How does Atlanta’s New Stadium Plan Affect the San Diego Chargers Quest for a New Stadium?

In lieu of the Atlanta Falcons getting their new stadium proposal accepted by the city, San Diego is left wondering when might the Chargers get approved for their new stadium.

[caption id="attachment_320" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="This is one of the many ideas for a new Chargers' Stadium"]Courtesy of:[/caption]

Over the past decade, the city of San Diego and the Chargers have been battling about the prospect of building a new stadium; and with Atlanta getting approved for their stadium it would seem that the pressure is now on San Diego to follow suit.

Funds for the new Falcons’ stadium plan consist of $800 million put forward by its team owner, Arthur Blank, with an additional $200 million coming from the city’s motel-hotel taxes.

Newly elected Mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, states that he will be the “toughest negotiator the Chargers have ever faced.” Filner continues to have a strong emphasis on taking care of the city and its taxpayers; and in his mind, a new stadium is not the answer.

Aside from the fact that Qualcomm stadium is one of the worst stadiums in the NFL, the NFL has made it adamantly known that if the Chargers don’t get a new stadium, or at the very least renovate their existing one, the Super Bowl will never be hosted in San Diego again.

Think about that one, Mayor Filner.

The past two cities that hosted the Super Bowl (Indianapolis and New Orleans) generated roughly $150 million each—the Super Bowl generates the most of any professional sports’ championship series.

Is that still not good enough to entice you, Mr. Mayor?

Blank is so eager to get this project that he decided to alter the original deal of putting forth $700 million and the city pitching in $300 million, he’s added an extra $100 million. Why can’t Chargers’ owner Dean Spanos do the same thing?

[caption id="attachment_322" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Spanos has been under a lot of heat trying to get the team a new home"]Photo Credit: AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi[/caption]

The difference between Blank and Spanos’ net worth is roughly $300 million. Is it too really much to ask a man who’s net worth is $1.1 billion to spend a little more money and expedite the process as Blank did?

Qualcomm stadium opened in 1967 and has seen few—if any—significant changes to its structure since. Between 1969 and 2003, the Chargers and San Diego Padres shared Qualcomm Stadium; further causing wear-and-tear on the already inadequate stadium. Add nearly five decades of this and you’ve got your current, dilapidated Qualcomm Stadium.

The Padres, yes the lowly Padres, received a $450 million stadium right in the heart of downtown in 2004.

That stadium has bolstered downtown livelihood. Local bars, restaurants and hotels have all seen the benefits of having a team downtown; imagine what the Chargers and a potential Super Bowl would bring.

[caption id="attachment_324" align="alignleft" width="231" caption="Mayor Bob Filner is the Chargers' biggest kryptonite for a new stadium "]Photo Credit: Jamie Scott Lytle[/caption]

But again this won’t help the taxpayers and city, right Mayor Filner?

In an era where the most profitable entity in the nation is a professional sports team, why is San Diego trying extremely hard to push out their biggest asset?

Most recent news has the Bolts proposing an $800 million stadium, and in the grand scheme of the NFL and new stadiums being built, that is indeed a bargain.

The new Vikings Stadium is projected to come in slightly below $1 billion.

Beautifully designed Cowboys Stadium, which opened in 2009, cost over $1.1 billion.

New San Francisco 49ers’ stadium (Santa Clara Stadium) is estimated to cost a whopping total of $1.2 billion.

So what is $800 million really in the scheme of keeping the team in San Diego and guaranteeing a Super Bowl within five years of it opening?

It is not going to be an easier process now that the Falcons got their deal all but signed off, but it is going to put the pressure on the Spanos family and government officials as the total number of teams that are up for moving to Los Angeles are dwindling.

Rumors state that as of right now the negotiations between the city of Los Angeles, the Anschutz Entertainment Group (the company in charge of funding the construction of the LA stadium) and the NFL are absolutely dead.

I find it hard to believe that talks have gone silent, as this may be a PR move so the group and city can talk without the pressure of media outlets breathing down their necks, but that is purely my speculation. This gives San Diego and the Chargers at least a two-year cushion to iron out their problems.

Former San Diego Port Commissioner Steve Cushman said that the best thing to do is to redo Qualcomm Stadium rather than build a whole new stadium. With this ideology, the Chargers will be able to afford the changes without the help of public money; thus helping with Mayor Filner’s goal.

Now would altering Qualcomm Stadium be enough to allow the NFL to think that the stadium is suitable to host another Super Bowl and keep the Chargers in San Diego?

That has yet to be determined, but it would sure be a lot better than what they are doing right now—absolutely nothing.

To recap, the approval of the Atlanta Falcons new stadium deal has an immense impact on the Chargers and their future in San Diego. The ball is in the front office and city’s court now.

[caption id="attachment_327" align="alignright" width="216" caption="Is this a serious possibility? "]Courtesy:[/caption]

Can the Bolts use the success of the Falcons to catapult themselves into a new stadium or at least renovations to their current dump of a stadium?

I think yes; but other critics may not be as optimistic as I am. More and more rumors will surface now that the NFL is in their offseason, stayed tuned as I will follow any developing stories as they break.

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