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Qualcomm Stadium... an insult to dumps?

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Blue Bolt, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. Blue Bolt
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    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    An Insult to Dumps Everywhere
    By Jim Trotter

    Qualcomm Stadium, home of the Chargers, is a decrepit hulk, but the city government’s comical dysfunction means a deal for a new venue is as far off as ever


    When Peter King approached me about writing a weekly West Coast-centric column for his website, I found it attractive not only because I believe Sports Illustrated’s football coverage has had an eastern bias, but also because it meant shorter flights from my home in San Diego.

    But then the reality hit me. It also meant more time in dumps disguised as NFL stadiums, namely O.co Coliseum in Oakland and Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. (Candlestick Park, thank goodness, has just one more year left; the 49ers move into their new building in Santa Clara in 2014.)

    Actually, calling Qualcomm a dump really is an insult to dumps. The JumboTron is so old that some replacement parts can only be found on eBay. There’s no capacity for a hi-definition video board or for new electronic signage. In an era in which the NFL is trying to heighten the stadium experience to allow fans to keep up with scores and stats from other games via their smartphones, connectivity is limited in part by structural issues within the stadium. (At the preseason opener this year, one Chargers exec could not communicate via email with his staff during the game because of poor wifi.) White trash bags cover large electrical connectors that hang from a lower wall, and cracks are visible in the concrete in various places. Heavy rains often cause the drainage systems to back up, which is why the team has rubber boots on hand for fans whose seats are flooded. It’s not uncommon for sewage to leak onto the field and into the visiting locker room. According to an independent audit performed for the city, the stadium needs $70 million in maintenance and repairs.

    Yes, I know. Stop whining. Things could be worse. I could have to critique One Direction for a living. But what’s especially irritating is that things don’t have to be this way. For the last decade, the Chargers have proposed a variety of plans for a new stadium that would keep the team in San Diego. The latest is a downtown venue near the convention center and the Padres’ Petco Park. Based on the cost of the Niners’ new stadium, the Chargers’ project would come to an estimated $1.1 billion, with $300 million of that from public sources. Whether you object on principle to any public financing for sports venues or not, the simple fact is that the Chargers don’t even have a viable entity to negotiate with. Their management is dealing with the most dysfunctional city government in the country. That is not hyperbole.

    At one point in the last decade San Diego had four “mayors” in five years. One announced his resignation five months after a controversial re-election win over an 11th-hour write-in candidate, and his replacement then resigned after three days as acting mayor when he was convicted (though later acquitted in a new trial) of conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion.

    In February, former mayor Maureen O’Connor admitted to federal prosecutors that she had taken more than $2 million from the charitable organization of her late husband, Jack-in-the-Box founder Robert Peterson, to feed a gambling habit, and that over the years she had wagered more than $1 billion at casinos across the country. And current mayor Bob Filner has effectively pulled the emergency brake on city business because he faces at least 15 accusations of sexual harassment and mounting calls for his resignation.

    The fact that Chargers president and CEO Dean Spanos hasn’t packed up the team already—and there is a gaping NFL void two hours up the coast in Los Angeles—speaks volumes about his sincerity about keeping the Chargers in town, although many of his critics will refuse to accept that. I’ve butted heads with Spanos on multiple occasions over the years, but one thing I’ve never questioned is his commitment to staying in town and doing a deal that’s fair to both sides.

    [​IMG]

    Qualcomm Stadium is in a state of disrepair—the venue is due some $70 million in repairs and maintenance. -

    His family name means everything to him. As I’ve written before, when his football people are considering a potentially controversial move, his input often is along the lines of: Don’t embarrass my family. He realizes that if he moves the Chargers, he will be to San Diego what Art Modell was to Cleveland. And if he does a deal that gets over on the city while keeping the Chargers in town, well, that would be equally unpleasant.

    But how do you do a negotiate with a metropolis that is rudderless? “The city needs mayoral leadership for big projects, and right now it is not there,” city attorney Jan Goldsmith said in a statement to The MMQB. “But, we will get through this turmoil.”

    Spanos is clearly frustrated, but not broken. “We’ve been over 10 years in this process, and there have been times where we thought we were close,” he said. “But we may be the furthest we’ve been from getting a stadium done because of what’s happened locally. It’s really a sad situation. But we’re not going to stop trying to get a deal done. I haven’t given up. It’s still the greatest place to live. This is where I’m from. This is where I want to be—and that means a lot. But this is a business, and we have to compete with 31 other clubs. It’s my responsibility to put this organization in the best financial position it can be in to be competitive with the 31 other clubs.”

    Spanos recognizes the financial issues facing the city, which is why his group is trying to structure a deal in which any public money (more on that in a minute) would not come from the general fund that’s used for police, fire, road repairs and the like. Some residents are against spending any public money on a proposed project for the Chargers, but the reality is that the city already is spending roughly $15 million a year to maintain Qualcomm and the San Diego Sports Arena, both of which it owns.

    We may be the furthest we’ve been from getting a stadium done because of what’s happened locally. But we’re not going to stop trying. —Dean Spanos
    Spread those costs over the seven years remaining on the team’s lease after this season, add in the $70 million in deferred maintenance that’s due, and the Chargers believe that by bonding against that money it would cover the $300 million public contribution the team expects to seek. The city also would then be able to sell the 166 acres at the Qualcomm site, as well as the parcel that the Sports Arena sits on.

    It’s a significant vision—something the area has lacked for years—because it incorporates three different parts of town: the Qualcomm site in Mission Valley; Point Loma, where the Sports Arena sits; and downtown. But the city needs strong leadership to help get a deal done, and there’s no indication such leadership currently exists at City Hall. Without it, San Diego is sure to lose the team.

    My words, not Spanos’s. Just do the math.

    The Chargers rank in the bottom quartile in the NFL in revenue. Teams share national television money, but local monies, such as those from TV and radio deals, suite sales, sponsorships and advertising, are kept by the individual teams. The Chargers are among the have-nots in this area.

    For instance, if they sell all 113 of their suites at Qualcomm, at an average of $125,000 per suite, that totals just over $14 million. If Dallas sells out its 300 suites, at an average of $250,000, that’s $75 million for the Cowboys. In other words, suite sales alone amount to an advantage of more than $60 million in local revenue. Such differences affect how teams spend on their coaches and how they structure contracts for cash flow.

    The 47-year-old Qualcomm was originally built for baseball and football and was more suited to the former—which becomes glaringly obvious when visiting a modern stadium. For one, the seats are closer to the field in new stadiums, whereas they flow away from the field in Qualcomm. The first row of seats in San Diego is approximately 70 feet from the playing field, nearly twice the distance compared to Invesco Field in Denver and the refurbished Soldier Field in Chicago. And many of those front row seats at Qualcomm—great for those old Padres games—are obstructed for football.

    With all the turmoil in city government, the Chargers’ path to a new stadium looks just as obstructed for now. So, Candlestick for another year. Qualcomm and the Oakland coliseum for who knows how much longer. Suddenly I’m starting to wonder if this West Coast assignment was a good deal after all.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
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  2. Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan
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    Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan Well-Known Member

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    A good read.
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  3. powayslugger
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    powayslugger Optimistic for 2013

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    Oh I think Bob "Roaming hands" Filner would love to fully engage in stadium talks... or anything else besides his sexual harassment issues. I bet he would gladly trade a day or two of glad handing with Spanos to just get all his personal troubles out of the news.

    I don't want to sound too political (but I will) by adding that this dufus of a mayor is a sexual predator who needs to be locked up- not sitting behind the mayor's desk of our fine city.
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  4. matilack
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    matilack #therealagent47

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    Someone will have to die from a falling piece of concrete before the politicians take this seriously.
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  5. Blue Bolt
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    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    That's what I always say....... Nothing happens, until somebody dies.

    A tad cynical, but sadly all too true.
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  6. nflhof
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    nflhof BoltTalker

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    Wonder if PFT will post this column and smear it that the chargers are moving to LA?
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  7. Fossil
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    Fossil BoltTalker

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    Good read. Trotter, in an uncharacteristic act of kindness, left out about 75% of our city government's past scandals.
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  8. Sydalish
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    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    I can't do it from my phone, but all of your comments get "winner" ratings.

    Nice to see an article that speaks the truth about the situation and the Spanos family/Dean's desire to stay in SD and do right by the community.

    Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk 2
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  9. robdog
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    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Definitely a good read. But not sure I am ready to get rid of the Qualcomm stadium "smell" just yet. I get to enjoy that at least 10 times a year!

    Speaking of stadium improvements, can I just buy and pay for a TV upgrade in Plaza 1? I just moved under the covering this year and totally forgot all the TVs are tube TVs! Really??? I will pay to get a 40 inch plasma up there! Of course I would want a "Donated by Robdog" sign. :p
  10. AnteaterCharger
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    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    Not defending the poor state of the Q but go visit Candlestick and the Raiders' stadium and ask me which is the bigger dump
  11. Concudan
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    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Excellent article. Trotter has not been pre-Spanos in the past so I think that lends some credence to some of what he is saying. Spanos IMHO has been trying to remain in SD, but Spanos, really... C'mon San Diego does not want you here. Move. Its time to put this political quagmire, and this joke of a stadium in your rear-view mirror.
  12. Sydalish
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    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    Move? **** that ****. Don't make me drive up there and throat punch you for your blasphemy Conc... :cautious:
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  13. ETicket
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    ETicket Well-Known Member

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    I agree.
    Any volunteers?... :p
  14. Concudan
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    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    San Diego doesnt want them. The political arena there is a joke. The fan base could never organize to push the political CAVE-men (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) to work with the Chargers.

    10 years Syd. TEN YEARS the Chargers have been trying to make the blind see in SD. That is longer than most players careers. They have done their due diligence, and the City has given them the finger each and every time. So yes, Charger need to move. Find an environment the is much more conducive to playing football and less on trying to get the mental midgets to work with them.

    If San Diego had done one thing, ONE to make me think they gave a damn about the Chargers being here or having a venue for them that wasn't a joke I would be in the opposite spectrum... They haven't and I am not. Can you provide any evidence to the contrary that I am unaware of?
  15. Sydalish
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    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    Dude I was teasing you :p easy tonto!

    I don't agree that they should move but it's purely for selfish reasons. I love my team. I hate the stupid motherfuckers that live here and continue to thwart progress at every turn, I'd rather THEY moved :mad:
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  16. Concudan
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    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    I knew you were teasing. I am just incredulous that they have been trying for so long to get something done. Model didn't try that long in Cleveland, Nor the Colts in Baltimore, not the Rams in LA.... Not the Crypt Keeper in Oakland OR LA.... I feel that SD needs better venues, and it is not for the Chargers. The Sports Arena and the Q are both used by many organizations, and they all pay SD for the honor of using them. They should start charging the city dangerous work environment fees...

    On a side note, the mental image of you ringing my doorbell and throat punching me was good for a laugh in a slapstic sorta way...
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  17. tittylated
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    tittylated bolttalk cheerleader sweet

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    Were allowed to cuss wtf no one tells me anything
  18. Concudan
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    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    No! We are not ******* allowed to cuss dam it!
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  19. powayslugger
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    powayslugger Optimistic for 2013

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    ************... now that's cussing!

    Edit 1: How come Conc can say ************... but I can't???

    Edit 2: maybe if I put an "s" on the end... motherfuckers!

    Edit 3: Ahhhh.... that's the ticket! I just slipped one by big brother!
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  20. Sydalish
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    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    Watch out big sister has a ban hammer :D lol

    I don't think anyone is exempt from the filtered words... Did Concs post not have the ***** for you Poway?

    Putting on my mod hat to provide a little legal disclaimer... repeatedly and purposefully circumventing the filter is a no-no so lets not go down that road (again) por favor. Member cooperation is greatly appreciated.

    xoxo,

    The Management


    Edit: just noticed I unintentionally circumvented it too, think we should prob add that word to the filter haha... :oops: @robdog how do we do that?


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  21. Sydalish
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    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    Esp bc I'd have to jump up just to reach you :p


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  22. ChargerMike
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    ChargerMike BoltBruthaFromAnuthMutha

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    Holy crap...pot holes IN the Q......:notworthy: :poop: qualcomm.jpg
  23. mando-charger
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    mando-charger BoltTalker

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    a good article......im not to up on the SD political arena but it sounds like it's in about the same state as the "Q". it's a such a shame when a great place like SD, a team like the chargers and us as fans are forced to deal with substandard conditions in the stadium and the inability of a few ineffective public officials........

    i personally hope the chargers stay in SD forever and certainly not move to a pitt like LA, hopefully another solution or options with present themselves in the near future.......
  24. powayslugger
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    powayslugger Optimistic for 2013

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    Sorry Syd I saw that Conc slipped that word in and figured I would see if he had magic powers. Turns out the little man in the filter room lets it slip thru if its plural. Won't happen again... I was just being the mad scientist and testing it out. I was a badddddd boy.
  25. Concudan
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    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Always blaming poor ole innocent me... :unsure:
  26. Sydalish
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    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    It's cool, we just had a specific problem with it before and I gotta be the hall monitor. Good times.


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  27. Ride The Lightning
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    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

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    Let's just burn the stadium down, then they'll have no choice but to play somewhere else.

    Who's with me motherfuckers?
  28. Riff Raff
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    Riff Raff BoltTalker

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    I don't think it would burn very well.

    C4, OTOH .... :whistling:
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  29. SDRaiderH8er
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    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    San Diego City Council has paid out more in legal fees then stadium upkeep. And its a good thing they did not show pictures of the parking lot asphalt!

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