In 2012 the San Diego Chargers only filled their stadium to 84.1% of capacity when Qualcomm Stadium averaged 59,964 fans per game for the 8 game home slate. Right about that time the Minnesota Vikings were trying to get a new stadium, and Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner who works for the 31 NFL owners and publicly owned Green Bay Packers, showed up to the Minnesota Legislature who were in a quagmire over approving money for a new Vikings home. Goodell never threatened the legislators with Los Angeles relocation, but they knew it was there. The deal got done, and the Vikings have a nice new stadium.
In 2013 the Chargers improved their attendance to 90.1% of capacity and 64k, a 5000 person improvement. The next season, the 2014 Chargers averaged 65,432 a game, a 2nd straight year of improvements, not to be outdone by the 2015 66,772 per game rate that gave Quallcom Stadium 94% of capacity, better than the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, even better than the Dallas Cowboys’ 91% capacity (of course that stadium has a very large capacity, when 91% equals 91k people in a 100,000 seat stadium)! Yet it wasn’t Cincinnati or Cleveland that got the threats of Los Angeles shoved down their throats, it was San Diego.
Commissioner Roger Goodell went to California to plea with SanDiego residents who had been increasing attendance each year, but its not attendance that matters to NFL owners, its dollar signs, and new stadiums that bring far more dollar signs that can be imagined. Just ask the San Francisco 49ers, who make more dollars in a stadium that isnt filled! How you ask?
Personal Seat License or PSLs are not new,(Bucs had a PSL system when they first built Raymond James, but they returned the owners money 10% at a time, each year in the form of a rebate, as long as they renewed their season ticket) and the 49ers didn’t invent them, but boy they profited from them, and its what the Chargers owners want, and every owner wants for that matter, if they think they can get them. And who has more money than LA??
A PSL is not a ticket mind you, but it does cost anywhere from 2,000 dollars to 80,000 dollars. The Personal Seat License is your RIGHT to purchase a season ticket. Its condo ownership of the sports world; you don’t own the land, but you own the seat, and the right to purchase your seat, and they are 100% transferrable, so these are commodities that will go up, or down in value.
Best part about it, every single PSL sold for Levi’s Stadium where the San Francisco 49ers can have 4000 people in the stands, but the game is considered a sell out, and “PAID” attendance to each game last year was recorded as 70,178 for each game; 103% of capacity.
The PSLs garnered 530 million dollars, a sold out stadium annually is 77 million dollars, pocket money in comparison. That doesnt say a word for the extra corporate involvement, the parking
and in stadium revenue from upscale restaurants that you can now have in the Club sections, where fans pay more for a ticket to be in a better seat, better view, more comfortable chair, table service,
all the conforts of eating at a restaurant but looking
at the field!
San Diego residents didn’t want to lose the Chargers, they simply didn’t want to pay for a stadium that an NFL owner was going to make all of the profits on. On Nov. 8th, besides electing a new president the citizens of San Diego rejected funding of a new Chargers stadium that would have steered hundreds of millions of tax dollars toward a stadium the team wanted to build in downtown San Diego, and instead will move into a stadium being built by Stanley Kroenke, another owner who took this path and tried to hold up St. Louis for ransom with LA as the Bait.
Now St. Louis has lost two franchises out west, the Cardinals in the late 80s, and the Rams, which used St. Louis YEARS AGO as leverage for a stadium. Its become a musical chairs game of which owner can threaten which city and which fans will pay for the loss.
The fact that owners want municipalities to pay for half of costs of a stadium is absurd; Revenue for 49ers jumped 160% to 427 million dollars from the teams last year in Candlestick Park to the first in Levis; enabling the team to pay off their share of the deal before the players even took the field! Why do you need the municipalities to pay for half then? How else can you keep a city hostage?
In all fairness, people who live in an NFL market have a large unseen benefit to having an NFL team as theirs. Not only does it give great civic pride, it puts your city’s name on the map when its announced “Live from Tampa, FL”. The Tampa Bay area was already growing when it happened, but there is no doubt the deliverance of Pro Football to Tampa in 1976 helped spur even more growth, especially corporate and tourism, perhaps the biggest boom for good weather teams.
Most times when an area is held hostage for an NFL team, the tax dollars at stake are not even takes paid by the local area, but taxes on hotels, rental cars, Vacation tax dollars and such. But many times Real Estate is the target for the taxes, and sales taxes are the next victim at times, and voters rarely pass sales tax increases.
I say rarely, because in the late 90’s, Hillborough County voters approved a .5 cent sales tax increase to fund the new Raymond James Stadium for the Bucs, when only the year before voters turned down the same .5 cent tax for schools and police. With the stadium deal, schools and jails were included, and Bucs new owner Malcolm Glazer yielded control of the stadium to County leadership in turn of getting a share of Non Football revenue at the stadium.
Bucs fans are quite lucky, because the mid 90s was the wave of Moving franchises; The Cardinals had gone to Arizona and Colts fled Baltimore in the 80s. The 1990s featured the moving of Los Angeles to St. Louis to replace the Cardinals, the Raiders moved BACK to Oakland thus leaving LA vacant enough to be the Kidnaper of fans for the next two decades!
So if Hillsborogh County fans can do it, can’t every one? Andres Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College showed there should be no expectation that a new stadium will BOOST a local economy. While that is true, that does NOT show the true overall impact a sports franchise has compared to NOT having that franchise there.
Plus for the Chargers, almost none of the 49ers issues apply; they are moving into the RAMS stadium, and will pay rent. No holding LA hostage, isnt that sweet? Of course LA now has two teams, just like it did in the mid 90s, right before it lost them both in the same season. In the big picture, whats it all about then?
Holding a community hostage to get a better deal for the owner. And word is, London wants a team.
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