It’s the most common rallying cry against a new Chargers stadium: San Diego taxpayers shouldn’t subsidize a football team.
And yet, they already do. Last year, the city spent a whopping $12 million to operate the Chargers’ current home at Qualcomm Stadium. It’s a tale of shoddy contract negotiations, lawsuits and the city’s inability to attract many high-paying events to the stadium other than the Chargers.
This is how it all happens. Let’s start with the Chargers.
File photo by Sam Hodgson
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers
The team is supposed to pay the city $3 million a year in rent. But the team’s lease with the city allows it to count parking revenues, a percentage of beer, popcorn and other concessions and the city’s suite at Qualcomm all against its rent. Factor in a settlement to a lawsuit over disabled access at the stadium, which requires the city to pay the team roughly $1.3 million a year, and the city actually owes the Chargers money at the end of every season. Last year, the city ended up paying the Chargers $800,000.
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