Despite the roars of former fans across the nation, the LA Chargers are destined never to return to Qualcomm Stadium. The reasons for this are myriad, but most center around the team’s desire to firmly give LA a fair chance and earn a handsome payday.
While the hurdles to returning to San Diego are many, the bigger issue with this former pipe dream center around Qualcomm Stadium being no more. No, the ‘Murph isn’t getting demolished just yet. Qualcomm’s naming rights ended in June, and they declined to renew the naming deal with the City of San Diego.
When it first opened in 1967 as San Diego Stadium, about 47,000 fans packed in to see the San Diego Chargers lose to the Raiders. After his death in 1980, the City of San Diego voted to rename the stadium after longtime sportswriter (and unshakable champion of campaigning to have the Chargers move to San Diego) Jack Murphy. The Padres and the Chargers called Jack Murphy Stadium their home for many decades.
The ‘Murph was renamed Qualcomm stadium in 1997, when the City of San Diego needed an extra 18-million dollars to expand the stadium to 71,000 seats. This twenty-year deal expired this year, and Qualcomm was not interested in renewing the deal.
As the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in August, bids were being accepted for new naming rights for the stadium. These rights are basically a 16-month lease, as the current plan is still set to demolish the structure after 2018. A bid of $500,000 was accepted, and San Diego Stadium is now officially renamed SDCCU Stadium (short for San Diego County Credit Union).
Even at 12-million in operating expenses each year, the stadium and its naming rights could be extended. The Aztecs are currently lobbying for the stadium to remain open until they can secure a replacement football field.
In slightly related news today, The New York Times has broken word that Broadcom is attempting a hostile takeover of Qualcomm. If the deal goes through, the only traces of the Qualcomm name in just a few months might be the Interstate 8 offramp that still bears its name. The City of San Diego decided to punt on that particular point when the stadium naming rights were discussed, so it’ll probably stay that way for a while yet.
If the fight to return professional football to San Diego ever bears any fruit, those future players will not be playing in Qualcomm Stadium.
-Jason “I will personally eat my hat if the stadium actually gets demolished at the end of 2018” Michaels.