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What Are The Chargers Worth To San Diego?

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Video published November 19, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: Reports that the Spanos family, owners of the Chargers, are looking to sell a stake in the team has renewed speculation that the Bolts may leave San Diego. Tonight, we ask if the Chargers go, how will the city be affected? Veteran San Diego Union-Tribune sports columnist Tim Sullivan gives us some answers.

Reports that the Spanos family, owners of the Chargers, are looking to sell a stake in the team has renewed speculation that the Bolts may leave San Diego. Tonight, we ask if the Chargers go, how will the city be affected? Joining me is veteran Union-Tribune sports columnist Tim Sullivan.

Guest

Tim Sullivan, sports columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

REPORT S OF THE OWNERS OF THE CHARGERS ARE LOOKING TO SELL A STAKE IN THE TEAM HAS RENEWED SPECULATION THAT THEY MAY LEAVE SAN DIEGO. TONIGHT WE ASK IF THE CHARGERS GO HOW WILL THE CITY BE AFFECTED? JOINING ME IS VETERAN SPORTS COLUMNIST TIM SULLIVAN. WELCOME. >> THANK YOU .

YOU WROTE A PRETTY STERN COLUMN THIS WEEK COMPARING NFL TO THE GOOD FATHER SHAKING DOWN AMERICAN CITIES. WITH THE CHARGES PRESSURING FOR A NEW STADIUM DOWNTOWN IS SAN DIEGO BEING EXTORTED BY THE LOCAL TEAM?

IT IS LESS EGREGIOUS HERE THAN OTHER CITIES IN AMERICA. THERE HAVE BEEN 22 NFL STADIUMS BUILT SINCE 1990. THREE HAVE RENOVATIONS THAT RAN OVER $200 MILLION. THE FACT THAT THE THREE OLDEST STADIUMS IN THE LEAGUE SPEAKS WELL TO OUR RESISTANCE OF THE PRESSURE. WE ARE BEING SQUEEZED IN THE LOS ANGELES THREAT AND THE MINORITY SHARE IN THE TEAM.

IT IS NOT QUESTION OF WHETHER WE ARE BEING EXTORTED IT IS A QUESTION OF HOW ELEGANTLY WE ARE BEING EXTORTED?

IT IS A QUESTION OF HOW GOOD A DEAL CAN BE CUT. VARIOUS MECHANISMS MAKE SINCE. I COULD LIKE TO SEE A PERSONAL SEAT LICENSE SO THE PEOPLE USING THE STADIUM ARE PLAYING A LARGER PERCENTAGE. CHARGERS SAY THAT WON'T FLY. I DON'T KNOW IF WE SHOULD ASSUME THAT THE $500 MILLION PUBLIC COMPONENT IS PROJECTED IS NONNEGOTIABLE. WE NEED A PUSH BACK. WE NEED A BETTER DEAL FOR THE CITY THAN NEGOTIATED LAST TIME OR THE TIME BEFORE THAT.

YOU ARE SAYING PUBLIC MONIES WILL BE INVOLVED IF WE BUILD A STADIUM HERE?

ABSOLUTELY. THAT'S THE ONLY WAY THESE DEALS GET DONE. CHARGERS HAVE LEVERAGE. THEY HAVE POSSIBILITY OF AN ALTERNATIVE IN LOS ANGELES. THAT THREAT IS LIKELY TO MOVE THE NEEDLE A LITTLE BIT. WHETHER IT MOVES IT FAR ENOUGH TO GET HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF SUBSIDIES IS A FAIR QUESTION. IT IS A DIFFICULT CAMPAIGN THEY ARE GOING TO RUN.

HOW REALISTIC IS IT FOR THE CHARGERS TO GO TO LOS ANGELES? ARE THERE OTHER TEAMS MORE DESIRABLE FROM THE NFL'S POINT OF VIEW?

THE MOST DESIRABLE SITUATION FROM THE NFL'S POINT OF VIEW IS EXPANSION TEAM THAT PAYS UP FRONT FEE TO ALL OF THE OWNERS. THAT SAID, THERE IS AN ADVANTAGE TO KEEP 32. YOU DON'T HAVE TO SPLIT UP THE PIE AS MUCH. THERE ARE PROBABLY FIVE TEAMS NOW STUMPING FOR BETTER DEALS IN THEIR HOME CITIES. ANY OF THOSE COULD BE CANDIDATES FOR LOS ANGELES. THE CHARGERS, I THINK, HAVE THE EASIEST OUT IN THE LEASE.

WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE SPANOS FAMILY SALING A STAKE IN THE TEAM?

I THINK THERE ARE MORE QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED. THE IDEA THAT THEY ARE TRYING TO PREPARE FOR STATE TAXES AND THE PASSING OF ALEX MAKES SENSE. THE QUESTION IS IF GOLDMAN SAKS IS SHOPPING THE INTEREST TO PERSPECTIVE BUYERS HOW ARE THEY SELLING IT? A SAN DIEGO TEAM? A POTENTIAL LOS ANGELES TEAM? PRICE TAGS ARE DIFFERENT IF YOU ARE BUYING IN THE SCENARIOS.

THE QUESTION PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW IS WHAT IMPACT DO CHARGERS HAVE ON SAN DIEGO'S ECONOMY? IF THE CHARGERS GO WILL OUR ECONOMY SUFFER?

I DON'T THINK IT IS AN ECONOMIC QUESTION. IT IS AN EMOTIONAL QUESTION. YOU CAN PROBABLY INVEST THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY IN A COUPLE OF WALMARTS OR MAYBE SEVERAL AND CREATE MORE JOBS. THE CHARGERS ARE A BOND THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT. AND WOULD LIKE TO PRESERVE. AS AN ECONOMIC ENGINE IT IS A VERY SMALL PART OF THE LOCAL ECONOMY. GIVEN THE WAY THAT THESE DEALS TEND TO BE STRUCTURED IT IS A NET LOSS FOR VIRTUALLY ANY CITY TO BUILD A FOOT STADIUM.

WHAT ABOUT THE IDEA OF SUPERBOWLS HERE TO BRING IN MONEY?

YOU MAY GET A SUPERBOWL EVERY TEN YEARS BUT YOU DON'T BUILD A STADIUM ON THAT BASIS. IF IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO DO IT ON A LONG TERM BASIS YOU DON'T DO IT FOR ONE DAY IN A DECADE. IT WOULD BE A GREAT THING TO BE THE SUPERBOWL BACK. A LOT OF ESTIMATES OF THE ECONOMIC IMPACT ARE INFLATED BUT THAT'S NOT A REASON DO IT.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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