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Super Bowl Stadium Missing Seats

December 9, 1997

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Despite its expanded size, Qualcomm Stadium will be below the NFL’s 70,000-seat threshold for next month’s Super Bowl.

The NFL will not sell about 2,700 seats in the first seven rows of the field level, because the view from those seats is partially blocked by team benches, players, coaches and game-day personnel. Another 1,800 seats must be set aside for auxiliary press positions and extra broadcast booths.

Capacity will be about 67,500; the city had promised to provide 73,500 seats in its successful bid for the Super Bowl. Some 11,500 seats were added to boost capacity to about 71,600 as part of a controversial $78 million expansion to accommodate the Chargers and attract the Super Bowl.

NFL official Jim Steeg told San Diego officials that the shortfall will not affect the Jan. 25 game, but needs to be addressed for future bids.

``I know that that the issue must be addressed in our next bid,″ said Chuck Nichols, president of the Super Bowl Host Committee. ``The city has done some studies about what it takes to adjust it and we’ll have to get in there and take a look at it.″

San Diego representatives are expected to bid for the 2002 game at an NFL owners meeting next spring.

The loss of the 2,700 seats, at $275 apiece, will cost the NFL nearly $750,000 in revenue.

The Chargers sell those seats for their games, and deputy city manager Bruce Herring said some fans like to sit as close as possible to the action.

But when fans in those seats stand up to see the action, if affects people farther back, said Steeg, the NFL’s executive director of special events.

``We made the mistake way back in 1980 at the Rose Bowl, where we sold every seat to maximize revenue,″ Steeg said. ``By the time every play got done, people in row 27 were standing. It slowly trickles up.″

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