(W)right On Communications recently conducted a poll of residents for both the city and county of San Diego, around the start of training camp. One of the ideas seems to have been to determine whether interest in the 2014 Chargers' season translated into interest in a new stadium.
The key questions (paraphrasing) were as follows:
Do you support or oppose the City of San Diego building a stadium for the Chargers?
Would you still oppose the City of San Diego building a stadium for the Chargers, even if it means the Chargers leave San Diego?
The poll surveyed 375 SD County Residents between 7/21 and 7/24. Results weighted by age, gender, income, and region. Margin of error is +/- 5.1%.
In all honesty, these results doesn't surprise me at all. Let me explain why.
Should the City of San Diego build the Chargers a New Stadium?
No, the City shouldn't. Very simply, San Diego doesn't have the money to undertake a project of that magnitude (both size and cost). San Diego doesn't have in excess of $1 billion dollars laying around waiting for use. San Diego cannot raise taxes to pay for the cost of a new stadium, and (as the results show) wouldn't stand a chance of getting the necessary two-thrids majority vote in favor of raising taxes.
There are likely additional factors involved in the results.
- San Diego residents are still smarting over what the perceive as a "bait-and-switch" regarding the construction of Petco Park and the promises of a competitive Padres team.
- The long and often contentious history between the Chargers and City regarding the stadium expansion, ticket guarantee, lease renegotiation, and blackouts.
- Residents are sick and tired of hearing about the threat of Los Angeles.
- The ongoing effects of the Pension Crisis on city budgets.
- The general economic malaise following the Great Recession.
However, what's interesting about this poll is that we don't get an answer to the question of a public-private partnership, one wherein the Chargers (and the NFL) contribute a sizable portion of the new stadium cost. For instance, such a plan could work in the following manner:
- The Chargers contribute $250 million.
- The NFL's stadium loan program contributes $250 million.
- Naming rights for the stadium are sold for $150-200 million.
- For a larger, multipurpose (i.e. basketball, convention add-ons, NOT BASEBALL!!!) facility, the City could sell the Qualcomm and Sport Arena sites for $300-350 million. Of course, if the idea for selling city land to help cover costs doesn't work...
- Additional financing could be secured by bank loans, based against advance suite and club seat sales - this was part of the model used in funding Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. However, given the smaller corporate base in San Diego, this might only work in a smaller (i.e. open-air, football only facility costing about $800-850 million) venue.