadium in the NFL - so if there's any stadium that hosts a lot of events I would figure that would be a good example.

Basically from what I could tell from the 2015 calendar, AT&T Stadium hosts Cowboys games, a few college football games, and a few concerts. And yes, as Don suggested earlier, tractor pulls. That's about it.

No rodeos? I would have figured they would have rodeos. Maybe they can have gun shows and chili cook-offs. That'll bring the big bucks in.

Great idea. Except a turkey shoot would be better.

Flapper: How about motorcycle races? Best, Don Bauder

Not as much fun or as potentially popular as shootin' all the turkeys in town.

Flapper: Especially when there are so many turkeys in town. Best, Don Bauder

Ponzi: How about professional rasslin' matches? Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill: When the city massively subsidized Petco, and did the same for Moores's projects in the ballpark district, an argument was that Petco would host other events. But the record is pretty slim.

Another argument that is false: the facility will host Super Bowls, NCAA basketball tournament games, etc. ad nauseam. Yeah, it will host them once every decade and a half. Best, Don Bauder

Scott Graham: If in fact the NFL is monitoring the Kroenke/Spanos negotiations to make sure the outcome is fair to the Chargers, you may get your wish: the Chargers will depart -- hastily. Best, Don Bauder

David Crossley: It is a football stadium to be sure, but some folks want to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the sight lines. This is insanity. San Diego has many more pressing matters to spend money upon. Best, Don Bauder

aardvark: Good. Let the mayor's office know your opposition to a subsidized stadium. Best, Don Bauder

Fred Jacobsen. The city should leg the Chargers know immediately that in the 2020 contract, they won't get all the ridiculous breaks they get now at Qualcomm. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: This is not an encyclopedia service. The big factor is extremely low rent. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: Facetious hyperbole is used regularly on this blog. Best, Don Bauder

Corinna Jordan: Disagree vehemently. Any sum spent on subsidizing a billionaire's stadium is money that is not available for infrastructure, police, fire -- legitimate functions of government. Best, Don Bauder

Billy Wild: Maybe it takes a commoner -- a non-billionaire -- to speak common sense. Best, Don Bauder

Yeah, but the folks with common sense don't pay any attention to spectator sports and other childish fantasies (no insult to real children intended). They do REAL "sports," like climbing mountains and surfing--even on election day.

Yeah, DUDE--whatever . . .

Flapper: I have always said birdwatching is a very tough sport. These people walk through briars and along mountain ridges, while the sissy football fans sit on a couch and munch potato chips. Best, Don Bauder

Now ballet dancing--THAT'S athleticism!

Flapper: Ballet requires great coordination. It can also be exhausting. Best, Don Bauder

Corinna Jordan: Spanos can't use the $550 million relocation fee he might have to pay to get to L.A. and apply it to building a San Diego stadium. That $550 million is not real money; it is an estimate of what he might have to pay to get to L.A. If he doesn't get to L.A., that imaginary money disappears.

Personally, I do not think the Spanos family has $550 million to get to L.A. unless the family only has to pay it over 20 or 30 years. The family is worth $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion. The sum of $550 million, paid now, takes one-third of the family's net worth. It would have to be paid over a long period of time from the hoped-for proceeds from operating in a market ripe for personal seat license sales, luxury boxes, and other revenue-producing items that are not available -- or barely available -- in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

Carl Zarkos: No team is going to get a Super Bowl ever seven years. The NFL is handing out Super Bowls to every city that builds a new stadum, and there is a big line of them.

The fact that San Diego is the eighth largest city means absolutely nothing. The only relevant population measure is market size. San Diego is the nation's 17th largest market and only 28th largest media market. Best, Don Bauder

David Crossley: It is utterly revolting and ethically repugnant that pro football teams have to have a new stadium every 25 years or so. Those stadiums should last close to a century, with proper maintenance and expansion if necessary. College stadiums last that long. Best, Don Bauder

Don: Agree with you, but the Chargers would argue the current stadium has not been maintained properly. Then again, nothing has been stopping the Chargers from contributing to the maintenance of the facility they call home. I'm sure the city would accept all the help the Chargers would have wanted to give them in that regard. Of course, we know how much the Chargers have contributed to that. By the way, just so you know who you are responding to, I am posting under my real name (David Crossley) above in the Facebook comments.

aardvark: Yes, something has kept the Chargers from contributing to the stadium: greed.

I know the identities of very few of our posters. Now I know yours. Best, Don Bauder

Dennis St. Onge: If Kroenke says the Chargers have to pay a $550 million relocation fee, as he did, then the Chargers will never get to L.A. unless payment of the fee is stretched out over 20 or 30 years.

There is a question if the Spanos family can afford L.A. There is no question that San Diego can NOT afford to subsidize a stadium for a billionaire. The only thing that makes sense is for the Chargers to continue playing at Qualcomm, which would be given a modest facelift, partly with city and partly with Chargers funds. Best, Don Bauder

Honestly given the last deal offered by Mayor Falconer and the task force - assuming that the election passes in June to give the Chargers about $350M corporate welfare - then it would seem to me staying in SD might be a better business option for Spanos.

Stay in SD option:

$100M consolation prize gift from NFL + $350M gift from taxpayers = $450M directly into Spanos coffers Almost complete control over stadium. No 1 team in a small to medium media market with a large loyal local fanbase Financing challenges that don't sound insurmountable (to me at least)

Move to LA option:

$550M relocation fee = $550M from Spanos coffers No 2 NFL team in a stadium to an owner that he hates. Maybe No 7 or 8 sports team in LA - but in a huge media market. Zero local fanbase. Definite financing questions.

It would seem to me that to even consider LA Spanos would have to be extremely confident that an unpopular team in LA is still worth more than $1B ($550M + $450M + $100M) more than a popular team in SD.

I was earlier claiming that the move to LA might boost the value by $1.5B. If that's true than the hypothetical $1.5B increase in value might be enough to cover the relocation fee - SD taxpayer handouts - NFL handout. But others who are wiser and more knowledgeable than me tend to think my estimate is quite high so maybe the increase in value doesn't justify the expenses of moving to LA.

At any rate, it doesn't seem to me like it would be a no-brainer for them to move.

ImJustABill: Suppose the value of the Chargers rises by $1.5 billon when the team moves to L.A. But that is not liquid money. It is asset value, and it is hypothetical. One could borrow against that asset value, but not pay a bill with it.

The Spanos family has been pursuing L.A. since 1995. I would think it has done its homework. It must believe it would be better off financially in L.A. But Kroenke is holding the cards on that decision. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder I believe the NFL constitution and bylaws place severe restrictions on borrowing against the value of the team. I don't believe that actually using the team itself, or a portion of it, as collateral to be forfeited in the event of a default, is permitted. I would imagine that all of those particulars have already been sussed out. The Spanos is meeting with Kreonke tomorrow in Los Angeles tomorrow, so the Chargers move may already be fait accompli, with only the details left to be worked out. My own guess is that if they have someplace to play in Los Angeles next year, San Diego has seen the last of the Chargers.

MLB should have had severe restrictions against borrowing against the team before Frank McCourt bought the Dodgers.

ImJustABill: MLB does things differently than the NFL. Best, Don Bauder

MLB mandates that each club retain a 60:40 ratio of assets to liabilities at the close of its fiscal year. That was McCourts downfall and is why the Dodgers were going to be taken away from him.

danfogel: Who puts a valuation on the assets? Appraisers? Investment bankers? The league? Best, Don Bauder

danfogel: I agree that the most likely outcome is the Chargers going to L.A., probably announcing it soon. (Some say this week.)

Two rumors -- and they are rumors -- bolster the argument for that conclusion. 1. It has been said, supposedly authoritatively, that the league won't let Kroenke sell naming rights, club seats, personal seat licenses and sponsorships until 2017 unless he brings another team in. (The Chargers have first dibs for a year.) 2. There is the rumor that the league will be at the table for the Spanos/Kroenke negotiations, supposedly making sure that the deal will not harm the Spanos family financially.

If both those rumors are true, then the league definitely wants the Chargers to go to L.A. And if those rumors are true, the Spanos family can afford to do so.

Yes, the NFL has rules on borrowing against a team's value. To my knowledge, the league doesn't ban borrowing, but tightly restricts it. I may be wrong on that. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder, What I have read is that Kroenke can't do anything about those thing until it's been decided whether or not another team is moving in. The reason is obvious. The negotiations between the Rams and any other team will be on how much revenue another team would be entitled to from suites, psl's, general ticket sales, naming rights and whatever other stadium-related products are available as either as a partner or a tenant.. But once that has been decided, or both the Raiders and Chargers decline the option to move, the Kroenke is free to move ahead, whether that is next week or 2 years from now. And I have heard multiple sources report that more than one team owners has told them that the league will be involved with the negotiations.

danfogel: What you have heard bolsters the credibility of those two rumors. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder Well, not quite. If both the Chargers and the Raiders both decline to move to Los Angeles, at that point Kroenke is free to proceed. Also, if first the Chargers and then the Raiders use the entire 12 months allotted to them to make their decisions, Kroenke would have to wait as well.

danfogel: So, despite the presence of the league at the bargaining table, Kroenke could demand such high payments that neither the Chargers nor Raiders could afford L.A., and Kroenke could go it alone -- possibly what he wanted all along? He would lose two years, but that may not be a problem? Best, Don Bauder

don bauder I am not quite sure where your thought is coming from. Perhaps my comment above was a little convoluted. Let me try again. In relation to rumor no. 1, what I have read is that the resolution that the owners agreed to by the 30-2 vote barred the Rams from selling personal seat licenses, suites or naming rights until February 2017 unless another NFL team joins them before then or both teams decline to accept the offer, in which case the Rams would be able to proceed.

danfogel: Your statement is consistent with my statement right above it. Best, Don Bauder

imjustabill The relocation fee doesn't go to Kroenke, it goes to the league:

" The transfer fee will compensate other member clubs of the League for the loss of the opportunity appropriated by the relocating club and/or the enhancement (if any) in the value of the franchise resulting from the move"

There is also no guarantee that the Chargers, or the Raider for that matter, would pay the same relocation fee as the Rams.

My understanding is that any team relocating to LA must pay $550M to the NFL. I thought that had been decided on - maybe not an iron-clad guarantee but the number has been reported many places and I don't think there's much dispute about it. I'm sure Mr. Kroenke (and the other owners for that matter) wouldn't be happy if the Chargers or Raiders moved to LA and they had to pay less than the $550M that he is paying.

Is the $550M number still up for re-negotiation?

ImJustABill: A relocation fee of $550 million, unless paid over a number of years, would knock both the Spanos and Davis families out of L.A. The NFL does not want that. Best, Don Bauder

imjustabill The amount of the relocation fee is decided by the other league owners. I am sure that the fee has already decided upon. However, the league has a formula they use and two of the items they consider are the increase in revenue streams in the new location and the relative increase in valuation of the team in the new location as opposed to the old location. While both revenue and team valuation undoubtedly will increase for whichever team, if any, ends up in Los Angeles, the increase would be substantially less if a team relocates as a tenant as opposed to an equity partner. Logic would seem to dictate that the relocation fee would therefore also be smaller.

danfogel: If in fact the league wants to see the Chargers in Los Angeles, and it appears it does, the relocation fee is likely to be lower than Kroenke paid. I think it could be waived. Best, Don Bauder

danfogel: The relocation fee is split up among the owners. I hope I didn't say or imply that the relocation fee goes to one owner. And I agree that the relocation fee paid by the Chargers or Raiders doesn't have to be the $550 million that Kroenke is paying. I don't think that either the Spanos or Davis families could pay $550 million unless it was spread out over two or three decades. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder Yes, the relocation fee is split among the owners, as I noted above earlier today. Considering that Kreonke was give the option on how to pay the relocation fee, it stands to reason the Rams and/or Raiders would be given the same option. The Chargers were give framework of the agreement to move to Inglewood Monday night.

danfogel: The league splits the relocation fee among the owners. Best, Don Bauder

All the noise is now that the Chargers are going to announce their move to L.A. this week. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweeted this earlier today "Chargers announcement on their imminent move to LA likely coming early next week. Process unlikely to take much longer at this point"

Ponzi: A decision next week is certainly possible. Best, Don Bauder

Tony Cash: The Chargers were a second division team this season -- last in the AFC West with a 4-12 record, if memory serves me right. And we might be able to say goodbye to the team fairly early, like next week. On the other hand, we may not. Best, Don Bauder

Edward J. Zell: Yes. The piece by Nocera is excellent. Best, Don Bauder

Jeff Madruga: You make excellent points. There is such a thing as ego. And standing in the community. The Chargers have deliberately alienated San Diego. Dean Spanos and Mark Fabiani are despised in many circles. Spanos may not want to stay for reasons that are not entirely economic. Best, Don Bauder

renovate the Q, and add more seats that won't be filled, it that the plan?

Murphyjunk: My guess would be that the number of seats would not go up, as long as there are enough to meet Super Bowl requirements. Then again, the league has said it won't give San Diego another Super Bowl unless there is a new stadium, so maybe a Qualcomm rehab won't bring the big game. Best, Don Bauder

Carl Zarkos: Yes, if San Diego built a new stadium, the city would get a Super Bowl. What I have been trying to say, perhaps awkwardly, is that there is a long line of cities with relatively new stadiums wanting a Super Bowl. Best, Don Bauder

Many in SF are now questioning how much value this years' SB will really add to the Bay Area vs how much taxpayers have spent.


As we've discussed here many times, most objective economic analyses show that taxpayer "investment" in football stadia do not yield a positive ROI and the economic value of a SB to a city is much less than NFL P.R. would lead one to believe.

ImJustABill: There is a consensus among economists that subsidizing a stadium is an extremely poor investment. Yet when politicking for a handout, sports team owners almost always claim that the subsidized stadium will boost the local economy. And voters buy the falsehood. Best, Don Bauder

Bill Holt: The Spanos family cannot afford Inglewood, unless the league pressures Kroenke to give the Spanoses a break. That appears to be happening. If Kroenke gives Chargers ownership a break in Inglewood, then the Chargers will get much less of the profits. That is as it should be.

The City of San Diego and/or the County cannot afford to put one nickel into a football stadium that should be financed with private capital. That's how L.A. does it.

If the Chargers and league want to finance a stadium -- and, say, sell bonds to rabid fans -- that would be fine. Those of us opposing a taxpayer subsidization of billionaire football team owners have no objection to a new stadium as long as no public money is involved. Best, Don Bauder

Here's a good story about the NFL by LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik: "The NFL in L.A.: Inside the long con" http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-the-nfl-in-l-a-inside-the-long-con-20160115-column.html

Ponzi: Yes, that is an interesting piece. Best, Don Bauder

RAMS, CHARGERS WON'T TALK ABOUT FUTURE MEETINGS. The Rams and the Chargers met today (January 18) to discuss the possibility that the latter will occupy the Inglewood stadium that the former's owner, Stan Kroenke, has National Football League (NFL) approval to build.

I asked Mark Fabiani, Chargers mouthpiece, if he would send me a statement. He sent one that I presume went to other media. The word: "We have concluded our first meeting. We mutually agreed not to publicly discuss details of this or any future meeting."

So the teams' word is "Shhhh." This faintly increases the chances that San Diegans' reaction will be "Shhhhh*t." That's because there will be future meetings, so the teams may have ridden over a couple of humps and jumped through a few hoops today, insignificant as they might have been.

Public opinion is still split. Some think Kroenke has the Chargers by the short hairs, and could ask for more money than the Spanos family can afford, even though the NFL supposedly is in on the negotiations to make sure that the Chargers get a fair shake. Others think this has been a charade all along. The deal may have been done months ago and the billionaire owners and NFL are just dancing about, conning the media and public. Best, Don Bauder

Yet another option: The Chargers go someplace. ANYplace, and the Charger Girls come and stay at MY place.

Rocket_j_Squirrel: I read someplace that the NFL cheerleaders are not paid. Assuming that is also true with the Chargers Girls, you cannot expect them to pay rent. Maybe they can reimburse you in another way. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder Last summer, Brown into affect a law that cheerleaders must be classified as employees, ensuring that cheerleaders in California will get paid at least minimum wage.

danfogel: Thanks for the clarification. Brown's move last summer apparently got past me. But if they only make minimum wage, can they pay the rent Rocket_J_Squirrel deserves in turning his house over to them? Best, Don Bauder

The Chargers Girls pay rent? NOT in my place! Here they can stay as long as they want as long as they lay around looking and smelling pretty. Here, it's RJS, me, who gets to give them backrubs (and frontrubs), comb their hair, pat their cats, etc. They live rent-free and I'm happy as their landlord/servant. We all win!

Rocket_J_Squirrel: You will have to ask your cheerleader tenants whether they consider your rent-free hospitality so wonderful. Best, Don Bauder

Scott Graham I: There are a number of things wrong with a downtown stadium. The most important is that a combined stadium/convention center expansion is ridiculous. Convention attendees don't want to walk several blocks to go to another building.

San Diego should be spending any money it has on infrastructure. Repairing the inside of the current center would qualify under such an initiative, and is important. But an expansion is fatuous, given national overbuilding of centers. Best, Don Bauder

Scott Graham II: Agree: stadium, schmadium unless it is completely privately financed. Best, Don Bauder

"Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants Chargers to stay put"

"The mayor of Los Angeles won't be advocating for the addition of a second NFL team.

Instead, Eric Garcetti says he would like to see the Chargers stay in San Diego. .... Garcetti said his advice to other mayors is, 'Don't be so desperate for a sports franchise and don't put your city in debt for decades.' "


ImJustABill: Garcetti's advice to other mayors is sound. Subsidizing a pro sports team is a bad investment. Every objective economist who has studied this agrees on that. Best, Don Bauder

Goaway Chargers/Howard Kahn: Your campaign is an excellent idea. The Spanos family cannot afford L.A. and San Diego can't afford to subsidize a stadium for the team. One good solution is for the Chargers to continue playing at Qualcomm, which could get a minor, inexpensive facelift financed jointly by the team and the city and county.

If the Chargers want a deal the Spanos family can afford, they should go to St. Louis. This city already has an indoor stadium only 20 years old and, foolishly, it was willing to subsidize a stadium to keep the Rams from leaving. The market is almost as large as San Diego although, like San Diego, there are not sufficient numbers of super-affluent people or companies that would buy personal seat licenses, luxury boxes, etc. Best, Don Bauder

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