Chargers to defend stadium math that some say doesn’t add up
SAN DIEGO — After a bruising couple of weeks that saw three critical reports come out on the Chargers’ plan to build a stadium and convention center annex in downtown San Diego, the team plans to go on offense Wednesday morning by releasing a team-commissioned economic study on the proposal.
The Chargers are putting their plans before voters in November as Measure C, which sets out a financial and land-use framework for the project. It needs 66 percent approval to pass because it would increase San Diego’s hotel room tax.
The city of San Diego’s Tourism Marketing District, the financial consultant Public Resources Advisory Group and the San Diego County Taxpayers Association each issued reports contending that the Chargers’ plan for paying for construction and operations of the facility doesn’t add up.
Those reports were balanced somewhat by a fiscal analysis from the city’s Independent Budget Analyst’s office, which suggested that an increase in the city’s hotel room tax would likely raise enough money to pay for the public contribution to the estimated $1.8 billion project, but only if the team’s estimates hold up.
But like the taxpayers’ group, the IBA cautioned that the city’s general fund — which pays for basic services like public safety and libraries — would be put at risk if revenue projections are overly optimistic. The IBA issued its fiscal analysis of Measure C on Monday.
According to the Chargers, the team’s consultants determined demand, and projected impacts and benefits associated with the project, including greater attendance, more room nights and higher hotel rates.
The consultants, Rob Hunden of Hunden Strategic Partners and David O’Neal of Conventional Wisdom, are scheduled to attend a news conference for the study’s release.
The Chargers, who’ve wanted a new stadium for about 15 years, have proposed to build the facility in the East Village near Petco Park. The team and National Football League would contribute $650 million and the public would add the rest by raising the hotel room tax to 16.5 percent — from the current 10.5 percent plus 2 percent tourism marketing fee.
The Chargers have agreed to play in the new facility for 30 years if Measure C passes. If it doesn’t, the team has an option to join the Rams as the second tenant of a future stadium in Inglewood in Los Angeles County.