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Qualcomm Stadium

Aerial View
Copyright by Ken Rockwell

  Venue Particulars  
Address 9449 Friars Road
San Diego, CA 92108
Phone (619) 525-8266
Official Website
Seating Weather
Satellite View
Chargers Gear
  Venue Resources  
Hotels, Dining & Deals in San Diego

  The Facility  
Date Opened 1968
Major Renovation 1997
City of San Diego
(City of San Diego)
Surface Grass
Cost of Construction $27 million
$78 million renovation completed in 1997.
Stadium Financing 1997 renovation; $18 million from naming rights; $60 million from sale of bonds.
Former Names San Diego Stadium
Jack Murphy Stadium
Qaulcomm Stadium
Naming Rights Qualcomm Corp. paid $18 million cash for 20-year naming rights in 1997.
  Other Facts  
Tenants San Diego Chargers
(NFL) (1967-Present)
Holiday Bowl
(NCAA) (1978-Present)
Poinsettia Bowl
(NCAA) (2005-Present)
San Diego State Aztecs
(NCAA) (1967-Present)
Former Tenants San Diego Padres
(NL) (1969-2003)
San Diego Sockers
(NASL) (1978-1984)
San Diego Jaws
(NASL) (1976)
Population Base 2,000,000
On Site Parking 19,500
Nearest Airport San Diego International Airport (SAN)
Retired Numbers #14 Dan Fouts
#19 Lance Alworth

Capacity 71,294
Average Ticket $54.82
Fan Cost Index (FCI) $312.74
The Team Marketing Report FCI includes: four average-price tickets; four small soft drinks; two small beers; four hot dogs; two game programs; parking; and two adult-size caps.
Luxury Suites 113 Suites
Club Seats 7,882
  Attendance History  
Season  Total  Capacity Change
1993 475,578 83% 26.6%
1994 479,842 84% 0.9%
1995 469,575 82% -2.1%
1996 470,355 82% 0.2%
1997 465,906 82% -0.9%
1998 476,718 84% 2%
1999 476,999 84% 0.06%
2000 433,459 76.3% -9.1%

2001 2002 2003 2004
474,844 494,973 492,165 485,462

2005 2006 2007 2008
529,916 531,031 524,019 545,107

2009 2010 2011 2012
540,345 524,241 523,143 479,716

2013 2014 2015 2016
513,641 523,457 534,180 456,197

Sources: Mediaventures

Welcome to Qualcomm Stadium at Jack Murphy Sports Complex, formerly the San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium

Here in San Diego, we have one of America's finest multi-purpose facilities built to accommodate a wide variety of events, ranging from baseball and football to concerts and off-road extravaganzas.

The Stadium has become the center of the San Diego sports scene and has given the City a Major-League reputation in the world of sports. Some of the outstanding sports events that have taken place at the Stadium include the World Series in 1984, NFL Super Bowl XXII in 1988, and Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in 1978 and 1992. In addition, Qualcomm Stadium is the home of the San Diego Chargers of the NFL, the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball and college football's San Diego State Aztecs. The Holiday Bowl, one of college football's premier post season bowl games, also takes place at the Stadium each year.

Other popular events held regularly at the Stadium include concerts, truck and tractor pulls and super-cross motorcycle races. In addition, the Stadium parking lot accommodates such events as circuses, auto racing, and car and RV sales.

Built in 1967, the Stadium was renamed in 1981 to honor the late San Diego Union sports writer Jack Murphy, who initiated the metamorphosis of San Diego from a navy outpost to a world sports center by first convincing hotel magnate Baron Hilton to move his Chargers Football Team from their home at the Los Angeles Coliseum to San Diego. Murphy then led the charge to construct a world-class stadium in San Diego. The local architect selected to design the stadium, Frank L. Hope and Associates, had never designed a stadium before. Yet in 1969 San Diego Stadium became the only stadium to win the First Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects. The Hope firm also received a commendation award from Governor Ronald Regan.

Click Here to Get Your Personalized Scoreboard
Excellent facilities are a continuous trademark of Qualcomm Stadium. These facilities include a state-of-the-art sound system with a large screen video display, 79 luxury box suites, 74 washrooms and 44 superb food and beverage stands. Additional dining options include the Stadium Club and the Sports Club restaurants which offer a variety of menu choices to all Stadium visitors. So whatever the occasion, those who visit the Stadium will be completely entertained in comfort.

In preparation for Super Bowl XXXII, which San Diego will be hosting in January 1998, the city is planning $50 million in improvements to the stadium. When completed, seating at the stadium will total 71,450, including 8,000 new club seats. The number of luxury skybox suites will be increased to 110. Other improvements include the construction of 20,000 square feet of office space, renovation of the Stadium Club, and the purchase of two new color boards.

Located in the heart of San Diego in Mission Valley, Qualcomm Stadium is centrally located and easily accessible. The Stadium can be reached by any one of four freeways: the 805, 163, 15 and 8.

With over 19,000 parking spaces, bus service to and from the Stadium, and seven different entrances into the Stadium, further convenience is added to every visit. Future plans include a San Diego Trolley Stop that will be located within close walking distance of the Stadium.

So sit back, relax and enjoy all Qualcomm Stadium has to offer.

"After some proud decades in the AFL and the NFL, the Chargers went through 10 lean years during the 1980's and early 90's without making the playoffs, but the AFC West Championship in 1992 put the Chargers back on top of the San Diego sports scene. Despite their laid-back reputation, San Diego fans enjoy game day with the same fervor as fans in Pittsburgh or Washington, D.C. The Stadium walls are covered with signs, fans are decked out in team colors and some - the Bolt Heads - wear huge foam lightning bolts on their heads. Even though large contingents from colder cities often follow their teams to enjoy the warm weather, they never out cheer the Charger fans. Like many arenas built in the late 1960s, "the Murph" is a multipurpose stadium for baseball and football."


Vote Authorization- Nov. 2, 1965 (73% yes).
Ground Breaking- Dec. 24, 1965.
Dedication- Aug. 20, 1967 (Detroit 38, San Diego 17).
1st Expansion- Began Oct. 10, 1983 - Finished Aug. 3, 1984
Previous Seating Capacity- 60,794 - There are 27,000 seats between goal lines.

Statistics- Cost $27 million; expansion cost $6.4 million; site area 166 acres; height to top of light ring 146 feet; parking for 17,800 cars and 120 buses; 44 concession stands, 74 restrooms, 44 ticket windows.

Courtesy of Jack Murphy Sports Complex

October 17, 1996 - AP - In a victory for both the San Diego Chargers and governments throughout California, the city got the go-ahead yesterday to begin a 10,000-seat expansion of Jack Murphy Sports Complex that had been held up for nine months by tax activists.

The State Supreme Court declined a request by three Libertarians to review a lower court's ruling that the method of financing the expansion and a new practice site for the NFL's Chargers is legal.

"I'm just pleased it's over," Mayor Susan Golding said after the city's third and final court victory. Earlier this year, the city won decisions in Superior Court and the 4th District Court of Appeal.

"Finally, we have some direction, and we know what we're trying to do now," said Chargers president and vice chairman Dean Spanos, son of owner Alex Spanos.

However, the project will cost more than the original price of $66.6 million.

City manager Jack McGrory said the project should be done well before the city plays host to the Super Bowl in 1998.


May 27, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

Qualcomm Stadium will get another chance to host the Super Bowl in 2003 after NFL owners officially decided that the game could not be held in San Francisco. The game had been scheduled for the 49ers new stadium, but family infighting has stalled that project. The 2000 Super Bowl will be held in Atlanta, the 2001 match will be in Tampa and in 2002 it returns to the Superdome in New Orleans.

October 18, 2000
Copyright 2000 MediaVentures

San Diego wants the Chargers to renegotiate their lease at Qualcomm Stadium to take the city off the hook for guaranteeing ticket sales. The city promised to guarantee at least 60,000 in ticket sales for each home game. Low sales this year have pushed the city to spend nearly all the $5 million it set aside for the purchases. The stadium seats 71,000.

The city is also concerned that because of the guarantee, the team has not worked as hard to sell tickets as it otherwise might. The city has asked the team for information about its marketing program, but the team has missed a deadline to respond.

The sell outs also remove the television black out from the market and city officials wonder if that is hurting ticket sales.

Another request will be made for marketing information and new lease negotiations, but if the Chargers don't respond, the city is considering several steps to resolve the issue. One tactic might be to stop buying the tickets and force the team into court where its marketing practices can be examined. The city could also sell the tickets at a discount and recoup some of its investment. Another move might be to delay ticket purchases so the games are not blacked out in hopes of encouraging ticket sales.

Image of the Renovated (1997) Qualcomm Stadium
courtesy of the Jack Murphy Sports Complex

By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

Qualcomm Stadium Ranking by USRT
Architecture 4
Concessions 7
Scoreboard 4.5
Ushers 5
Fan Support 4
Location 8
Banners/History 6
Entertainment 5
Concourses/Fan Comfort 5
Bonus: Tailgate Scene 3
Bonus: Fish Tacos 1
Bonus: Cannons on Field 1
Bonus: Plaza Level 1
Total Score 54.5
October 13, 2000 - Some of this information might be repetitious... we visited Qualcomm in April of 2001 when we took in a game of the MLB San Diego Padres. But experiencing this venue for football is quite a bit different from baseball, and we will try to explain...

Getting to the Venue
What was formerly named "The Murph", Jack Murphy Stadium, Qualcomm Stadium opened in 1967 as the new home of the San Diego Chargers, and also a new home to the expansion San Diego Padres. It is located about 10 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, and is easily accessible via several freeways which crisscross the area, notably interstates 15 or 805 if traveling north and south, or I-8 traveling east-west. Traveling to the area is pretty simple, as there are several road alternatives to get to the venue. Don't want to drive? The San Diego Trolley, the area's regional light rail system, has a stop literally a few steps from the front door of the stadium. Just grab a park and ride lot - fares run $2-$5 one way depending on distance, and you can avoid the driving hassles.

Outside the Venue
The stadium is surrounded by massively large parking lots and that is about it. Nestled in a hilly terrain, one can see homes and office buildings built onto the hills overlooking the stadium, and shopping malls and office parks are closeby, but there is really no neighborhood ambience to speak of.

Tailgating here is pretty impressive...not surprising when we remembered the great scene that we witnessed for our Padres visit. Lots of campers, RV's. Companies rent out space in the parking lots and erect hospitality tents... we even saw one with a full blown pig roast! Just about every radio outlet in San Diego has a remote broadcast going somewhere in the parking lot. One of the coolest places to hang out is the Budweiser Chargers Party Zone - a tented area in the east parking lot with full bar service and food selections, and HDTV monitors showing each of the early NFL games. Of course we made it to the area where the Bills/Texans game was playing and immediately made friends with several transplanted Buffalonians who were watching our game. Parking here costs $10, and satellite lots here are pretty few and far between.

The stadium itself pretty much exemplifies the architecture of venue construction in the 60s and 70s... this is a "cookie cutter" stadium built for football and baseball, and the outside is gray and sterile. There are sets of escalator towers in each corner to take you to the upper levels, as well as circular ramps. Very little color, save for the canvas banners of each of the 32 NFL team logos which hang up top in the frames of the stadium structure and can be seen inside the bowl and from the outside.

The Concourses
Again exemplifying the design of that era, concourses here at Qualcomm are very narrow and congested, and pretty dark to boot. The only area with ample room is the ground floor plaza area. Here the exterior fences of the stadium are far back enough to open up a lot of outdoor space for public gathering areas. And that works nicely here... several stages offering pre game musical entertainment, specialty food stands, beer gardens, souvenir stands and seating areas with tables and chairs, which makes for a pleasant area to just sit and people watch.

The Seating Bowl
Since our first visit here, we noticed that upper deck seats were replaced and almost all seats are colored Charger blue, save for the press level where seats are yellow. Mind you, the Padres will move to their new ballpark in downtown San Diego in 2004. The lowest level are field/terrace seats, club on the second level, then a small press level (with public seating) and the upper deck is the view level. Because the venue serves both sports, seats on the lowest level are far away from the field, and the first few rows are "obstructed view seats" because sideline personnel and players impede one's view of the action. (They sell these seats for $29, their cheapest price). From our impression, the best seats in the building are in the upper deck view level. The main scoreboard is in the east end - a Sony jumbotron, flanked by three separate one color dot matrix boards. High above the west end zone is a second jumbotron.

At first glance, the fare here looks pretty ordinary... nothing more than your standard ballpark dreck throughout the concourses. But head down to the plaza level and you will find an abundance of food choices... former Padre Randy Jones barbecue stand, turkey legs, Papa Johns pizza, sausages and ice cream. But the best food item and one unique to Qualcomm is the fish tacos. That's right, fish tacos at the mexican stand which might even give Mighty Taco a run for the money! Also on the plaza level is a restaurant called Murphy's, offering a food buffet and full bar service. The main team store can also be found on the plaza level. Like we said, this is the place to be at Qualcomm.

Premium Seating
They do have "premium seating" here, which spans the sidelines of the second level seating bowl, and use of the concourse is restricted. Suites ring the building on the third level. The premium seating amenities here seem to be sparse, although we did find out that club seats here range from $145-$250.

Banners/Retired Numbers.
28 names are enshrined on a "ring of honor" which spans the upper deck along one sideline... most of the names come from the Chargers' 60s era in the AFL, and the second wave of honorees are dominated by the Air Coryell days in the 80s. The last name to be enshrined is that of Wes Chandler, who hung up his cleats in 1987. Disappointingly, the Chargers 1963 AFL Championship banner and their 1994 AFC Championship banner are nowhere to be found.

The Search for Hallowed Grounds...
We made the trek to find Balboa Stadium, the home of the San Diego Chargers from 1961 until 1967. It was a unique venue in that it was built into a horseshoe shaped canyon which was almost ideally designed by nature for a football configuration. We found the site, but the stadium has been demolished, and a small high school field stands in its place. For Buffalo fans this will always be a special place...this is where the underdog Bills led by Jack Kemp stomped the Chargers 23-0 to win their second consecutive AFL title back in 1965 .

Touchdowns, Extra Points, Fumbles

Touchdown - to quarterback Drew Brees and the Chargers, who trailed all afternoon long but managed to engineer a last minute drive to pull out a 35-34 victory with a last second touchdown, setting off a wild celebration among the Chargers faithful, which brings us to...

Fumble -  and speaking of the Chargers faithful, where the heck are the fans here??? The Chargers are having one of their best seasons in years, optimism is running high, and the game featured a matchup against a division rival with much at stake in a tough AFC West division. Yet 15,000 tickets were still available a day before the game. Nice weather and a good walk up crowd at least made the stadium crowd look respectable.

Extra Point - The San Diego Sports Hall of Fame and Museum can be found among the historic buildings of beautiful Balboa Park. The displays of  the Chargers and the long and storied history of baseball in San Diego are really cool.

Fumble - nary a mention in this same museum of San Diego's two separate runs as an NBA city (and an ABA stint as well)... first the expansion San Diego Rockets, and then when our beloved Buffalo Braves relocated here in 1978 to become the San Diego Clippers. Braves/Clippers stalwart Randy Smith deserves a little more respect than this!

Touchdown - to the San Diego Chargers for their nice tailgating setup. The Chargers Party Zone really works nicely as a cool place to hang out if you don't have your own tailgate going and want something to do.

By now we have become partial to the newer facilities and all the bells and whistles which come with them. Qualcomm Stadium is a functional, yet very ordinary facility. The architecture is bland and uninspiring, and concourses here are narrow and congested. The seating bowl is very pretty, but being a two sport venue most fans are far away from the action and seating for football is, for the most part, unobstructed but not optimal. Positives here are the great tailgating and odds are when you visit here the weather will be superb. Make sure to visit the Gaslamp Quarter when coming to San Diego, a twelve block party, shopping and entertainment district downtown. The Padres new ballpark is going up right adjacent to the Quarter and will open in 2004. Of course, the Ultimate Sports Road Trip will be back!

March 23, 2006
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

The San Diego Chargers have agreed to accept $1.9 million from San Diego for revenues lost through changes in Qualcomm Stadium to accommodate disabled fans. The team also agreed to wait for the money until 2007 to help the city with its cash flow problems.

The city learned last week that its pension system has a $1.43 billion deficit that will require at least a $162 million infusion of cash for the budget year that begins July 1.

Last December, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the Chargers saying the city owed the team the money after making stadium renovations that reduced the number of seats available for sale. The renovations were made to accommodate disabled fans under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The tentative ruling covered three years. The ruling also said the city doesn't have to make payments until 90% of the seats are sold at Qualcomm Stadium.

The team sought $2.5 million, but the judgement was cut. The team will continue to receive the payments until its lease expires in 2020. Annual payments are expected to be about $500,000.

The team has been seeking a new stadium, but city officials say they can't consider funding one now. Beginning Jan. 1, the team can talk to other cities about relocating. The Chargers can leave San Diego after the 2008 season by paying off the balance of $60 million in bonds the city issued in 1997 to expand Qualcomm Stadium.

December 4, 2008
Copyright 2008 MediaVentures

Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, with bean burritos, veggie sushi rolls, vegetable wraps, veggie hot dogs, and Gardenburgers has won notice from People For Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as the most vegetarian-friendly stadium in the NFL. Other venues in the top five include McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis and Lambeau Field in Green Bay. (PETA)

January 22, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - The city of San Diego has filed a breach-of-contract suit against the Chargers, claiming the team owes the city more than $170,000 for use of Qualcomm Stadium in 2004, including more than $44,000 in accrued interest. The suit came as a surprise to the Chargers, who noted that the team's lease with the city calls for any controversy between the two parties to be decided in arbitration - and not in a lawsuit.

The city's suit says the Chargers were obligated to pay $250,000 per game in rent for the city-owned stadium, subject to certain rent credits allowed by the city in the lease. In 2005, the city audited payments by the team for 2004 and found the team underpaid the city by $125,795 as a result of the Chargers claiming luxury suite rent credits that were previously disallowed by the city for the 1996 through 2000 seasons.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the suit was filed at the direction of the city treasurer's office, which oversees collections. He said the four-year statute of limitations on the case was about to expire, making a suit necessary to preserve the city's right to make a claim. (San Diego Union Tribune)

May 14, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - A recently released audit of San Diego's oversight of Qualcomm Stadium is critical of the city's action's and says the building is not "self-sustaining."

The audit raised concerns about the stadium's administrative policies, its revenue-generating inefficiencies, and its capacity for long-term solvency, especially in light of looming uncertainty over just how much longer the Chargers plan on calling the stadium home.

One of its most prominent findings concerned the stadium's growing reliance on public funds to cover its operating costs. Drops in revenue from stadium operations have forced the city to divert money from other parts of its budget to cover the deficit. Another finding warns that San Diego, because of stipulations in the city's current agreement with the Chargers, will be on the hook for a $21.4 million bond debt obligation should the team choose to vacate the stadium after 2010.

Overall the audit depicts a facility facing increasing costs and dwindling revenue as city and stadium officials have struggled to lease out the venue, failed to develop a comprehensive business strategy and properly maintain billing records, and been constrained in their revenue-earning potential by stipulations and legal settlements that have granted the Chargers substantial monetary concessions.

In a review of the stadium's finances since the 2006 fiscal year, the Auditor's Office found that the stadium has been operating at a considerable deficit, relying on more than $16 million in city subsidies over the last three years to close the funding gap resulting from insufficient revenue generated by stadium operations.

Along with rent and concessions revenue from Chargers events, the stadium's revenue streams include money from parking, event producers who lease out the stadium, and shorter-term contracts with the Holiday Bowl and Poinsettia Bowl football games.

The stadium's projected budget for fiscal year 2009 calls for an additional $4.4 million in subsidies, to be drawn from the city's hotel room tax, for a total of almost $10.9 million. That's a 68 percent hotel-tax funding increase over fiscal year 2008.

According to the audit, the city incurs costs of more than $2.8 million each year to host Chargers games. Offsets from rent paid for use of the stadium, which the current agreement caps at $2.5 million per year, do not cover all of the city's Chargers-related expenses, which are further augmented by several monetary claims that the Chargers hold against the city.

Between the 2005 and 2007 football seasons, the city actually paid the Chargers organization a net total of $492,000 to host Chargers games.

That's because the stadium is also required to compensate the Chargers for lost ticket sales resulting from seating modifications the city made in order to bring the facility up to Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

The payments, tied to seat sales within individual sections, are triggered each time more than 90 percent of the seats in any section are sold. The payments are based on the estimated lost ticket and concession revenue that the Chargers would have earned had seats not been removed for ADA compliance.

The Chargers also claim rent credits against the city for half of the property taxes the team pays on stadium luxury suites.

These stipulations, combined with the rent caps, and operating and maintenance costs covered entirely by the city, have driven the stadium's Chargers-related ledger into the red.

But it gets worse for the city. Since 1997, the city has had to make annual payments of more than $5 million to satisfy its debt obligations on the $68 million in revenue bonds issued to fund the stadium makeover that convinced the Chargers not to abandon the venue at that time. Those bonds were issued on the assumption that payments on them would be drawn from operating revenue.

In addition to the net losses associated with the Chargers operation, stadium personnel have struggled to book leased events such as concerts, further cutting revenue and forcing the city to instead make payments on the bonds from the general fund, according to the audit.

A further stipulation of the contract with the Chargers holds the team fully responsible for the balance of the bond if it leaves the stadium, but only until 2010. After then, the team can leave by paying a fee that covers only a portion of the remaining bond balance. As of 2010, the remaining principal balance on the bonds is estimated to be $54.7 million, but after 2010, the termination fee is lowered from the full amount to $25.8 million.

Each year beyond 2010, as the city's payments on the bond lower the principal balance, the Chargers termination fee will decrease by an equal amount. The city will be responsible for the difference between the principal balance and the sliding-scale termination fee, regardless of whether or not the Chargers remain at Qualcomm. That difference is $21.4 million.

The audit recommends that the city administration create a financing plan to pay off the stadium renovation bonds irrespective of the city's agreement with the Chargers, and that stadium managers formulate a long-term strategy for offsetting costs and maintaining the stadium's solvency, including more aggressively pursuing lease agreements with other event producers.

May 21, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - The San Diego Chargers are skeptical about a plan to use the Qualcomm Stadium site for a new stadium. City leaders are also questioning the plan's potential.

Developer Perry Dealy is suggesting a project that includes 5,000 residential units, 3.5 million square feet of office space, 500,000 square feet of specialty retail, 1,000 hotel rooms, 500 units of San Diego State student housing, 100,000 square feet of SDSU classroom and office space, 30 acres allotted to parkland and, conceivably, an eventual bullet train station. The Chargers earlier tried a similar plan, but could not interest other developers in investing.

While the team initially said it is listening to the idea, officials later called it a waste of time.

The team says it is still focused on creating a deal with Chula Vista. That process has been stalled while financing issues are resolved.

July 16, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - San Diego's auditor says the city must pay nearly $11 million a year to subsidize operation of Qualcomm Stadium.

The report by Auditor Eduardo Luna also says the city's agreement with San Diego State University to let its football team use Qualcomm is not financially beneficial to the city. And if the

Chargers decide to leave the stadium before 2020 San Diego will be left with a $21.4 million bond debt obligation.

The auditor is recommending the city develop a business plan for the stadium and look for ways to resolve the operating losses Qualcomm incurs. Luna also recommends the city keep better records so vendors are properly billed and overdue payments are collected.

July 30, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - San Diego State University has signed a new 10-year lease for Qualcomm Stadium. The lease includes a provision for a $1 per ticket surcharge on most tickets that will result in the city earning a $15,000 profit per game. The city said it had lost about $30,000 per game in recent years and refused to continue subsidizing the school. The school will also pay the city about $30,000 per game to cover expenses.

Under the old lease, SDSU was paying $50,000 per game in rent. Under the new lease, SDSU will pay the city about $95,000, including the $30,000 in additional expenses and an estimated $15,000 from the added surcharge. Most tickets will include the surcharge except for student tickets and some others.

Either party can opt out of the deal with five years' notice. After five years, the city also can renegotiate the rent if it doesn't think it's getting a good deal.

Actual football attendance has dropped from an average of 28,336 in 2004 to 17,344 last season, according to turnstile counts. The university also faces budget cuts and unpaid furloughs for workers.

September 3, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Smoking has been banned inside Qualcomm Stadium. Smokers had been directed to designated smoking areas, but those have now been closed. Qualcomm Stadium manager Mike McSweeney, who oversees operations at the city-owned venue, said a change was needed. McSweeney said so many people were using the restricted area outside Gate E that they would spill into the stadium's plaza level, and too few people used the areas outside Gates O1 and O2. Violations of the smoking ban may result in $136 fines and game ejections. The ban applies to all events at the stadium.

September 10, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - The San Diego Chargers aren't keen on the idea that the team consider renovation of Qualcomm Stadium. The idea was brought up by league commissioner Roger Goodell on a cable television news program.

Mark Fabiani, the longtime point person for the team's stadium search, said the renovation Goodell suggested is simply not possible. The Chargers, who say their 42-year-old facility makes them less competitive in the league, are looking for a new location in San Diego County.

Fabiani said consultants for the team and the city independently concluded in 2002 and 2003 that renovating Qualcomm Stadium would cost as much as building a new stadium.

He added that even when the team considered building a new stadium on the site - an idea that has since been abandoned - the plan was to build it in a corner of the 166-acre Mission Valley site to allow related development.

Meanwhile the team is reportedly reconsidering land in Oceanside.

In July, Mayor Jim Wood was asked to sit in on a discussion between Chargers representatives and the owners of the Valley Drive-In site about the possibility of the Chargers Stadium being built there. Since the land is private property, its sale would not need a municipal vote.

The first big hurdle the Chargers would face in building the stadium on the site would be getting an OK from the Federal Aviation Administration due to the property's close proximity to the Oceanside Municipal Airport.

If the land is purchased and FAA regulations are met, construction of the stadium would need to go through the development process and be OK'd by City Council.

January 28, 2010
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - The San Diego Chargers have agreed to spend another season at Qualcomm Stadium while they continue to work toward a stadium solution they hope will keep them in the community, but team officials say they aren't willing to make a commitment beyond one year.

The team's announcement comes the same week that the Centre City Development Corp., San Diego's downtown redevelopment arm, considers launching a 15- to 18-month process to obtain the approvals to pump hundreds of millions of tax dollars into a stadium.

Team special counsel Mark Fabiani said the Chargers' focus in 2010 will be on assessing the political support for building an up to $800 million stadium, partly via public subsidy.

"What we expect to know during the next year is whether city elected officials, particularly the mayor and a majority of the City Council and a majority of the county Board of Supervisors, will support a downtown plan," Fabiani said. "I think we can figure that out before the CCDC process is over."

Fabiani called political support crucial for a project of this magnitude but said he doesn't expect elected officials to get behind it unless a financing plan is in place that works for the city and team. Under its contract, the team is able to quit Qualcomm Stadium between Feb. 1 and May 1 from now until the end of its lease in 2020. The team must notify city officials in writing of its intention and pay a termination fee.

That fee decreases annually. It's set at $54.6 million this year and falls to $25.8 million in 2011.

April 22, 2010
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Additional safety barriers will be required at Qualcomm Stadium after an investigation into the death of a Chargers employee last year. The volunteer fell from a coaches booth in the press box to seats below. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health said the worker stumbled on some stairs, fell down the stairwell, hit a chair and slid off a table through the opening.

May 20, 2010
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - A California grand jury released a report that was critical of the lease between San Diego and the Chargers for Qualcomm Stadium saying the city was losing $17.1 million a year and that the Chargers could afford to pay more in rent.

"This was a Grand Jury initiated complaint, not a citizen complaint," said Victoria Stubblefield jury foreman, adding that the focus of the jury this year has been on helping the city of San Diego and the taxpayers save money.

She said polls have shown the taxpayers do not think they should have to support a profitable sports team, which the Grand Jury projected to have made $41 million for the 2008 season, excluding revenue sharing.

"The bottom line is Qualcomm is going to cost taxpayers a whole lot of money and they don't want to foot the bill," she said.

In its prepared statement, the Grand Jury wrote:
"The 2009/2010 San Diego County Grand Jury recommends that the City demand a long term lease with fixed rents, no risk of operating losses and use of the stadium for other public events. If the City proceeds with a new publicly financed stadium, the City should negotiate materially tighter terms with the Chargers than are currently in place."

Darren Pudgil, a spokesman for Mayor Jerry Sanders, said the city intends to review any new stadium project with due diligence and in the end it would have the final say on whether it goes ahead with a project.

The new stadium, if it continues as planned, would be privately owned and the city would not have a lease with the franchise.

Meanwhile, the Chargers have released drawings of the team's proposed $800 million stadium that could be built downtown near Petco Park. The 62,000-seat venue will sit on a 10-acre site.

August 12, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - The city of San Diego plans to hire an outside contractor to assess the long-term viability of Qualcomm Stadium with or without the Chargers as its primary tenant, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

The evaluation might cost an estimated $150,000 to $200,000, Stadium Manager Mike McSweeney told the newspaper. The selected contractor will estimate the 43-year-old stadium's longevity and maintenance challenges, plus forecast its future operating profits or losses. Currently, the city-owned stadium costs approximately $11.8 million annually, according to the city. Its operating budget this year is $18.8 million.

"The goal is to maximize the return on investment for the taxpayer," Darren Pudgil, spokesman for Mayor Jerry Sanders, told the Union Tribune. "It's to determine the best use of that property. It's a much deeper look at that facility and what's going to be required short- and long-term to keep that facility up to par."

The assessment comes in response to a city audit last year that said the stadium had no formalized business plan and should aggressively pursue new revenue streams to offset its dependence on city hotel-room tax revenue. That taxpayer money could go to other city services if the stadium were able to be more financially self-sustaining, the newspaper said.

The stadium's future also is in a state of flux as the Chargers pursue a new stadium with better revenue-producing capacity for the team. If the Chargers move to a new stadium in San Diego County, the San Diego State football team and San Diego's two college football bowl games - the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl and Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl - are expected to join them at the new stadium, the newspaper said. That would leave Qualcomm without all of its major sports tenants.

If the Chargers leave San Diego County, the city would have to consider the viability of maintaining the stadium for the Aztecs (six home games per year) and two bowl games in late December as its major tenants. In either case, the city could decide to sell the 167-acre stadium site, redevelop it or lease it.

The Union Tribune reported that starting next year, the early termination fee for the Chargers breaking their lease with the city decreases from $54.6 million to $25.8 million. It further decreases each year after that through 2020.

That fee represents bond payment obligations stemming from the 1997 stadium expansion. Starting next year, the city would be on the hook for the rest of those bond obligations, about $27 million.

If the NFL team wants to leave, it must pay the termination fee and notify the city of its intent to play that season between Feb. 1 and May 1.

Another factor complicating the stadium's future is the petroleum contamination beneath the stadium site, the newspaper said. No permanent construction is allowed on the site until the cleanup is completed. The city has sued Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, owners of the gas tank farm by the stadium that leaked the gas.

In its requests for proposals on the stadium assessment, the city estimates that the cleanup will be ongoing at least partially for the next two to three years.

September 16, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - San Diego officials have hired AECOM to study Qualcomm Stadium's future and the impact on the venue if the Chargers leave, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. The cost of the contract has not yet been finalized but is expected to be soon, Darren Pudgil, spokesman for Mayor Jerry Sanders, told the Union Tribune. Stadium Manager Mike McSweeney previously estimated it would be $150,000 to $200,000. The study is expected to last six weeks before a report is issued.

The purpose of the study is to "get a snapshot" on the future of the 43-year-old stadium, McSweeney said.

"We're looking at everything from structural integrity and systems evaluation to prospects for business five years from now," McSweeney said.

The city decided to hire the consultant after a city audit last year said the stadium had no formalized business plan and should pursue new revenue to lessen its reliance on city hotel-room tax revenue. The stadium is subsidized by approximately $11.8 million annually in taxpayer money, according to the city. Those funds could go to other city services if the stadium didn't need as much.

The stadium's operating budget is $18.8 million, the newspaper reported.

The study will consider the future of the property without its primary tenant, the Chargers, who are pursuing a new stadium to make more money for the team, according to the Union Tribune.

If the Chargers moved within the county, Qualcomm Stadium's other main tenants are expected to join them: the San Diego State football team and San Diego's two college football bowl games, the newspaper said. If the Chargers left San Diego County, SDSU and the bowl games likely would want to stay at Qualcomm Stadium, but the city would be faced with the question of whether it's worth the maintenance costs to host eight combined college football games from September through December.

The Chargers' fee for breaking its lease to play at Qualcomm Stadium decreases next year from $54.6 million to $25.8 million. It decreases each year after that through 2020. That exit fee represents bond payment obligations stemming from the 1997 stadium expansion. Starting next year, the city would be responsible for the rest of those bond obligations - about $27 million.

December 9, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - The San Diego Chargers will be in Qualcomm Stadium one more season and have told the city that it will not opt out of its lease, at least for now, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.

The team stopped short of any guarantees past 2011 as it continues its attempt to get a new downtown stadium built.

"(Club President) Dean Spanos notified me today that the Chargers would not in 2011 exercise the exit provision in its lease with the city," Mayor Jerry Sanders said in a statement. "I very much appreciate the commitment that Dean, his family, and the Chargers have shown throughout the team's eight-year search for a new stadium.

"The Chargers understand, as we all do, the tremendous challenges now facing our region during these historically difficult economic times. But, even in the face of these challenges, we will be able to work through 2011 with the Chargers on a stadium solution downtown that works for both taxpayers and the team."

As for 2012 and beyond, Spanos and Chargers counsel Mark Fabiani, his point man on new stadium dealings, declined to speculate.

"There is just so much economic uncertainty," Spanos said in an interview with the Union-Tribune. "No good businessman is going to lock himself up unless there's certainty. You wouldn't do it in your personal life. You're never going to say never. It's unfair to ask any businessman to make a long-term commitment. It's not good business practice.

"We're making a serious commitment here - we have made a serious commitment here - and I think people realize we're sincere. It's not a question of our commitment, but can the city get something done."

December 23, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

A day before the Poinsettia Bowl between San Diego State University and Navy is set to be played there, the Qualcomm Stadium playing field was under water because of the rain that gave the region a heavy soaking this week, the San Diego Union Tribune said. Poinsettia Bowl executive director Bruce Binkowski sought to dampen speculation the soaked field wouldn't be ready for (today's) Thursday's game. "The field will be ready," he said. "The ground crew will be working all night long. There might be a few soft spots where water sunk in, but the field will be ready."

January 20, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - The San Diego Union Tribune says city officials have recommended Elite Show Services keep the 24-hour security contract at Qualcomm Stadium even though five other companies offered to do the work for less money.

The Mayor's Office is proposing to pay $350,369 a year to Elite to manage a two-person security team at the stadium 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Eleven firms submitted bids for the contract, and Elite's price was in the middle. Staff Pro of Huntington Beach offered to perform the service for the least amount of money, $296,963 per year.

The newspaper said the contract is worth much more than its face value, as the contractor also obtains exclusive rights to provide security, ticket-taking, ushering and other services at 200 or more stadium events per year. Elite has separate security contracts for San Diego Chargers and San Diego State Aztecs games.

The company has held the 24-hour stadium security contract for decades, and the exclusive right to provide services for other events at the city-owned stadium was added about four years ago.

The city had planned to give the contract to Elite through 2035 without competitive bidding, a deal exposed last year by the Union-Tribune. After the story, the city put the contract out for bid.

City procurement specialist Patrick Kelleher said in an e-mailed response to the newspaper that the city did not consider the lower bidders responsive because they would have a hard time meeting city requirements to pay a living wage including medical benefits and paid time off.

March 17, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - San Diego officials are studying their lease with the Chargers to determine if the team owes them rent if the upcoming is season is canceled, the Voice of San Diego reports.

There's a clause buried in the city of San Diego's contract with the team that allows it to forgo paying the $2.5 million rent if a "force majeure event" prevents the team from using the stadium, the web site reported.

The Chargers say that the lockout is indeed a force majeure.

That term isn't defined in the latest amended contract, so the definition falls back to the original lease, team lawyers told the Voice.

Team special counsel and its leader on the stadium debate, Mark Fabiani, told the Voice, "'Force Majeure Event' shall mean any of the following events which prevents a party from performing its obligations hereunder: any act of God, strike, lockout, etc."

May 26, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - The San Diego Union-Tribune said Qualcomm Stadium needs $79.8 million in maintenance, repairs and improvements over the next seven years, according to a new report conducted for the city of San Diego.

The two-part study, obtained by the Union-Tribune, says the city will continue to lose more than $10 million a year operating the stadium through 2020 regardless of whether the Chargers stay, get a new site in San Diego or leave the county.

In any of those three scenarios, the projected annual operating loss for San Diego is $10.6 million to $13.8 million through 2020, excluding bond debt payments and any maintenance or improvement work, according to the report.

The Chargers' Qualcomm Stadium lease runs through 2020 and the team can break it each year by paying an early termination fee, currently about $24 million. The Chargers have sought a new stadium for nearly a decade and been in talks with Mayor Jerry Sanders for months to build a venue downtown east of Petco Park.

The newspaper said no specific proposal is expected to emerge any time soon, and competing Los Angeles developers are pursuing their own stadium, which one day could become an option for the Chargers.

After reviewing the report, Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani told the Union-Tribune city officials have tough choices ahead.

"We believe we've presented some better alternatives," Fabiani said. "If people don't want to pursue those alternatives, then obviously the city has to make decisions about what to do with the building, and the decisions will only get more difficult as the building gets older."

Fabiani called the report, commissioned by the city for $184,000 last year, "the most extensive review of the deferred maintenance that's ever been done." He said the team hasn't looked at that issue on its own for the past couple years. Over the past decade, deferred maintenance on the 44-year-old city-owned stadium has been estimated at $50 million.

Lawyer David Watson, the chairman of the city's Citizens' Task Force on Chargers Issues in 2002, called the new estimate "a very logical, reasonable assessment" but added, "I just don't know if it's going to make anyone happy."

Any spending on the stadium would have to be weighed against other city needs at a time when Sanders has proposed halving hours of libraries, he told the newspaper.

"If there was no question at all that the Chargers were going to stay then it might be worthwhile to put forth the effort to make all the repairs you're talking about," Watson said. "But if the Chargers leave, they (city officials) better have a plan to justify that."

If the Chargers leave the stadium, the report says "the number of parking lot events (at the stadium) will increase in the years without an anchor tenant. ... However, the estimated revenues generated by the additional parking lot events are not enough to offset the decline in revenues that will come with the loss of the anchor tenants and events in the stadium."

The report was conducted by contractors AECOM and Magellan Consulting. Its work in San Diego came in response to a 2009 city audit that said the stadium had no formalized business plan and should aggressively pursue new revenue streams to offset its dependence on city hotel-room tax revenue.

The report did not address what to do with the stadium if the Chargers leave or if the city should build a new stadium for the team, though it is certain to become fodder in that ongoing issue. The stadium's future has been in question as the Chargers pursue a new stadium with increased revenue-producing capacity.

If the Chargers leave San Diego County, the city would have to consider the viability of maintaining the stadium for San Diego State football games (six or seven home games per year), plus two bowl games in late December as its major tenants. In either case, the city could decide to sell the 166-acre Mission Valley site, redevelop it or lease it, the Union-Tribune said.

"It is important to note that Qualcomm Stadium operating at a loss is not a unique example of a major stadium with an NFL franchise operating at a deficit and receiving city funding," the report said. "Many city-operated, NFL buildings receive some form of public funding on an annual basis."

The report recommends the stadium improve its revenue through better leases with the Holiday and Poinsettia bowls, whose contracts with the city expired in December and are being negotiated. The report also recommends better ticket distribution deals, better pricing for use of its parking lot and improved marketing opportunities by networking with other stadiums around the country.

The report assessed the condition of the stadium and said nearly $80 million in maintenance and improvements were needed, including $18 million in mechanical issues, $17 million in site repairs which includes the parking lot and $12 million in plumbing. A new video display board would cost $9.6 million.

The report ranks the repairs in four categories according to priority. Of the $79.8 million in repairs and improvements needed, the report said $43.9 million were "Priority Two" items - defined as issues that may become critical concerns directly affecting the facility's ability to remain operational if not addressed soon. Only $1,546 in electrical issues were deemed to be "mission critical" items - concerns that affect the stadium's ability to remain operational.

The report estimated $30.2 million of the $79.8 million to be "short-term conditions" that are necessary for the facility to function but may not require immediate attention. The remainder - $5.7 million - was deemed to be "long-term requirements" which are likely to be require attention within five years, or would be considered enhancements to the facility.

September 22, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - A team of local architects is proposing that the 44-year-old Qualcomm Stadium be renovated for the Chargers, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.

They told the newspaper a major remodel to modernize locker rooms and the press box, widen concourses, improve technology and add restaurants, lounges, premium seats and bathrooms - would cost only about $250 million, or one-fourth the cost of a new stadium. They also said it would preserve an important piece of local architecture and help keep the Chargers from moving to Los Angeles, as some fans worry will happen.

The architects have a vision but no drawings, a new manifesto but not the support of the team. Yet they hold out hope.

That's in part because they speak for a broad constituency. Nearly a decade into the Chargers' search for a new facility, many San Diegans still suggest that the simplest solution is to renovate the existing stadium.

Retired architect Jack Carpenter, who is leading the local preservationists' effort, said Qualcomm Stadium received a national design award from the American Institute of Architects after it opened in 1967 and could be a model again.

"It could be an award-winning building again if they fixed it," he said.

But Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani disagrees and last month Mayor Jerry Sanders said he wouldn't "spin our wheels" talking about a renovation.

Fabiani and Sanders spokesman Darren Pudgil reiterated the point to the Union Tribune. "Renovating the stadium is an old idea that was ruled out a long time ago," Pudgil told the newspaper. "We're way past that."

Last month, Carpenter toured Qualcomm with Gary Allen, the original stadium design architect, exploring ways to modernize it, though not how to pay for it. Allen said construction could be phased in to avoid missing any games.

"I think it just needs somebody with a lot of money to fix it up," Allen said. "Open pocketbooks do a lot of things for you."

Carpenter and his dozen or so architects suggest the city sell or lease part of the 122-acre Qualcomm Stadium parking lot in Mission Valley for commercial development to pay for the renovation. They also suggest building a 500- to 1,000-space garage and creating a shuttle system that could connect the stadium with other commercial garages and lots in the area on game days.

Economist Alan Nevin, a principal at London Group Realty Advisers who helped the Chargers value the 166-acre Qualcomm site when it was considering a new stadium there eight years ago, estimates selling the lot now could generate $250 million to $350 million if a single company bought a large parcel, the newspaper said.

Any redevelopment would be complicated by the site's location in a floodplain, extensive underground gasoline contamination from a nearby oil farm and traffic from homes and businesses in the area. Also, any sale of more than 80 acres of city land requires a public vote under the charter.

Fabiani said the "fatal flaw" with the plan from Carpenter's group is "obvious for everyone to see."

"If you sell or lease the Qualcomm parking lot to pay for the cost of the renovations, then people will have no place to park and the stadium will be unable to function for the Chargers, SDSU and college bowl games," he told the Union Tribune.

Fabiani also said the Chargers paid for a study in 2003 that concluded renovating Qualcomm Stadium "made no financial sense." That study by architecture firm HOK (now Populous) concluded that renovating Qualcomm would cost $353 million while building a new stadium would cost only $10 million more.

Without "new and compelling evidence to the contrary," Fabiani said, "there is no reason for us, at this late date, to be revisiting this issue and diverting energy and resources from the downtown San Diego stadium proposal."

December 15, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Qualcomm has received approval from the city, Chargers and college bowl organizers to change the name of the San Diego venue that bears its name to Snapdragon Stadium. Work to modify signage will start next week. After games that fall between Dec. 18 and Dec. 28, the Snapdragon signage will be removed and the stadium will revert back to Qualcomm Stadium. Snapdragon is the brand name for the company's family of application processors that power smartphones. The San Diego Union Tribune said the company won't release specific costs, but Novak said the renaming effort will be less than the price of a 30-second commercial in the Charges-Ravens game. Ad Age estimates an advertising spot in a highly rated NFL game would come in around $500,000.

January 12, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - San Diego's city attorney has raised questions about the legality of renaming Qualcomm Stadium to Snapdragon Stadium for 10 days, the San Diego Reader reported. The newspaper said San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith voiced an opinion that said Qualcomm's name change gambit was not legal, and by implication could cost city taxpayers a substantial amount of money in the form of lost advertising revenue.

According to a December 7 memo from San Diego deputy city attorney Carrie L. Gleeson to Qualcomm Stadium marketing manager Mike McSweeney, "You have asked us to determine whether this proposal is legally permissible.

"Based upon the contract provisions governing Qualcomm's naming rights at the Stadium, and the City's Sign Ordinance, we conclude that it is not."

The memo went on to recount the history of the 1997 deal by which Qualcomm agreed to pay the city $18 million for twenty years of stadium naming rights.

"Under the Agreement, the City granted Qualcomm the exclusive right to name the Stadium, agreed to change all identifying and directional signage at the Stadium and within the City limits to 'Qualcomm Stadium,' along with maps, brochures, advertising, and other promotional or informational documents, and to rename 'Stadium Way' to 'Qualcomm Way.'

"Qualcomm's proposal seeks to use the identifying signage to promote its new product without paying any additional consideration to which the City would otherwise be entitled. "Qualcomm does not have that right under the Agreement.

"Per the Agreement, the content of the identifying signs is clearly limited to the name of the Stadium as 'Qualcomm Stadium,' and not subject to use for advertising.

"Putting aside the issue of whether such a change is really a change of name as opposed to advertising, any name change requires the prior written consent of the City authorized by a resolution of the City Council."

Added the memo:
"If Qualcomm desires to rename the Stadium to 'Snapdragon by Qualcomm,' even on a temporary basis, Qualcomm must first obtain the City's written consent authorized by Council resolution." Gleeson said the plan also violated the city's long-standing ban on so-called off premise signs.

"By adding 'Snapdragon' to the exterior name signs at the Stadium, Qualcomm's proposal would convert signs that currently identify the Stadium and are consistent with the City's Sign Ordinance into signs that advertise a Qualcomm product and appear to be at odds with the City's Sign Ordinance.

"There is no dispute that the purpose of adding 'Snapdragon' to the name signs is to advertise a new Qualcomm product."

In conclusion, Gleeson wrote, "Qualcomm or its assignee may seek to change the name of the Stadium, but cannot effectuate such a change without the prior approval of the City Council.

"Qualcomm may, under the terms of the Agreement, purchase advertising at the Stadium, but it has no right to use the signage identifying the name of the Stadium for advertising.

"The purpose of the Agreement is to name the Stadium, not to sell advertising space.

"Even if under the terms of the Agreement and Signage Plan the parties could change the text of the name signs, the new text must comply with the City's Sign Ordinance, and may not include offsite advertising."

The city attorney opinion was made available pursuant to a request made under the California public records act. The city attorney's office said all other related documentation was exempt from disclosure under "the attorney-client communication and work product privileges" of the law.

January 12, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

San Diego, Calif. - Mayor Jerry Sanders and Chargers owner Dean Spanos announced the team would not pay the city nearly $24 million to break its lease and move to another city this year, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.

Each year until 2020, from Feb. 1 through May 1, the team is able to relocate by paying San Diego a fee that decreases about $2 million to $3 million a year.

An announcement that the team would stay had seemed inevitable for months as momentum behind competing Los Angeles stadium plans slowed, leaving the Chargers nowhere to go.

But the joint statement and an accompanying one from Chargers' special counsel Mark Fabiani did suggest to the newspaper something new: That both sides are on the same page again after months of brinksmanship.

Spokesmen for Sanders and Spanos have publicly pushed separate stadium ideas for some time, but Fabiani said the team would table its plan for a stadium that doubles as convention center space in hopes of finding common ground. He said the team's proposal could be revived if Sanders' convention center expansion falters.

Sanders has long maintained that a convention center expansion should proceed separately from stadium construction six blocks away on an East Village bus yard.

In a nod to Sanders' preferred way to pay for a new stadium, the statement from he and Spanos said, "Both the Mayor's Office and the Chargers look forward to continuing their joint efforts to build a multi-use stadium that will benefit the entire region."

Fabiani said it remains unclear how to pay for a possible $1 billion stadium but both sides still agree the East Village site is the best option.

He added: "The Chargers are going to continue what we have been doing now for quite some time now: Work cooperatively with the Mayor throughout the remainder of his term on stadium solutions that are mutually acceptable to the team and to the Mayor."

Sanders reiterated to the newspaper his resistance to include a tax increase in a stadium plan. In part because Sanders' push for a temporary sales tax increase failed miserably at the ballot box last year, he has told his New York stadium consultants to find other funding sources.

Sanders leaves office this year because of term limits, and both he and the Chargers have continually said they want the public to vote on a stadium financing plan in November, his last full month in office. A plan, which could involve hundreds of millions of dollars of public money, could be ready for public review by March.

Fabiani's suggestion that a referendum on the plan might slide to a special election in the spring of 2013 marked the first time either he or the mayor has publicly proposed leaving the project in the hands of a new San Diego mayor.

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