Full disclosure, I’m a lifelong Chargers fan. I’ve suffered with the team through the lean years and reveled in the joy of playoff runs. I’ve been very vocal about wanting to keep the team in San Diego. Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of approaching this situation as just a fan. As a City Council member, I have to balance being a fan with the needs of the city.

The Chargers’ initiative proposes building a joint football stadium and convention center expansion. This type of joint facility has come to be known locally as a convadium. It’s a fitting and catchy name to describe the proposed facility and others of its kind. The term convadium, however, may be a name without real meaning. A convadium shouldn’t be defined by how it is designed, it should be defined by how it operates.

The Chargers have touted on several occasions that their proposed facility will operate just like Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts. I thought it only fair to look at how Lucas Oil Stadium operates. I wanted to get a better understanding of just what taxpayer dollars would be invested in, given that taxpayers are being asked to contribute a minimum of $1.15 billion.

What I found in Lucas Oil Stadium was not encouraging. For convention centers, having an occupancy rate between 50-60 percent is considered an adequately booked facility. At roughly 29 percent average total occupancy from 2011-2014, Lucas Oil Stadium was empty far more often than it was in use. Meanwhile, the neighboring Indiana Convention Center was able to operate at a higher rate of roughly 48 percent average total occupancy.

A review of the event and attendance lists for Lucas Oil Stadium was even less encouraging. The vast majority of attendance, about 98 percent, booked the field for their events. The remaining 2 percent accounted for roughly 20,000 people a year. That is a heavy reliance on the stadium side of the convadium for events. The Chargers, on the other hand, would likely argue that’s a good thing. The field is meant to double as convention space, after all, and this should indicate that the field is being utilized for this. The truth is it’s generally not.

Looking at the types of events that used the Indianapolis facility, it becomes clear that it essentially operates as just a stadium and doesn’t really offer much on the convention side of the ledger. The majority of attendance and events are from sports and entertainment-type bookings. Sporting events ranging from professional, collegiate and high school football, to NCAA basketball games, marching band competitions, monster truck rallies and supercross races made up the vast majority of attendance at the facility.


We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

These are all wonderful events, but they can all take place at a pure stadium facility. None of these events needs convention space to be held there. A heavy reliance on sports and entertainment events also means that revenue from those events won’t go back to the convention center side of the facility. According to the Chargers’ initiative, the revenue will go toward stadium operations and maintenance, which will essentially subsidize a portion of the Chargers rent. But most importantly, few and far between were events that could be considered conventions or trade shows.

The event lists included dozens of wedding-related events like ceremonies and rehearsal dinners, high school graduations and proms, sorority and fraternity events and endless tours of the facility. These are not events that will bring in visitors to San Diego. These are not events that will drive TOT revenue for the city to help pay for the convadium. These are local events with local attendance, and none of them are dependent on convention space for their needs.

If taxpayers are going to be expected to pay upward of $1.15 billion for this facility, they should be getting a return on their investment for the convention center side of the convadium. The facility should be able to support actual convention business in order to earn being called a convadium. If Lucas Oil Stadium is the model, then it won’t accomplish that.

In reviewing the Chargers’ plan, I made a commitment to keep an open mind and be thorough with my research. I wanted to avoid rhetoric and be able to provide thoughtful and meaningful responses to support whatever decision I made. The white paper I am releasing along with this op-ed is the culmination of that process. Due to the findings I’ve made, I cannot support the Chargers’ Citizen’s Initiative at this time. The Chargers need to provide data that shows how another comparable convadium facility works and provides value on the convention center side of the project. The mayor asked for this specific data and the Chargers chose not to provide it. The data obtained from Lucas Oil Stadium may explain why. If they cannot produce a working example of a convadium, then this proposal is nothing more than a stadium.

The fan in me hopes they can prove me wrong.

Scott Sherman is a member of the San Diego City Council, representing District 7.

    This article relates to: Chargers Stadium, Convadium, Must Reads, Opinion

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    76 comments
    Monet Diamante
    Monet Diamante

    I am in favor of Measure I, so please don't take this the wrong way. However, when I read this: "Councilman David Alvarez, who graduated from San Diego High and supports the measure, said there isn’t sufficient space downtown to build a new high school that could serve the families in his district." I couldn't help but think "what about the space in East Village where they are proposing to build the Convadium?" Surely that would serve the students (and then some) in that area, no? 

    Don Wood
    Don Wood subscriber

    The hotelier cartel is opposing a downtown convadium for one reason: It would make use of TOT money they consider to be their exclusive property.

    The voters are caught in the middle of a battle between the Chargers and their fans vs the hotelier cartel and their bought and paid for politicians.

    The question is what tax money gets spent on. No one is innocent in this little drama. The voters are currently being asked to allow tax money to spent on a convadium downtown. If they reject that, they will soon be asked to allow tax money to be used to build an expanded convention center to benefit the rich hoteliers. Voters should ask why the convention center corporation, a subsidiary of the city of San Diego, bases the metric for measuring its success on "heads in (hotel) beds". The convention center is all about enriching local hotel owners, its not about serving the public good.

    For every dollar the city gets in TOT taxes, the hotel owners get about $300-$400 in profits. Its all about socializing the costs off to taxpayers while privatizing the profits to the hotelier cartel.

    Judith Swink
    Judith Swink subscriber

    Don - you left out that the kinds of small events included in the Initiative pr (graduations, proms, fraternity/sorority events, etc.) would also bleed direct business (theoretically) from the hoteliers who have historically hosted these types of events.

    Ben Adams
    Ben Adams

    @Don Wood Still repeating your tired rhetoric.

    The hotels are against the Convadium because it's a dumb idea that conventions don't want.  Read the survey, there's no demand for an annex.  What's wrong with your brain that makes you ignore all of the facts?

    Christian Michaels
    Christian Michaels

    The "convention center" aspect is nothing more than a shill, a desperate ploy for public funding. Seriously, all you have to do is look at the ridiculous location and cloaked source of public funding. Call it what it really is!  Shameless shell games abound when it comes to public subsidizing of sports team billionaires, preying on clueless fans and citizens. Furthermore, it appears LA did not disappear as a city without a football team for 15-20 years.  Get real, Chargers.

    Dean Plassaras
    Dean Plassaras

    I see the fine commentary of 60 comments below and I suddenly feel redundant. And that's a very good thing. 


    Enjoy your evening gentlemen; I have to see a man about a horse.

    Dan McLellan
    Dan McLellan

    Hey Scott Sherman, How many hotels does your Fifth Avenue insurance company handle? Why did you take them off of your client list on the website?

    Public records show you take donations from the HotelierCabal. What other financial interests do you have in opposing the Convadium?


    Dan McLellan
    Dan McLellan

    @Ben Adams  You talking about a survey commissioned by hoteliers' and used tax payer money to pay for it. Give me something independent. The length to the new site is less the length of the current convention center.Most conventions will be in one space or the other. Only the largest conventions would be in both spaces. Those conventions are usually multi-day experiences where participants could spend one day in one convention space, and the next day at the other. I doubt in sunny San Diego, visitors are going to protest too much in going outside if they really need to.


    Ben Adams
    Ben Adams

    @Dan McLellan Dan, how about addressing the facts from the convention center survey?

    https://www.visitsandiego.com/sites/default/files/Expansion-Market-Feasibility-Analysis-San-Diego.pdf

    The study found "that planners of the very large events don't consider the two building scenario separated by three-plus blocks to be a walkable campus alternative".  125 planners of nationally rotating convention and tradeshow events including current and former events held in San Diego were surveyed and none of them were "definitely" interested in using the Convadium for a large convention.  That's 0%.  76% surveyed said they were not likely or definitely would not book an event using the Convadium. You want us to spend over a billion dollars of taxpayers money on something conventions don't want.  That's stupid.

    I don't support Sherman but it's pathetic that people like you have to try to muddy the waters because the facts prove that convention planners don't want the convadium while competition for bookings is growing with many cities expanding their contiguous space.  This is nothing but a billion dollar giveaway to Spanos cloaked in a convention center expansion no one wants.

    Thomas Powell
    Thomas Powell

    @Ben Adams @Dan McLellan   TMD was about to release a report spending 25,000 of you're money on a predetermined bogus study to say that a minimal 4 cents on the dollar would crush tourism. That is until that company pulled out. Isn't that right Mr. Sherman? If you want to debate the issue. I'm all for that but this is a hot mess of garbage by Scott Sherman and the sheep commenters that more than likely, like the Mayoral candidates did not even read the plan before it's release having a nice well written response to the 110 page document ready to release. Get in line to support him. FACT Scott Sherman had a agenda that benefits him and didn't announce it. That is unprofessional and kinda of immature. Now, I am a member of Save Our Bolts. I would have announced that in the 1st paragraph. Sherman has an invested interest in building in Mission Valley and a company insuring Hotels in Downtown. Scott Sherman, Ray Ellis and Tony Manolatos is the exact reason why there is not a debate about what is best. Instead we are stuck with these slim ball City Hall officials who mislead and pollute the conversations that should be taken place with a agenda driven bought and paid for by Bill Evans and his 2 other stooges.If you read the plan and disagree with it that is good by me. We can have a drink and discuss it. But to have such a interest $ and not disclose that beforehand is disgusting which is getting to be the normal in SD Politics. Beyond the politics Mr. Sherman, I would like to respond to your article with one with a little more Transparency with the facts then the hot garbage you laid out. One other thing, When you stand in front of the nation with Charger fans behind you declaring yourself a "lifelong" Charger fan. Have the most important moment in Charger history correct. Seau did not knocked down that play and no fan would ever saw that. But I'm glad you did. It says a lot about you as a person and a person of higher office to resort to such a low level of disgrace to use a dead man legacy to your advantage, Let me ask you this honest question. How low will you go to win an Election?

    Ben Adams
    Ben Adams

    @Dan McLellan @Ben Adams The facts don't support your desired outcome so you are going to ignore the facts.  I got it, you aren't capable or willing to have an honest discussion.  The data is clear that conventions do have a problem with the annex and the convention planners are not interested in booking the split venue.  

    There's also the problem of scheduling.  How many conventions will want to book the annex for a weekend that might host a Chargers game?  The NFL doesn't release their schedule until mid April while conventions book years in advance.  That's 6 months of potential scheduling conflicts on weekend bookings that would make it impossible to book any event in advance.

    Ben Adams
    Ben Adams

    @Thomas Powell Some Chargers fans are capable of understanding that this Convadium idea is moronic and that it's just a $billion give away of taxpayer funds to the Spanoses; that's funding that could be used for our city's real needs.

    The Chargers can either pay for their own stadium or move to LA.

    Jay Berman
    Jay Berman

    Even if the Chargers and NFL paid for it, all of it, it shouldn't be built.  It will take 16 acres of valuable downtown land, it will be vacant most of the year.  When there are games, there will be concession, security and janitorial workers, all minimum wage ..  We already have Petco for concerts and other events.  That 16 acres can support a high rise mixed use building / buildings producing high paying jobs and a lot of property tax ...  I think this is nothing more than a ruse by Spanos to keep fans happy for another year while the Rams stadium is being built.  I doubt they want to play in the Coliseum in LA  ..  It's a horrible waste of valuable land.

    Phillip Franklin
    Phillip Franklin subscriber

    @Jay Berman Jay I agree with you 100% on your very important point that this stadium proposition  does  nothing for the needed property tax revenues of that very valuable land near the center of the downtown which can be put to use for housing and even some light industry.  All a stadium does it create very low wage part time jobs and takes away a valuable resource of that land.  


    As to Spanos's intention with this ballot prop I hope you are right, but I don't think so.  I just can't ever see Spanos moving this team which is getting a free ride in not paying any rent or expenses for Qualcomm. The ballot proposal could be a ruse to keep fans buying tickets for another season.  But I can never see Spanos paying his way to Los Angeles with a $500 million NFL relocation fee plus having to pay actual rent to Kroenke.  He is just way too cheap to ever consider that unless he has a buyer lined up to sell the team in LA.


    He is just interested taking every last penny he can get from San Diego tax payers.  And if he thinks there is a chance to get another $1.2 billion he will go through every effort (lie, cheat, and steal) to get it.

    wadams92101
    wadams92101 subscriber

    Yes, your property tax point is important and almost completely overlooked. Its why the Citizens Plan initiative is also misleading by claiming it doesnt use public funds. That and the fact that this is very valuable PUBLIC land.

    Don Wood
    Don Wood subscriber

    Last year, Councilman Sherman made it clear that he planned to oppose any proposal that would build a new stadium outside of his own district.

    Now is he happy to put his name on white papers churned out by the convention center corporation staff, trying to compare what happens in Indianapolis, Indiana to what might happen here in America's Finest City. Such comparisons are pretty lame at best. Charger fans know that Sherman is no real Chargers fan, that he is beholden to the big hotel owners who still demand that the existing convention center be expanded in a manner that further blocks off public access from our bayfront. It is interesting that Sherman is doing their bidding while running for reelection. Charger fans may vote for his opponents if they really want someone in his seat on the city council that is more interested in serving the city and its citizen's instead of the local tourism cartel.

    Ben Adams
    Ben Adams

    @Don Wood You need to read the convention center study instead of making your ignorant accusations.  

    First off, Conventions don't want the non-contiguous annex, read the study they've made it very clear that there's very little to no demand for the Convadium space.  Second, the Chargers would have scheduling priority on the Convadium which will block any real weekend use of the Annex from August through January.  The NFL released this years schedule on April 14th, but conventions book their events years in advance.  No convention events are going to wait for the NFL to tell us when we can use our building.  Lucas field's trouble booking events has little to do with location and everything to do with availability.  There are reports that St Louis had the exact same problem with the Rams stadium and convention center.  Trying to book a convention with only 3 to 6 months advanced time is an impossible hurdle to clear.

    Chargers fans don't care about the facts all they care about is keeping their team and you have no problem making disparaging remarks while ignoring the facts.  Read the survey and try to look at this outside of your fan bubble and your hotelier rhetoric you might learn something.  San Diego will better off losing the Chargers and not expanding the convention center than wasting over a billion dollars on this stupid plan.

    Don Wood
    Don Wood subscriber

    We all now that this isn't about saving the Chargers for San Diego. It's all about which special interest group get to rip off local taxpayers to fund their own favored projects.  Because of opposition by the tourism industry, the convention center corporation and the big hotels, I expect the Chargers initiative will get voted down in November. Then the Chargers will move to LA. In a year or so, the tourism industry, the convention center corporation and the big hotel owners will put their own initiative on the ballot to use a tax increase to fund a contiguous expansion of the convention center, further blocking public access and views to our bayfront. When that happen, Charger fans should understand what these groups did to kick the Chargers out of town and vote against it.

    Ben Adams
    Ben Adams

    @Don Wood More rhetoric from you without addressing any facts. 

    There are three options on the convention center expansion; contiguous expansion, the annex/Convadium plan, and no expansion.  The study on demand for our center plus the data from the Convadiums in Indianapolis and St. Louis prove that the Convadium plan would be a financial disaster.  Trying to criticize Sherman for pointing out this fact is stupid.  Sherman can and should be criticized for supporting the Mission Valley plan but I don't fault him for being honest about the convadium.

    How about discussing the financial viability of the convadium.  Can you do that?

    Murtaza Baxamusa
    Murtaza Baxamusa subscribermember


    This study is based on the occupancy rate of Lucas Oil Stadium from 2011 through 2014, in comparison with the Indiana Convention Center. The study seems to imply that the former (Convadium) is not doing as well as the main facility.  However, the comparison of occupancy rate between the facilities is a faulty metric for the following reasons:

    (1) The Indiana Convention Center has 11 exhibit halls with 566,000 sq.ft of contiguous space. The Lucas Oil Center has 2 exhibit halls collectively with 44,000 sq.ft of space, that can only become even comparable in size to the main center if the 93,900 sq.ft of field is added to it. In other words, the Lucas Oil Stadium cannot act as a stand-alone center for national conventions that do not need field space. Also included in the 183,000 sq.ft of available space at Lucas Oil Center is 26,000 sq.ft of a plaza, which is not apples-to-apples comparison with exhibit space. This is why there are so many local events included in the study findings.

    (2) The Indiana Convention Center completed a $275 million expansion in 2011, three years after Lucas Oil Stadium was built. This 254,000 sq.ft. expansion more than doubled the national conventions at the center. But it does beg the question why they would do an expansion of the center, if the existing space was not being filled up?

    (3) Both facilities are booked by the same quasi-governmental entity, Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority; moreover, they are both publicly financed by the same state bonding authority (Indiana Finance Authority). The two are fiscally tied together for public financing. Hence, it is highly plausible that the booking is intentionally being done to divert field-related events to Lucas Oil Center, keeping the national conventions for the main Indiana Convention Center, to maximize revenue for the facilities collectively.


    It needs to be noted that Indiana's tourism leaders are now talking about another convention center expansion in 2020.

    my2centz
    my2centz subscriber

    @Murtaza Baxamusa Its simple, the convadium is inferior space.just as the San Diego version would be.

    Phillip Franklin
    Phillip Franklin subscriber

    @Murtaza Baxamusa Cities spending millions if not billions in expanding convention centers is akin to the US Government spending billions if not trillions on new defense projects (not so much for the US Government now because of the nature of national politics).  These expenditures which is especially true in the Midwest are done to create jobs mostly for the construction trades which still have some viable political clout.  These cities which are not on the the east or west coast are trying desperately to pull convention visitors away form the big cities like New York, San Francisco, LA, Chicago and the like.  Their traditional manufacturing jobs are drying up left and right.  These Midwestern and Southern cities are basically desperate and it seems the only way these cities can spend public money to bring in jobs is by building more visitor infrastructure.   These projects are starting to put these cities in to some serious problems with their municipal bond debt.  

    In California we just saw both Vallejo and Stockton try to use bankruptcy laws to bail them out.  They failed and are being forced to cut local services to their citizens and raise taxes to cover these bonds.  It now only makes them less attractive to secure new jobs and businesses to increase their economic vitality.   It seems the only ones to benefit off of this or those that build these new publicly funded projects.   And it further hurts all the cities in that in order to compete for more of these conventions the centers must constantly lower their prices and even operate at loss to attract new business as we do in San Diego.

    Phillip Franklin
    Phillip Franklin subscriber

    I think we should have a referendum in the upcoming November General Election to rename the team from the San Diego Chargers to the San Parasites based upon the truth in advertising laws.  Because Spanos and his organization has been sucking the blood out of this city  for decades.  Now they want more to the tune of well over one billion in hard cold cash.  


    They expect the tax payers to fork over more than $100 million each and every year for the next 30 to 40 years just to pay off those municipal bonds to cover the construction cost of this monstrosity to be built in the east village.  That's the the absolute truth that they keep lying about.  Further the taxpayers of this city still owe around $55 million on the $70 million of bonds which were floated to "upgrade" what was then Jack Murphy Stadium nearly 20 years ago.  That of course was done to bring a Super Bowl back to this city which then Mayor Susan Golding said would be paid off by the hotel tax revenues generated by the Super Bowl.  Well so far the principal and interest of those bonds are costing taxpayers millions every year and have been now for nearly 20 years and we have barely made a dent in that original debt of $70 million.  Plus look at all of the 10's of millions that have been given to the Spanos family in terms of ticket sales guarantees and basically free rent for use of Qualcomm for the last couple of decades.  And that is just 10's of millions of dollars.  


    Now we are talking about a well over 15 times that previous debt.  Like I said they want the tax payers to pay out over $100 million each and every year for the next 30 years (minimum) to give them a new stadium which they expect for basically free.  Plus they want free rent and they expect the tax payers to cover all the costs of maintenance and security and overhead.  I'm surprised they haven't yet asked for a ticket sales guarantee to boot. 


    So they say give us this or we will move.  That's  laughable.  Why because no one else wants them.  They will need to pay the NFL $500 million just to relocate to Los Angeles where you know Kroenke will expect them to pay a reasonable rent which the Chargers have never paid here.  Spanos is is like a parasite adult son who lives at home in his mother's basement and pays no rent.  Now he wants his mother to buy him a mansion in Beverly Hills because he feels he needs that upgrade.  If you can find a better word than 'parasite' to describe this billionaire then please let me know.


    Unfortunately for the taxpayers of this city the Chargers are never leaving until we either kick them out or insist they pay their fair share.  They tried to pull some lame scheme to move to Carson and get the Raiders to tag along by putting together some lame financing scheme where they could sell some junk bonds to unwitting investors with the help of Wall Street bankers.  But guess what when his fellow owners figured out it may be the NFL holding the bag on that scheme they all voted against him and instead voted for Stan Kroenke who left $400 million in tax payer cash on the table in St. Louis.  And not to mention all the NFL owners despise Kroenke with a passion.  If you recall Spanos was so convinced his owner buddies would go along with his scheme that he told everyone in San Diego to stick where the sun don't shine.  He even had his #1 talking boy say San Diego could never support a NFL team no matter how much it invested in a new stadium.  Now he's back asking for billion$.  Chutzpah doesn't even come close to describing the actions of the Spanos family.  I also wish there was a better word than parasite to describe him too.  But the English language (or in this case Yiddush language too) has no words to describe the character of these people. Just incredible balls as they say!

    La Playa Heritage
    La Playa Heritage subscribermember

    The easy solution is to based the multi-purpose San Diego Convadium on Anschutz Entertainment Group's (AEG) planned Farmers Field in Los Angeles, adjacent LA Live and the Staples Center.  Farmers Field was to be part of a Contiguous Expansion of the existing downtown Los Angeles Convention Center where AEG and the NFL would privately finance the project. 

    David Crossley
    David Crossley subscriber

    @La Playa Heritage  --AEG also wanted to buy a portion (or controlling interest) of the Chargers, or some other NFL team to do that.  Farmers Field is basically dead.  Also, a contiguous expansion of the current CC in SD isn't doable now, since the land that was to be made available for that contiguous expansion is instead going to be used for another hotel.

    La Playa Heritage
    La Playa Heritage subscribermember

    @David Crossley @La Playa Heritage


    The Fifth Avenue Landing, (FAL) LLC v. San Diego Unified Port District, et al. San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2013-00040725-CU-CO-CTL lawsuit, where FAL wants the Port to gift them $13.5 million for their leasehold interest is still ongoing.


    At any time, any public authority like the Port, SANDAG, or the NEVP Joint Powers Authority can Eminent Domain the Fifth Avenue leasehold with compensation based upon the FAL's current excessively low lease payments. Which are based upon a small percentage of actual FAL sales. 


    Public Trust Purposes in the California Harbors and Navigation Code (HNC) allow Eminent Domain Proceedings after a Resolution of Necessity. See HNC Sections 5900.4, 6075-6076, 6296, 6896, 6910, and 7147.


    As of the March 8, 2016 Port hearing for Item 16, the proposed 2 Hotels, Public Plazas, and Marina Expansion of Fifth Avenue Landing are just  proposals, not actual approved California Coastal Commission (CCC) waterfront Hotel projects.  A case can be made at the CCC to not approved the Hotels, and instead make the public trust lands available for a future Contiguous Convadium Expansion. 


    Hopefully after the Citizens Plan is approved that can pay the City's share for the Convention portion, the solution is another subsequent public vote to allow the Convadium project on the waterfront after Mitigation for the missing second Pedestrian Bridge, and loss of Park and Open Space.  Offsite Mitigation can include Barrio Logan park improvements and cleaning the polluted NTC Channel at Liberty Station. 


    See Paragraph 12 of the May 7 2010 FAL Lease it states:


    "12. EMINENT DOMAIN: If any public authority takes the whole or a substantial part of the Leased Premises under the power of eminent domain, then the term of this Lease shall cease as to the part so taken, from the day  the possession of that part that is taken . Further, the rent shall be paid up to that day. Lessee shall then have the right either to: (i)  cancel this Lease and declare the same null and void; or (ii) continue in possession of the remainder of the Leased Premises under the then-current Lease terms. 


    Provided, however, the award shall be reduced in proportion to the value of the portion of the Leased Premises taken. All damages awarded for such taking shall belong to and be the property of Lessor whether such damages shall be awarded as compensation for diminution in value to the leasehold or to the fee of the Leased Premises Provided, however. Lessor shall not be entitled to any award made for the taking of any of Lessee's installations or improvements on the Leased Premises"


    Then the next Paragraph 13. Termination of Prior Agreements gave up the Conrad Spinnaker Hotel Option for good.

    La Playa Heritage
    La Playa Heritage subscribermember

    @David Crossley @La Playa Heritage Agreed that Farmers Field has been dead forever.  But AEG's proposed Contiguous Expansion of the existing Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) is still ongoing.


    AEG Facilities took over the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) management and booking in December 2013. After the change in management, for the first time ever, the  LACC was profitable starting in 2014 to the present. 


    AEG Facilities knows how to maximize profits from constant event bookings, including NFL Schedules.  AEG is already in San Diego and has the Master Lease contracts for the Midway Sports Arena until 2020, and Humphrey's on the Bay.  With a new Convadium managed by AEG in San Diego, many current world-wide concerts that skip San Diego, can now have a local venue which can take away business from the Chula Vista Sleep Train Amphitheatre, and SDSU Viejas Arena. 

    David Crossley
    David Crossley subscriber

    That's great, but you need to tell AEG that-- not me.

    David Crossley
    David Crossley subscriber

    @La Playa Heritage @David Crossley  -Since the Coastal Commission has already approved the contiguous expansion of the convention center with no financing plan in place to build it, should the Coastal Commission just let that land stay vacant?  Or, if the plan to build the proposed hotel on that same property goes forward--with a financing plan in place--should the Coastal Commission switch gears and allow the hotel to be built instead?

    Matty Azure
    Matty Azure subscriber

    The citizens of San Diego are getting ripped-off by professionals who should be in prison.

    Signed,

    Convict-adium

    Dan McLellan
    Dan McLellan

    For starters, Chargers fans don't buy for a second that Scott Sherman is a Chargers fan. Sherman embarrassed himselfat the NFL Town Hall when he proclaimed to have celebrated Junior Seau knocking down the pass that propelled the Chargers to the Super Bowl. Charger fans know that important moment in the team's history, and it was Dennis Gibson that knocked down the pass at the goal line.


    What is really going on here is Sherman is among a group of politicians that are actively trying to drive the Chargers out of San Diego. Once the Bolts are gone, they are confident they can secure their mythical contiguous expansion of the Convention Center to appease the hoteliers who richly contribute to their campaigns, and will be able to turn over the Mission Valley land to their developer buddies.


    I make this claim in a position of knowledge having personally met with Sherman in his office. At that time, he admitted that he knew CSAG would not likely succeed, but presented false obstacles for downtown. He concluded the meeting by looking me directly in the eye and proclaimed the vision for Mission Valley he presented wasn't a stadium plan, but a development plan.And he promised it was going to happen.

    What scares Sherman about the Citizens Plan and the Chargers publicly backing the Donna Frye vision for Mission Valley when presenting their initiative is that this prohibits the type of development Sherman envisions for the property.


    Sherman is also not happy if the Chargers move downtown. With the Bolts concept the hoteliers lose their contiguous expansion of the Convention Center.Sherman only wins if the Chargers move to LA.


    What Sherman and his colleagues fail to address is that there is no path forward to fulfill their fairytale Convention Center expansion. They have already forfeited the land rights for the expansion, and there has never been an independent study produced that shows contiguous is the only way. That is required, because when the Convention Center was last expanded in 1995, promises were made to the public that the next expansion would not further wall-off access to the bay.


    To not embrace the Chargers vision for a downtown, is to continue down a path that will lead to San Diego losing both the Chargers and Comic-Con.

    Sherman and his Republican pals also fail to explain to the public why they were in favor of double-taxation of the public for their horrendous/fake stadium proposals n Mission Valley. Whether you raise a tax or not, when you spend tax money the public is being taxed. San Diego citizens already pay for other stadiums throughout the country when we travel. What CSAG and the mayor proposed was to spend general fund money for the public share of the stadium. This means San Diego Citizens would have been taxed when we travel and home for stadiums. That is not a fair financially conservative approach.


    There absolutely must be a public share when building a stadium because the City will own the new stadium and not the Chargers.

    The plan Chargers have presented is more than fair because it proposes to build a stadium that will be used 200-250 times a year, not the 10-20 times that would have occurred in Mission Valley. The Chargers/NFL will put $650 million of real private money into the project. This will pay for the vast majority of the actual construction cost of the new stadium.


    The remaining public share of the project will be paid for with mostly out of town dollars via the TOT.


    The Chargers will keep the revenues for 10-12 games they host per year. The City, will collect the revenue for all other events. Revenue collected from event s above the expense of running the stadium will go to boost the general fund. The general fund will also benefit from tourist who will be attending events in the new venue and spending money in the community which is taxed.


    Sherman makes the false claim that a stadium only facility would be just as capable of holding many of the same sporting events that could be hosted by the new convadium. This is simply not true. The NCAA Final-Four would never come to a Mission Valley stadium. Many events like this rely on a domed facility that is being envisioned for downtown. But a dome would not be included away from in a non Convention Center setting because of the added expense.


    Combining a stadium and the Convention Center together saves hundreds of millions in reduced construction cost, which reduces the overall tax burden, and provides the benefit of hosting more diverse events for San Diego.


    Petco will host the MLB All-Star game. There is already multiple projects that one event will add over a $1 million to the General Fund. It doesn't have to sports related, but San Diego needs a venue that will allow us to capitalize on this sort of mega tourism events on a regular basis.


    The Convadium provides that opportunity!

    my2centz
    my2centz subscriber

    @Dan McLellan 200-250 times a year is the biggest fantasy ever. You are clearly not dealing with a full deck. What is this NCAA final four fantasy you are talking about as well. We already have Petco Park for these events. Lets' get real you can spout off all of these great events that are going to happen once in a blue moon or more likely never. 

    The fact is the market will only support so many local events. Most of which do not bring a profit and so many regional or national events for which there is vigorous competition. 

    A new "convadium" will not significantly expand or increase business enough to make the project pencil out for anyone other than Spanos.


    Why don't you admit that you just want a New Charger stadium. If they had separate proposals for stadium and for a convention center addition. I would shut up leave it to the voters to decide. They won't because it is clear that the Stadium is a vanity project and billion dollar boondoggle which the smart people of San Diego would never pass. Even a convention center expansion is dubious. I don't understand why they think combining two white elephants makes a winner. The audacity of the pro convadium people is mind boogling.



    my2centz
    my2centz subscriber

    @Dan McLellan Reader warning: Dan Is VP of the Convadium boosters group. I can't believe that they are contending that there will be this incredible growth of event and convention  business just by building a Convadium. Anyway don't expect any rational or objective commentary on this issue from him only PR blitz and misinformation.

    my2centz
    my2centz subscriber

    @David Crossley @my2centz @Dan McLellan Correct The convadium doesn't have a roof in the budget either, yet. But this is all moot anyway because the Final four will never happen any where near San Diego or California. For that matter the last time it was held within 1000 miles of San Diego was 41 years ago. The competition for the event is intense and the market for it is the eastern half of the country. The same thing applies to the Super bowl.

    Phillip Franklin
    Phillip Franklin subscriber

    @Dan McLellan Dan with all these wonderful projections and easy money being made off of this new stadium opportunity why can't you and Spanos  find your Wall Street investors like you were proposing in Carson to pick up this great opportunity to make money?  Certainly you can find other suckers than just beating up on the poor old San Diego tax payers.  Or is it that you feel no one is dumber than the San Diego taxpayers based upon you past decades of taking all the money from them?  BTW shouldn't you be asking for a ticket sales guarantee too?  Are you getting soft?

    David Crossley
    David Crossley subscriber

    But you will see the Super Bowl in LA--Inglewood to be precise--once KroenkeWorld is built. The Final Four will probably end up there as well.

    David Crossley
    David Crossley subscriber

    @my2centz @Dan McLellan  --The Final Four could not be held at Petco Park, or any other stadium, without a structure that has a roof.


    However, this is nothing more than a con, as the Chargers don't give a damn about any convadium thingy--all they want is a new stadium, with the public paying for as much of it as possible.

    my2centz
    my2centz subscriber

    @Dan McLellan I must correct you on the claim that general fund money was to pay the city portion of the CSAG plan. The lease bonds issued were to be paid by rent from the Chargers and whatever profit there was from non chargers events. This is why the Chargers balked. It is also funny that they still balked when the NFL gave them another 100 million dollars to help pay for it. Their greed knows no bounds.

    Vi Lu
    Vi Lu

    @Dan McLellan Being a fan has no bearing on this topic. We are discussing the use of tax payer public money to fund a building. As a taxpayer every San Diego citizen has claim to enter into this conversation. Personally, as a non-charger fan who is also a taxpayer, I  see desperate need for public funding elsewhere, and I fully intend to weigh in on this conversation to oppose this effort. I also support Sherman's right to do so as well.  


    "To not embrace the Chargers vision for a downtown, is to continue down a path that will lead to San Diego losing both the Chargers and Comic-Con." First: Losing Comic-Con, please. No one believes that, and its a strawman's argument. Next. Second: Loosing the Chargers, So what? They left last year, no one wanted them. They have extended their hand and have nothing to play, their bluff has been called, and we are calling it.


    "There absolutely must be a public share when building a stadium because the City will own the new stadium and not the Chargers." - No. Check out the LA deal that fell through for the poor and humble chargers. The RAMS owner already purchased the land and was upfronting his own money to develop it. There is no reason the city needs to own a crappy stadium no on wants. The trend is reversing as more civic centers are pushing back on NFL owners to take on ownership of their own facilities. Your thinking is straight out of 1990 and is archaic.  


    "There is already multiple projects that one event will add over a $1 million to the General Fund.", great, what about the remaining? If the cost to build this thing is $1B and you are only offering proposed events that bring in $1M, you are still not making a great case. 

    Dean Cunliffe
    Dean Cunliffe

    I find both initiatives equally suspect. From the perspective of the taxpayers footing the bill, to what is not being discussed at all, the impact on local neighborhoods that will disrupt and displace local residents. Come on folks, call it what it is, a scam!

    Reid Carr
    Reid Carr subscribermember

    If the comparison to Indianapolis is the premise here, then I think we need to adjust the equation a bit. San Diego, as a destination, has greater appeal than Indianapolis. No offense to Indianapolis, because even they admit that. 


    "For years, the city [Indianapolis] was seen as a second- or third-tier convention destination, far behind Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Atlanta and other top-tier cities." In this same article, they talk about the challenge of the weather. Source: http://www.indystar.com/story/money/2015/07/29/indy-banner-convention-year--last-post-rfra/30847467/


    And, even with that, a January 2016 headline from the Indiana Business Journal states, "Visit Indy sets annual record for hotel room bookings". Source: http://www.ibj.com/articles/56887-visit-indy-sets-annual-record-for-hotel-room-bookings


    Some of that is attributed to same-state or same-city events which was cited here as a negative for hotel usage. However even those local events, when the venue is in a downtown urban center, can add to hotel room usage. Anyone from North County, for example, might understand that, for an evening event, many choose to stay downtown that night. Or, the parents or grandparents who travel to see their child or grandchild perform, graduate, etc. will stay in a hotel within walking distance to the venue. This is not exactly a possibility as it stands at Qualcomm in Mission Valley. Yes, there are hotels nearby, but it isn't convenient; you still have to cab it in and cab it out, which is a horrendous experience when trying to leave any major event.


    It just makes sense to have multi-purpose venues just as mixed-use retail and residential works in urban centers and just like in any business having people who can do multiple things are more valuable. It makes sense to put these venues in places where people can walk to bars and restaurants after an event to let the crowd dissipate or to give convention planners unique options different than the existing convention center to engage their audience (because, yes, event planning isn't just about floor space). 


    Our city is, in and of itself, an attractive destination; it would be good to give event planners inside and outside our city with some non-traditional, yet professional options.

    Mr. Roboto
    Mr. Roboto subscriber

    Interesting points. But those articles don't mention the fact that the Indiana Convention Center also had a major contiguous expansion in 2011. How much of that added growth came from that as opposed to the stadium?

    my2centz
    my2centz subscriber

    @Reid Carr Your examples have less credence the the referenced report. We already have a convention center downtown so people can walk to their to restaurants or hotels after an event. Grandpa and Grandma aren't going to amount to a hill of beans neither will the 100 or so North county residents who may spend the night. You could have a Bar Mitzvah or High school dance there every night. They don't even pay the overhead. 

    The dual purpose venue proposed is just to suck the city into paying more for the construction of the project while yielding little except more maintenance costs. This is a common trick used to make something palatable to the public. It is more commonly known as "putting lipstick on a pig". The stadium should stand on its own merits and a convention center expansion on its own The current proposal merely obfuscates the issues to try and bamboozle the voters. AKA a con.

    The bottom line is that the convadium project will do little to nothing to boost the economy over the existing venues, but will in fact, steal an important source of future revenue the city may need to do things like actually run the city.


    Your comment may paint a pretty picture but it is a scene that is far from reality.

    my2centz
    my2centz subscriber

    @Reid Carr Notice to readers: Reid is on the board of this paper and also runs a marketing firm  downtown very close to the proposed project. He will likely benefit From the convadium if built. This in itself is not a crime. My problem is that he chooses to mislead the readers with vague and unsubstantiated claims about the virtues of the convadium in order to achieve his goals. He also casts a dark spot on the integrity of this paper by doing so.


    Matty Azure
    Matty Azure subscriber

    @Reid Carr 

    Indiana is a racetrack surrounded by a cornfield.

    Signed,

    Mattio Andretti


    Vi Lu
    Vi Lu

    @Reid Carr "If the comparison to Indianapolis is the premise here, then I think we need to adjust the equation a bit. San Diego, as a destination, has greater appeal than Indianapolis. No offense to Indianapolis, because even they admit that."


    Yes and no. I grew up in Indy (and now live in SD). There is something Indy has that SD doesn't, hospitality. Huge hospitality. San Diego may have great weather and beauty to see, but there are so many things competing for its attention convo goers are ignored. 


    In Indy, on the other hand, nothing else really is happening. So when a big convo is in town civic and business leaders stop what they are doing and roll out the red carpet. They partner to welcome the attendees in a big way. This includes everything from welcome billboards at the airport with staff knowing exactly where to direct convo goers, to local eateries providing special tailor made menu's themed to the convo. Also, discounts or free access galore to local attractions with special shuttle services to get convo attendees to and from there. The entire city "celebrates" (for lack of a better word) whatever convo is in town that week. That is appealing to convention managers. I mean, what would you rather deal with? A metropolis who doesn't care two shakes why you are here, thereby forcing you to do all the logistics; or a city that embraces you and has such an easy "out of the box" convo package all you have to do is pay for the space? 


    Lets be real here, San Diego isn't exactly attracting new conventions. Most convo's hosted here are only because they started here (like ComicCon).     

    Reid Carr
    Reid Carr subscribermember

    @my2centz @Reid Carr  Explain, please, how I personally benefit from it aside from being able to walk to a cool facility when there is a game? Which would hold true from any citizen who lives or works nearby?

    Reid Carr
    Reid Carr subscribermember

    @Mr. Roboto  I don't think we're prepared to already to talk about expansion... we haven't even built it, yet... ;)

    Reid Carr
    Reid Carr subscribermember

    @my2centz I do appreciate that you notice there is some benefit to those who work downtown, though... and, I appreciate that both you and I receive the benefit of expressing our respective opinions on a subject that the VOSD has worked to present so thoughtfully and carefully. 


    I agree with your "fact check" and your notice to readers is true (which you can find my clicking on my name which I in no way obscured): Yes, I have a company that pays rent in a building downtown that would be within blocks of the stadium and, yes, I am on the board of this non-profit (and I hope you are a donor). So, in both of those instances, yes, I have an interest in this conversation.


    In relationship to being a board member for Voice: Do note that I presented an alternative opinion to what was expressed in the article. So, perhaps you see that the board for this non-profit has and expresses a variety of opinions on the range of subjects that this community faces. We don't all agree on every subject discussed, but we all believe that there are important topics to uncover in this community and we each should have a voice. I am sorry that you feel that someone else's opinion may be a "dark spot" on "integrity".

    Reid Carr
    Reid Carr subscribermember

    @Vi Lu So, perhaps that is an issue with how we are managing the whole convention attraction process? Maybe we have a different problem in how we "service" the business we want to attract? It sounds like Indy just wants it more and we don't have the  same kind of will? You called it "hospitality" and I might call it basic "customer service".


    I certainly can't speak for the same kind of exposure you've had to it from the Indy side, but it does sound like we don't try very hard in comparison and I feel like you illustrated some action items that might make our city more appealing to the convention managers who help us pay for all the stuff we want.

    my2centz
    my2centz subscriber

    @Reid Carr @my2centz I have no problem with you making money Reid. But surely you know that the reputation of your "paper" depends on the veracity of facts presented. As an individual you can say want you wish but if you choose to run fast and loose with the "facts" in making an alternative opinion. You must be called out. If this is your M.O. then it reflects on everything that you are affiliated with.. 

    Reid Carr
    Reid Carr subscribermember

    @my2centz I think you may elevate the content of the comments section a bit too much. Those who write the articles are the pros. Commenters are here to discuss. You, as one of the more prolific, should understand that there is, by configuration, a clear distinction. 


    For orientation: This article was written by Scott Sherman and in the image there, it says "Opinion". So, I can learn about Scott and his orientation and I understand that this is his opinion. I knew what I was getting into before I started the article. 


    Above this section, it says "Comments" which by default, comments are for people's response to a published article. Before getting into comments, I do not expect a high-level of journalistic standards, but I do see value in hearing other people's thoughts. I do not take them immediately for fact, but they often inspire me to think a little differently, see alternative opinions and do a little additional research as I did. I feel like I went the extra mile (as comment-section standard go) by providing links to what I found and thereby welcomed people interpreting those articles differently than I did. 


    In fact, those links were to a couple of the first articles I read, which yes was fast (because I have a job, as you pointed out, and have other things to do) and slightly loose (because, as you have noticed, I am in favor of a downtown stadium). I can do that in a comments section, but not in an article where the standard is higher (with an opinion piece typically somewhere between comments and fact-based article).


    Finally, I use my real name so you can, as you did, look me up. I do agree that it helps with perspective because everyone is inherently biased and I think it is important to be authentic about oneself.


    So, yeah, that is my M.O. as it comes to comments and interpreting what I read on the Internet, as well as presenting myself and my opinions. I own up to them.



    Ben Adams
    Ben Adams

    @Reid Carr @Vi Lu Who is going to want to use the Convadium on the same day as a Chargers game? You must know that conventions book their events years in advance while the NFL doesn't release their season schedule until mid April.  You know the NFL will have scheduling priority.  Weekends in January must be kept open because the Chargers might make the playoffs and August dates are reserved for their preseason.

    Do you not see the problem trying to book events in a building that has availability problems on weekends for 6 months of the year?  This is why Lucas Oil Stadium's booking rate is so poor compared to the Indiana convention center.  This is the same problem the convention center in St. Louis had with the Rams.

    Ben Adams
    Ben Adams

    @Reid Carr @Ben Adams @Vi Lu I' was born here in the 60s and I'm a former Chargers season ticket holder so I get the appeal.  A stand alone stadium and the contiguous convention center expansion would be a much much better choice.  This frankenstein plan is just idiotic.

    I'd rather see the Chargers move to LA than have my hometown face another financial debacle. All of their games will still be on TV and I can drive to Inglewood if I want to go to a game.

    my2centz
    my2centz subscriber

    @Reid Carr @my2centz I respect that Reid as for my motives and affiliations I have none other than crusading to correct misinformation about these boondoggles. If the good people of San Diego want to vote to finance a vanity stadium project I respect that. I just want to make sure that it is seen in the harsh light of the day.The claims people are making about it are nothing short of ludicrous. A 20 min INTERNET search will bring up many studies balance sheets and other information that discredit them.

    I believe that The city and all government  institutions should be concerned with the business of managing the duties they have been entrusted and not financing private projects that cannot stand on their own merits. 

    All too often local governments are taken for a ride and resources that should be directed to maintain the solvency of government and the welfare and safety of its residents are diverted to enrich private individuals. Who often are only around long enough to empty the public coffers. It seems that this has become a sport amongst  developers.

    A billion plus dollars, which would be the largest single bond issue that San Diego would ever float would be better spent on things such as securing a reliable water supply, paying down our pension liabilities and maintaining our crumbling infrastructure. 

    To spend it on a vanity project with literally little to no economic benefit is highly irresponsible. Paying it off with taxes relying on leisure spending than could be cut in half if there were another recession that would bring the city back to the brink of insolvency were it has been recently I would consider malfeasance. 

    San Diego is a great city and will remain one whether  there is a football team or not but it is time to send a message to the parasites that they are not looting the public trust.

    Reid Carr
    Reid Carr subscribermember

    @Ben Adams @Vi Lu I don't have familiarity with Lucas Oil Stadium's booking rate, but your point makes sense for those big events that would require most of the venue. 


    I just think that it would be better to have a stadium that could be used for other things than a stadium that could not. I feel like the majority of the fight is about building the stadium at all. In the end, I see value in the project (including reforming the old Qualcomm site), keeping the Chargers and winning other events that we could host. I have heard time and again that the math just doesn't pencil. I just see that there is greater value in sports and being a nationally relevant sports town that doesn't fit in the spreadsheet. This is a way to get at least some income rows of that spreadsheet filled in.

    Bill Bradshaw
    Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

    @Reid Carr @Ben Adams @Vi Lu We already have a stadium that can be used for other things and it's doing pretty well and located next door to the proposed venue.  It's called Petco Park, and inevitably the convadium will take outdoor events away from Petco which, by the way, is currently costing taxpayers 11 mil annually to finance.