“A very significant building that we think needs to be acknowledged and celebrated.”
“A beautiful building.”
“There’s a lot going on, but the design is very clean.”
Those were all things a group of about two dozen architects and architecture students said as they toured a San Diego building this week.
They were talking about Qualcomm Stadium.
Yes, the Qualcomm Stadium that the Chargers hate so much they might leave the city over. The Qualcomm Stadium that draws Yelp reviews from fans calling it “old, decrepit and an eyesore.” The Qualcomm Stadium that NBC analyst Chris Collinsworth called “a terrible stadium” that was arguably the worst in the NFL.
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I have been to many games, both football and baseball, since the Stadium opened in 1967 including the first one which was a preseason game against the Detroit Lions. I think it is a fine stadium only marred by the enclosure of the open end by the expansion in the 90s. All of the problems (locker rooms, scoreboard, electrical, bathrooms, leaks) cited could be resolved at a much lower cost than a new stadium. Of course, that would not bring in additional revenue to the Spanos family in terms of luxury boxes etc. We would think it foolish to tear down a house or other building that was only 48 years old since it is more efficient to remodel than demolish and build something new unless of course you are having it done on someone else's dime (in this case the taxpayers). I have driven by the football stadium in Glendale Arizona (site of the last Superbowl) and it always reminds me of a giant inflatable with absolutely no character. The problem with the Spanos family is that they are greedy and have demonstrated great incompetence when it comes to running a pro football team. I guess we should not be surprised that Dean Spanos was a big supporter of Rick "oops" Perry for President in 2008. It just shows the quality of his judgement.
A $600 Mil. stadium renovation paid for by the NFL + local owner would do marvels. This city can not afford a public subsidy. Only a 100% private stadium deal will do.
Don't I recall a VOSD report a few months ago ... the consulting architect detailed about $80 million of repairs that would completely restore the stadium? I'll not make excuses for mismanagement of the stadium, but it's painful to imagine demolishing our valuable asset because of NFL pressure. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is certainly long in the tooth, yet it seems to keep trucking along.
When Spanos' dastardly plans fall through, he'll need a venue for his miserable team's home games. Time to renegotiate the lease?
Remember the last time they had the Super Bowl here (Yes, they had more than one in this “junkpile”)? One of the announcers opined that he didn’t understand why they didn’t play all Super Bowls in San Diego. I can’t recall who it was, but he’s probably not doing NFL broadcasts any more. Suddenly, Qualcomm became unacceptable, arguably the worst stadium in pro football.
Most fans don’t know this, but attendance has held up remarkably well despite lousy teams recently, e.g., averaging last year 65,432 per home game, ranking 21st of 32 teams. Below the Chargers were teams with better records, including Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Arizona and Cincinnati. So, what’s the Chargers real beef?
I think we’d all agree you can’t believe much of what Spanos says. The stadium has a disgraceful amount of deferred maintenance, particularly considering what the city pays annually in upkeep, but I believe it’s this simple: The Chargers have never gotten over the fact the Padres got a new stadium, and downtown, courtesy of the taxpayers, and they felt entitled to one as well, despite the fact that the extensive remodel, for which taxpayers still have 50 mil to pay off, was done to satisfy the Chargers and made baseball much less workable at Qualcomm.
Some say an L.A. location could at least double the value of their team. They may be right, but attendance figures in L.A. haven’t been sensational in the past. Maybe it’s the stadium, e.g., the Coliseum and the Rose Bowl are both much, much older than Qualcomm. None of the three have the quantity of luxurious seating many newer NFL stadiums have, or bells and whistles like gigantic scoreboards, but much of this stuff could be added in a remodel. In case you haven’t noticed, the NFL isn’t interested in catering to Joe Sixpack. It wants people with serious dough to pay for PSLs, then fork over big bucks for season tickets in posh seats. Maybe we just don't have enough millionaires to satisfy Spanos, who isn't used to rubbing elbows with the hoi polloi.
My couch is posh enough. I really don’t think the Chargers have earned the attendance they are getting, albeit much of it from L.A./Orange counties. I don’t know what, if anything will go on a ballot at this point, but I hope they split. I’m tired of the constant whining and bad-mouthing of city leadership.
@Bill Bradshaw --The last Super Bowl that was played here was only here due to the fact that the original 49ers stadium plan was derailed, so the game ended up here instead.
All 4 cities you list have smaller capacity stadiums than San Diego.
The Padres took a calculated gamble that they could sign all sign revenue over to the Chargers, claim poverty, and parlay that into a new ballpark. Looks like it worked. Also, that "extensive" remodel wasn't much more than adding seats--while removing seats from the original expansion in the early 80's.
You are absolutely correct in your 4th paragraph.
The Chargers attendance is bolstered by many fans of the visiting teams having moved to this area over the years--hence the thousands of visiting team fans in the Q, which has been increasing in recent years.
@David Crossley @Bill Bradshaw
David, I haven’t been to a football game at Qualcomm since the Holiday Bowl over 10 years ago when Oregon beat Texas in a real shoot out thriller. I sure got my money’s worth on that one. However, when you say the remodel wasn’t much, I seem to recall they spent about 80 mil on it. Something must have been substantially improved. Oh, I forgot, this IS San Diego.
My point about attendance is that Spanos, who has really done very little to bolster attendance or improve the team in over 30 years while sporting a record under .500, really has no leg to stand on when he constantly whines about how uncooperative the city has been in giving him a new stadium. Organizers of the two bowl games held here each year seem content, the Aztecs aren’t crying, what’s Spanos problem?
Here’s another interesting factoid, courtesy of the internet: There are 10 teams with a lower franchise value than the Chargers, including New Orleans, Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Tampa Bay. How come none of these people are threatening to move? To hear Spanos tell it, the San Diego situation is the worst in the league.
Spanos is a chronic whiner who is so brilliant he had to hire a consultant to find him a coach and G.M. When presented with two guys who had never done the job he grabbed them. Now he has installed one son as Vice President of Football Operations, i.e., as boss of the GM he hired a consultant to pick. He’s grooming his other son to run business operations. I can hardly wait.
We should go in hock for a doofus like this? No wonder some of the L.A. sportswriters refer to the Chargers as the “Spanos Goofs”.
@Bill Bradshaw @David Crossley --Again, it wasn't much of a remodel. The main thing was to add some more (alleged) luxury boxes and about 10,000 more seats to make the stadium large enough for Super Bowls.
Agreed that Spanos shouldn't be complaining about attendance. For that matter, he should be happy that he made (according to Forbes) $64.8 mil while playing at the Q last year. And no, the Aztecs aren't crying, but they aren't making any money either, and they are wondering what is going to happen if/when the Chargers leave the Q.
Those other teams you mention have new (or fairly new) stadiums, or in the case of New Orleans, rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina, so they have no need to threaten to go anywhere.
I'm beginning to think that Spanos just wants to move this franchise to LA so he can sell it, be done with it, and make as much money as he can when he sells it.
"(some of the electrical outlets in the club lounge weren't working)". And that is in one of the newest parts of the stadium.