About a New Stadium for the Chargers in San Diego

QualcomI moved to San Diego in June 2015 from Raleigh, NC and I’m still licking my wounds after the Broncos embarrassed the Panthers in Super Bowl “L”. That doesn’t mean I haven’t tried to connect with the San Diego NFL product.

Being a new citizen of San Diego I want to support the local teams. I quickly adopted the Gulls, who I watched numerous times in Norfolk when they were the Admirals. I hadn’t cheered for a specific baseball team in 15-20 years. It was easy to adopt the Padres in spite of their lack of winning because going to Petco is a fun, relatively inexpensive, way to spend a day. The Chargers have been a harder sell in the adopting all things San Diegan.

The Chargers should have been a shoe-in for my new hometown fandom. First, like many Americans, football is number one in my heart. Second, being an NC State graduate I have an affinity to cheer for other Wolfpack. Philip Rivers, check. Lastly, the Chargers, though never Super Bowl Champions, have occasionally fielded competitive and entertaining teams (Air Coryell, ’94 team, and Rivers’ teams from just a few years back). The impending move to Los Angeles prevented cheering for the Chargers. No sense in getting attached to something that isn’t sticking around.

Oops, things didn’t go the Spanos’ way at the owners meeting in Houston. The Chargers are now rethinking their place in the NFL. Maybe San Diego IS the best fit for them after all. Now it’s our turn to decide. Are the Chargers the best fit for San Diego?

We only need to look at the bottom line to understand why the Chargers don’t want to pay for their own stadium. It is not profitable, period. I hear talk about the city making money from hosting monster truck rallies, concerts, and other events on the other 354 days of the year the Chargers don’t use the stadium. First, the city is not a business. Second, if it’s such a great idea, why isn’t the Spanos family doing it? They want the city of San Diego to subsidize their losses. The Spanos family made its money in real estate development. If there was money to be made in owning a billion dollar stadium in San Diego the Chargers would have purchased the lot they desired and built the stadium of their dreams years ago.

The city of San Diego has plenty to offer without the Chargers. Being an NFL city isn’t the end all be all of an America city. Los Angeles did fine without the Rams or Raiders for 20 years. When a franchise finally came back the owner foot the bill. Why? Sam Kroenke, like the Spanos family, a real estate developer, has a vision bigger than the NFL. At least he better.

When it comes time to vote I urge San Diegans not to get emotional about a team that has owned San Diego hearts for over five decades. Think about the bottom line and why the Spanos family is not willing to invest more in a stadium. The Spanos family doesn’t want to lose money. The citizens of San Diego shouldn’t want anything less for ourselves or our great city.

One thought on “About a New Stadium for the Chargers in San Diego

  1. Brad, while I completely agree with the fact that stadiums in most cases are not profitable and there is no way one in San Diego would be (if it were, there would be plenty of people lining up to invest rather than a call for public money), I have to disagree on the notion of taking emotion out of the equation. Emotion is exactly what being a fan is, not practicality. If it were all based facts we would all have been nothing but Yankee fans in the 90’s and wouldn’t have gone for the great emotional ride of the Red Sox coming back from a 3-0 ALCS to go on to capture their first world series since indoor plumbing We wouldn’t have emotional ties to the Miracle Mets or Joe Namath’s Jet’s.

    More practically in San Diego we would never had a connection to the underdog Stan Humphries team that went into Pittsburgh and pulled off the upset to send this city to it’s one an only Super Bowl. I remember driving the streets after that game and the civic pride was through the roof! Petco Park was built on civic pride following a vote that came right after the Padre’s ’98 run the World Series. Lastly, there are the ties that go beyond just the team itself.

    Remember the scenes in City Slickers or Field of Dreams where the protagonist talk about how sports connected them to their fathers. In the absence of being able to talk about anything else in life, they could always discus sports (baseball in those movies). That is nothing but emotional and I have lived it. Both my grandfathers were long time season ticket holders and even though the team put a product on the field led by something named Billy Joe Toliver, we went, we talked, we connected.

    If this vote was purely emotionless, the team would have been gone a long time ago, and should have been. The Spanos’ run a franchise that effectively turned into the West Coast Cleveland Browns, but unfortunately I, and many others are emotionally invested for a variety of reasons and to see them leave would be very sad. Very sad that I cannot share the same misery my grandfather, father and I shared with my 2 year old son. I say that slightly tongue and cheek, but also with sincerity. I am thankful the NFL told the Spanos family to go back to San Diego and figure this out. Hopefully they will!

    I hope you are enjoying San Diego my friend!


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