A San Diego County grand jury report slammed city-owned Qualcomm Stadium, reporting that the city loses about $17 million each year operating the stadium. That number does not include money the city might make at Qualcomm from events other than Chargers games, such as college football bowl games and monster truck rallies.
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The city collects $2.5 million a season from the Chargers, plus 10 percent of any post-season ticket sales. For its part, the football team keeps revenue from sky boxes, advertising and parking.
San Diego County Grand Jury report estimates city taxpayers would lose $11.8 million this year operating Qualcomm Stadium.
In that report released Wednesday, the grand jury details how, aside from income from non-Chargers events, the stadium is a "losing proposition."
The report compared San Diego's agreement with that of one between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the city of Tampa Bay in which the Bucs pay a fixed rent of $3.5 million per season and a minimum of $3.5 million from the sale of club seats. The Florida city also collects surcharges of up to $2.50 per ticket for the use of its stadium. The Buccaneers retain parking revenues, advertising and marketing rights for the stadium.
The grand jury also cited polls from news organizations in gauging public opinion, stating that San Diego voters do not want taxpayer dollars for stadium construction and that they are opposed to using public money to keep the Chargers in San Diego.
The grand jury recommended the city negotiate better terms for the public-financed stadium the Chargers want to build and also advised the city to resolve the $52 million in outstanding debt from the 1997 Qualcomm Stadium renovation.
"Of course the city will perform its due diligence on any proposal to build a new stadium. Not only that, but the voters will have the final say," mayor spokesman Darren Pudgil said. "This will be a responsible plan that protects taxpayers or we won't put it on the ballot."
Editor's note: This post was updated on May 26 after the Voice of San Diego brought the information to light that the number $11.8 million in operating losses is detailed in the Grand Jury report and the $17 million number does not include income from non-Chargers events.