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San Diego officials hear that the public pays for more than half of football stadiums

As the Chargers continue to shift from a new stadium plan with no public financing to a project entailing some, a stadium finance expert told the powers-that-be in San Diego that, based on stadiums in other cities, “some” means “more than half.”

According to Matthew T. Hall of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Mitchell Ziets studied eleven construction and renovation projects, and he concluded that 54 percent of the funding came from public sources.

So, in other words, taxpayers would have to pony up $400 million of the $700 to $800 million that the teams estimated will be needed to build a new stadium in downtown San Diego.

Still, a recent trend has developed toward private money, especially since the recent economic struggles have hit public bodies hard.

The Chargers have decided to stay up at Qualcomm Stadium for 2010; an exit would have cost $53 million.  In two years, they can leave for a payment of only $26 million.

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20 Responses to “San Diego officials hear that the public pays for more than half of football stadiums”
  1. Michael LaRocca says: Jan 28, 2010 7:20 AM

    I’m building a stadium for half the price I claim it’ll cost. Think I can get the taxpayers to cover my real price?

  2. mike_311 says: Jan 28, 2010 7:24 AM

    i never understood, why these teams need public money to build a stadium so they can make more money.

  3. NoKoolaidCowboy says: Jan 28, 2010 7:32 AM

    Whatever you do, don’t accept any decorating tips from Jerry Jones.
    DJs, dancers, 3D glasses…phfttt!!!

  4. BeerBarron says: Jan 28, 2010 7:40 AM

    Once again.. taxpayers funding the price to make some already wealthy businessman… more wealthy..

  5. bluelion says: Jan 28, 2010 7:54 AM

    Perhaps the CBA negotiations should include a ‘public’ option.

  6. Biglardawg says: Jan 28, 2010 8:12 AM

    Go ahead and draw a line in the sand like Cleveland did w/ Art Modell in the mid 90′s and see what happens.
    It is a sham that these rich owners want public money to finance new stadiums so they can make even more money.
    But the reality is that there are competitive markets (ie: Baltimore, LA, etc.) that will provide the public money if the current city does not, and the owners know it.
    Complain all you want, but as long as there are whores like Baltimore willing to steal a team…there will be rich owners looking to extort money from their current cities/markets.

  7. TFBuckFutter says: Jan 28, 2010 8:31 AM

    However big they are planning to make that stadium, they should shrink it by 10%.
    Then they won’t be in a perpertual state of blackout threats.
    Also, if they could shrink the home side of the playing field by 25%, maybe they could win a playoff game.

  8. rodstiffington says: Jan 28, 2010 8:32 AM

    I never understood why the tax paying public needs to pay for a private stadium. I mean, teams already get tax breaks and besides 10 days out of the year the place stands empty. Oh well, great usage of tax money I guess?

  9. StevenM says: Jan 28, 2010 9:04 AM

    Tax payers should NEVER spend a dime for these stadiums!

  10. DallasRavens says: Jan 28, 2010 9:45 AM

    “Complain all you want, but as long as there are whores like Baltimore willing to steal a team…there will be rich owners looking to extort money from their current cities/markets. ”
    Biglardawg – Get over it…. Baltimore has made this franchise better than Cleveland ever could…

  11. Beauregard says: Jan 28, 2010 9:45 AM

    Pay up or say goodbye.
    Isn’t San Diego having problems selling seats anyway?
    The Chargers would be a great fit for a brand new franchise in Las Vegas.

  12. R8R_BOB says: Jan 28, 2010 10:03 AM

    The biggest con game out there is for an owner tell a community that it is in their best interest to invest tax dollars to build a new home for their team and at the same time charge sky-high prices for season tickets and here is the kicker, charge a arm and a leg for a sham PSL. I read a poster’s comments on this board attempting to justify shelling out 400 bucks a year to the Jets for 15 years just to have the right to pay for season tickets. Imagine if the utility companies charged you a fee for the right to use their gas, their electricity and their water and then billed you for using it. People would scream bloody murder.

  13. whodeyben says: Jan 28, 2010 10:04 AM

    Or you can go to Cincinnati and have the public fund 100% of the project! (And then conveniently give those same public officials jobs after the fact.)

  14. Allied Biscuit says: Jan 28, 2010 10:24 AM

    i’m sure a bunch of morons will somehow blame this on the Vikings.

  15. karmathaitch says: Jan 28, 2010 11:08 AM

    Beaugarurd…..
    Chargers have had like 40 straight home sell-outs. Are stadium sucks, and the powers that be suck.
    If San Diego wants to get at of any hold, it takes money to make money, and a new stadium downtown next to Petco Park is the key.
    Who here wouldn’t want to go to San Diego for there Super Bowl instead of Detroit..???

  16. SpartaChris says: Jan 28, 2010 11:30 AM

    Some of you need to go back and take business 101. Why would you pay for something out of pocket when you can instead get someone else to pick up the tab for you?
    You claim it’s a waste of tax dollars, which may be true, but where’s the outrage over all of the other wastes of tax dollars? At least an NFL stadium has some realized benefit to the community. Not so for many of the programs our tax dollars are currently being wasted on.

  17. Patsfan1776 says: Jan 28, 2010 1:02 PM

    Unfortunately politicians are corrupt and the ones that aren’t corrupt are bad at math. Stadiums do not generate more revenue or benefit than they cost. Say the govt kicks in $500 million to build a stadium that holds 100,000 fans. If the govt puts a $10 fee on each ticket and the stadium sells out every event the take is $1million per event. So you only need 500 sellouts to get the money back (forget about interest and inflation). So the NFL plays less than 10 home games per season so you will get your money back in 50 years but of course the lifespan of a stadium is probably 20 years. And remember that is with a $10 fee on every ticket. So to realize benefit, you would need to get another $15 per ticket. You could get that if you have a 15% tax on food, beer, and shirts and hope that every attendee buys $100 worth of stuff each event. And 15% is crazy tax. The math don’t work.
    Just ask Bob Kraft. He has a strip mall, hotel, and health center in the parking lot of the stadium he built and he got Massachusetts to pay for all of the road work around it.

  18. edgy1957 says: Jan 28, 2010 1:32 PM

    Patsfan1776, are you under the mistaken impression that these stadium only open up for the football season and close up after (Of course, the old Texas Stadium not only had the Cowboys but they also hosted high school playoffs and other events)? Jerry Jones not only had the Cowboys at the stadium but also BYU vs Oklahoma and many other NON-SPORTS related events. His portion of the stadium was paid by the outrageous PSL obligations that most of the ticket holders had imposed on them and all the money that stadium generates is basically profit (The public portion of more than $325 million IS NOT subject to any kind of interest). Many of the other owners with new stadiums are getting money from similar present and future events. I invite you to actually look up the stadiums AND their other uses because you’d be quite surprised at how much revenue they DO generate. I’d also invite you to look up how the “private” financing actually was achieved. For example, the new stadium for New York is being financed “privately” through PSL (and as a surprise, the Jets are actually charging more for their PSL).
    BTW, some of the non-NFL/Sports events held in Cowboys Stadium since its opening (From Wikipedia):
    * June 20, 2009: The Jonas Brothers began their World Tour 2009 at the stadium.
    * July 19, 2009: The first point is scored at Cowboys Stadium. A goal was scored by Costa Rica in the Gold Cup Quarterfinal game versus Guadeloupe at the 2nd minute by Celso Borges.
    * August 19, 2009: Paul McCartney’s concert was the first official stadium event after the city of Arlington declared the stadium open.
    * September 5, 2009: The Brigham Young University Cougars and Oklahoma Sooners played the first college football game in the new stadium, with the Cougars upsetting the Sooners, 14-13, in front of 75,437 spectators.
    * October 3, 2009: Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones watched his alma-mater the Arkansas Razorbacks defeat the Texas A&M Aggies 47-19 in the first of ten games to be played at the stadium called the Southwest Classic.
    * October 12, 2009: U2 brought the 360° Tour to Cowboy’s Stadium. To make room for the large claw shaped stage, the video board was raised 25 feet and was not used during the concert.
    * November 12, 2009: The first Texas high school football playoff game played at Cowboys Stadium was between Arlington Bowie and Richland High School Arlington Bowie won 42-30.[
    * November 28, 2009: Texas Tech defeats Baylor 20-13 in Texas Farm Bureau Big 12 Shootout. 71,964 were in attendance.
    * December 5, 2009: The Texas Longhorns defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 13-12 in the first Big 12 Championship Game to be held in the stadium. 76,211 were in attendance.
    * December 19, 2009: In the first college basketball game at the stadium, the Texas Longhorns defeated the defending national champion North Carolina Tar Heels, 103-90.
    * January 2, 2010: In the first bowl game played at the stadium, the Ole Miss Rebels defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys by a score of 21-7 in the 74th installment of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

  19. edgy1957 says: Jan 28, 2010 4:47 PM

    BTW, it was just announced that Cowboys Stadium has sold 85,000 tickets for the NBA All-Star game. Seems like any concern about Jerry or Arlington being able to make back their money is greatly exaggerated… :)

  20. Bears.Beats.BattleStarGalactica. says: Jan 29, 2010 4:25 AM

    You all fail to realize what cities have to gain economically besides just taxes on ticket prices and food/drinks sold at the stadium.
    Regular season NFL home games generate plenty of revenue for local businesses that stimulate the economy greatly. Hotels get fans from out of town (away fans and transplanted home team fans), restaurants get packed on gameday, and when the team wins studies show that the public spends more money. All of which benefits the home city’s economy.
    The same goes two-fold for playoff NFL games, not to mention the crowd that NCAA bowl games bring (San Diego’s hosting of the poinsettia bowl, etc.)
    The Super Bowl coming to your city is a huge economic burst for the entire community. A whole week with tens of thousands of fans, writers, and the rich and famous. San Diego is a great vacation town where people love to visit but they are not on the Super Bowl rotation anymore because the stadium has been deemed unworthy of the biggest game of the year. A new stadium would put the city right back into the mix for hosting every four-five years.
    That’s just the gameweek style boosts though. There are many other economic advantages to having an NFL team in your town. Such as dozens of sports shops being able to maintain a business selling truckloads of your products.
    All of these are reasons that public money is well spent going to a stadium being built

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