The Chargers are gone … Soccer City is on hold … and San Diego State University has a new plan that may or may not work. But while the future of the land where Qualcomm Stadium sits is in limbo, the City of San Diego does not want to squander the present.
A document obtained by NBC 7 shows the City was preparing for the NFL team to move to Los Angeles before the official announcement was made and outlines a Business and Marketing plan for continued operations of the stadium and the surrounding acreage, including the parking lot and practice field, from 2016-2018.
The plan to market and monetize the massive chunk of real estate in Mission Valley starts by outlining several strengths and weaknesses of the site. On the plus side are the 70,500 seating capacity, public transportation on site, massive parking lot and location close to major freeways.
The negatives, however, take a lot more ink, including the age of the stadium, lack of messaging and video board capability, heavy traffic concerns, limited press and broadcast facilities and overall dated design of the place.
With all that in mind the strategy for trying to pull events to Qualcomm Stadium (for as long as it’s still standing) are size and nostalgia. The Q has hosted Super Bowls, the World Series, the MLB All-Star Game and multiple major headlining concerts. Plus it is one of the largest spots on the West Coast in terms of how many people can fit there at once.
So the plan calls for recruiting the following types of clients and events (the following bullet points taken directly from the plan):
• Automotive Industry events. New product roll outs, Sales demos, Truck manufacturers, Tire companies, press events
• RV Industry for large scale rallies, new product roll outs, sales to the public
• Film Industry. Event coordinator will work with City Film office, location scouts, and TV networks.
• Major established outdoor festivals. Weekend long events with minimum load in/load out schedules. They must have an established track record in other out of market locales.
These types of happenings last multiple days and require a lot of space. As for how the City attracts and lands these types of events and clients, there is a strategy for that, as well, including potentially altering the price for use of the facilities (again the following bullet points taken directly from the plan):
• Aggressive Rental Agreements. Meeting with promoters to look more creatively at rental agreements that result in a true partnership with each other. Moving off the Rate Card and looking at expanding revenue streams can result in garnering new events. This strategy, employed in 2015/2016 resulted in adding three new concerts at Qualcomm after a drought of 12 years. The results of which, will add an estimated $750,000 to stadium revenues.
• Interaction with the local Sports Branch of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. By involving support from ConVis, promoters of sporting events see this as a valuable tool in helping ticket sales. Provided at no cost to the promoter, ConVis plays a vital role in attracting new business.
• Creative ideas on the sale of Food and Beverage and Merchandise. Optimizing areas for Food and Beverage sales (F&B) makes for a friendlier and open environment for ticket buyers. Unique set ups for Bars, Specialty food service and merchandise increase the fan experience and promotes return business on the next event. This is important to promoters and event producers as they may receive a share of each category to make the event work.
• Service. Simply put, the easier stadium management can make the production end of the event, the easier it is for the promoter. By doing so, stadium management can make real, measurable savings on behalf of the promoter. Blending stadium staff during load in, the event, and load out, makes the promoter experience more pleasurable. If a decision to be made by the promoter to either take the event to another building or Qualcomm, promoters will remember first, their experience in Qualcomm as to whether it was good or bad. Ease of use, local support by stadium staff, and other City/County marketing services make for the perfect promoter experience.
To achieve these goals the plan also does include finding a budget to travel and actively recruit potential events. The plan does mention the need for San Diego State to decide on its occupancy of Qualcomm Stadium for the next 5-10 years but that was determined long before the University announced it was developing a proposal to redevelop the land.
Until a final decision is made on who gets to cash in on the nearly 200 acres in Mission Valley, expect to see a lot more car shows, festivals, and perhaps even a few movies shot where Qualcomm Stadium sits as the City of San Diego tries to make at least a little money off of the aging structure before it’s mercifully replaced.