In a (completely non-scientific) poll by the San Diego Union Tribune, a majority of San Diegans favor keeping San Diego Comic Con over the San Diego Chargers.
Clearly, the public sentiment in San Diego is changing amid clandestine backdoor dealings between the Spanos family and Carson, and special counsel Mark Fabiani stalling talks between the Chargers and the city. Where there was once a fierce battle cry over the loss of our beloved football team, now there’s a bit of healthy suspicion caused by the team throwing shade to its Bolt Faithful. If they want to stay so much, why are they doing so much to leave?
There’s no real way to determine the amount of money the Chargers bring the city, but I’d imagine that the Chargers aren’t exactly a cash cow for the tourism industry in San Diego. While it’s true that landing another Super Bowl would lead to economic prosperity for the city, hosting duties only come every so often, and our Chargers aren’t exactly Super Bowl contenders. There aren’t many people who come to San Diego eight times a year to watch the Chargers play. At this point, we’d be building a stadium to appease the Chargers…and to profit from all of the other non-Chargers events held in it.
SDCC, on the other hand, brings in over a hundred million dollars to local businesses every year, with the annual revenue on a perpetual uptick. SDCC is a huge cash cow, and the city would be foolish to let it go. Every bit of the Convention Center expansion would be worth its weight in gold, and not just because of SDCC; the recent Cisco convention, though smaller than SDCC in terms of participants, brings in as much (and possibly more) money to local businesses than SDCC.
As a native San Diegan, avid sports fan and card-carrying nerd, I feel bad about the Chargers, but they’re not exactly helping their cause. Leaving San Diego seems to be a done deal. (Remember, they’ve been secretly working on this since 2013) SDCC was born in the basement of the El Cortez Hotel, and the Powers That Be want it to stay in San Diego. Unlike the Chargers, SDCC can demonstrate how they impact San Diego’s economy. San Diego businesses fully support SDCC and [most of them] cater to SDCC because SDCC does so much for them.
If a deal can be made to keep the Chargers, and if it makes sense for the city, then I’m all for it. However, at this juncture, now that SDCC has committed to staying in San Diego through 2018, I believe that we need to shift our focus to make sure the Convention Center expansion happens soon so that we never have to have the “should I stay or should I go” conversation with SDCC again.
What do you think?
You can read more about the UT poll here.
Sarabeth, I’m a sports fan too. I wanted the Chargers to stay even though I’ve read (as you have) that sports stadiums are a losing proposition, and a bad one at that. The Chargers and the sports franchises from Boston to San Diego have been bilking the public for umpteen years. I’m fed up. This city needs to expand that convention center before we lose money making conventions that go elsewhere to larger facilities. The amount they bring in is huge, and it doesn’t come from shuffling money around between people already in the city. It’s new money, and the taxes on the profit goes into the city coffers. Screw the devious Spanos folks; they can go to the North pole as far as I’m concerned. Tell them to get the fornication out of here and let’s put up the Convention Center expansion and reduce this city’s debt!