Chargers paid $1 million by city to play at Qualcomm in 2015
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Chargers were paid just more than $1 million by the city to play at Qualcomm Stadium in 2015 thanks to various credits, meaning they’ve made $4.6 million off their lease since 2007.
Without the various credits, the Chargers, who are threatening to move to Los Angeles, would have had to pay $28.7 million in rent in that span.
Figures for the 2015 season, when the Chargers finished 4-12, were provided to The Associated Press by the city’s Financial Management Department.
The team’s $3 million rent for 2015 was more than offset by $1,364,350 in its cut of concessions, $1,244,231 in miscellaneous credits and $1,416,753 in credits stemming from a settlement between the city and plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the city’s expansion of Qualcomm Stadium in the late 1990s.
In February 2001, the city settled a lawsuit by a disability activist by agreeing to make $5.3 million in modifications, including removing 985 seats. While the Chargers weren’t involved in that suit, they requested to be compensated for seats lost or obstructed because of the ADA changes. The city also compensates the Chargers for lost concession and merchandize revenue for those seats.
The last time the city made money from the Chargers was 2006, when the team paid net rent of $20,369. Income from a home playoff game was just enough to offset the rent credits and ADA money.
Last season was the first time the Chargers were paid more than $1 million by the city.
Before the team’s lease was renegotiated in 2004, the Chargers had received more than $36 million in rent credits from a controversial ticket guarantee approved as part of the deal that expanded the stadium in 1997.
The Chargers have until Jan. 15 to exercise an option to move to Los Angeles and join the Rams in a stadium scheduled to open in Inglewood in 2019. If they move, the Chargers would have to find a temporary home for the next two seasons, either the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum or the 27,000-seat StubHub! Center in Carson. It’s not known how much in rent they’d have to pay at those stadiums.
On Nov. 8, voters overwhelmingly rejected Measure C, the Chargers-written initiative that sought $1.15 billion from increased hotel taxes to help pay for a $1.8 billion downtown stadium and convention center annex. After the vote, team chairman Dean Spanos said that he’d wait until after the season to announce a decision on the team’s future.
On Tuesday, four city councilmembers sent Spanos, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the other 31 NFL owners a letter offering a 99-year lease at $1 a year for the entire 166-acre Qualcomm site in an attempt to restart talks between the team and the city to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium.
In 2015, the city and county offered Spanos $350 million toward a new stadium at the Qualcomm site. The team walked away from negotiations and focused on trying to get approval for a stadium in Carson that it would share with the rival Oakland Raiders. Owners rejected that plan in January while approving the Rams’ plans for Inglewood, but gave Spanos the option to move to L.A. They also gave Spanos an additional $100 million to add to $200 million available from the league in a loan to try to get a stadium built in San Diego.
After that rejection, Spanos asked Mayor Kevin Faulconer to add $200 million to the city-county offer. When Faulconer declined, the Chargers began crafting Measure C, without input from other stakeholders, including the city’s powerful tourism industry. The tourism industry opposed the measure.
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