San Diego mayor visits Indy to discuss NFL stadium deal

August 18, 2011
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San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders on Wednesday embarked on a three-day, three-city tour to check out NFL stadiums and stadium deals.

Sanders is due to touch down in Indianapolis today or tomorrow. He also is visiting Kansas City and Denver.

While in Indianapolis, Sanders' staff said he'd meet with Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard among other local officials. Indianapolis Colts Senior Vice President Pete Ward said team officials were not aware of Sanders' visit.

Sanders is especially interested in the way Indianapolis and Indiana funded the stadium, the expenses of operating the stadium and the benefits the facility has on the city and region. Sanders is also keen on visiting Indianapolis due to the stadium’s physical connection to the Indiana Convention Center.

Lucas Oil Stadium opened as the home of the Colts in 2008 and was instrumental in securing Indianapolis its first Super Bowl, which will be held Feb. 5, 2012.

With all the rumblings in Los Angeles about building an NFL-ready stadium, Southern California sports business experts said Sanders is plenty nervous his city will lose its NFL franchise, the Chargers.

Chargers owner Dean Spanos for several years has been asking for a new stadium or massive renovations of the team’s current home. In recent years, Spanos has been asking ever louder, and hasn’t been shy about asking for taxpayer contributions.

Some understand Spanos’ requests and see the wisdom in Sanders’ trip.

“The downtown sports and entertainment districts around the country have been tremendously successful in generating new jobs and tax revenue, and that is part of what the mayor will see on his visits,” Chargers stadium spokesman Mark Fabiani told the North County Times, a San Diego-area newspaper. “In addition, Indianapolis has demonstrated how an NFL stadium and a convention center can be combined and work in tandem for the benefit of both.”

Others out West, well, they’re less empathetic of Spanos’ plight and more skeptical of Sanders’ trip.

“I think the days of municipal financing of these big sports venues are really over,” former city attorney John Witt told The San Diego Union Tribune on Tuesday. “I think it’s bad for everybody because government doesn’t have much money and they’re in debt. It seems to me ridiculous to look at this sort of thing.

“In this day and age,” Witt added, “the public is not only going to say ‘No,’ but they’re going to say, ‘Hell, no.’”


  • Remember when...
    To think the taxpayers were once sold on the idea to build a new stadium (Hoosier Dome) without even having an NFL team! Attitudes have certainly changed.
  • Just say no
    Public financing in California is a non-starter. The state and most municipalities are either in severe debt, low on cash, or on the way to both. There is precious little liquid and an anti-tax attitude given all the taxes residents already pay out there.

    Sanders is a good man on a thankless mission and he may well preside over the loss of the Chargers.

    San Diego has already funded the Chargers practice facility and the Padres ballpark and it cost multi-millions to taxpayers and yet city services out there stink, while many cannot afford to even attend the games.

    People need to stop letting, multi-millionaires stick it to the taxpayers. Watch soemthing else. Take up a hobby. Enjoy the outdoors. Go on a walk. Big time, professional sports are a waste.

    Your city's identity should be in the things you do, not a ball team of millionaires from other places, owned by people from other places.

    Just say no, San Dieg-o.

    • taqxpayer funded
      This is a taxpayer funded business, scream foul ball California
    • say no to you
      No matter what the whole world is BROKE. The U.S. is broke. Every city is broke. How about you? I'm sure your broke too. No matter what everyone in this world is going to be broke. That's what I don't get about you people. When the chance to make your city a better looking place. Your afraid its going to cost you a crap ton of money.

      If you don't want this stadium to be build I can't call you a true San Diegan. Because I'm sure if you have a child you would like to raise them in a beautiful looking city.

      How about this. Say the stadium is the house of San Diego. If you lived in your house for 50+ years I'm sure it gets old and run down. Its like moving from an apartment to a 2 story house. Wouldn't you want that for your city.

      No I guess not. because your broke. Just like everyone else.
    • Say no to Robert
      San Diego is already a beautiful city. Sports teams do not determine a city's beauty. As for raising a child, I would prefer open libraries, clean parks, and a fire department that does not use 1980's radio technology and with one Hook and ladder truck, to include a mutual assistance package with Tijuana in the event of a catostrophic down town fire. All because the city is nearly broke.

      Sports teams to not make cities Never have, never will. The Colts, Pacers, and IMS, could disappear tomorrow and Indianapolis would roll right along and new, and interesting things would take hold.

      Your logic is so warped it barely warranted this response, Robert.
    • everything costs money so get over it
      I agree with Robert...and would like to add to it...
      We don't live in the 60s where you can just drag a lemonade stand out to the curb to pass the time and make a little now need to invest into your lemonade stand to get your return on investment...
      Anyone in their right mind know that you have to pay money to make money...try driving around in San Diego for the day at around'll see everyone filling up the local starbucks buying $5 coffees...hanging out there all day with their macbooks while their range rover is parked in the paid parking structure across the street...and you're telling me these people done have money!?!? C'mon now, who are you trying to fool. The Mayor has every right to tax this and create funding...San Diego does have money for it. There's a difference from people having no money and a difference of being cheap...
      A New stadium does bring more jobs and a better environment for people to have something to do on their free time...I love how you mention take up a hobby, go to a library, go to a park...and do what? Sit and stare at each other all day? Those are all city venues that also would need funding as well, so what's your point? Just because you don't like sports doesn't mean you have to try and I say try loosely to give an educated answer. Take a look outside and get a feel for what's going on in society. Building a new stadium helps keep kids off the streets and out of trouble rather...remember you have to prevent the problem rather than react to it. My father in law retired as a fire captain recently and yes money can be invested in other things in reference to your example, but my father in law is also a true Chargers fan and spends his free time at those games so just keep an open head about things going on in the world rather than just being one of those negative people when it comes to tax money. If you can't afford to live in SD...then move or manage your money better
    • Here's How It Works
      Mayor of San Diego:

      Here what you do.

      You commission a $150,000 study from Price Waterhouse Coopers claiming your convention center is so successful that you will lose business if you don't expand it. Don't worry, no one will really read the report that details that you are actually only 60% occupied with non paying events.

      Next you explain that your land locked convention center must be expanded onto the exsisting footprint of your current football stadium, so you must destroy the 15 year old facility.

      Next you push a $1 billion dollar budget through the process to expand the convention center and build a new football stadium with a 50/50 split.

      Immediately after it passes, you direct over $750 million to a new retractable roof football stadium giving all profits to the team and all the bills to taxpayers.

      Next you quietly cut the budget for the convention center so you can give more to the team, thus the old sections get no upgrades to match the new sections.

      Then you handle the PR mess of your CIB going bankrupt by getting a state bailout so you can turn around and give it to the basketball team owner who thought he got screwed by you giving the football team owner so much more than him.

      Then repeat this process every 15-20 years after memories have faded.
    • Hog Hockey
      Doesn't matter what you say, it is not going to happen. Your stereotypes, by the way, show your ignorance. San Diegans, like Sacramentans, will not pay for things millionaire boys ought to be paying for themselves. They would rather see the team go.

      You stick and ball, can crushers, are a hoot. Doh.

    • Try Asking An Economist
      I love how people like "just Kevin" suggest that professional sports subsidies is a great investment. The fact is economists don't back up that theory. All you're doing is moving spending from one part of the city to another. There is no job creation from pro sports.
    • Unless your Indianapolis
      The comment about not paying off for cities was true until Indy came along. Dr. Mark Rosentraub,author of Major League Losers wrote a second book Major League Winners to show how Indy breaks that mold.

      The difference between the losers and winners is that Indy didn't just build a stadium, but they integrated it into an already successful sports/convention economy.

      That is exactly why the San Diego Mayor is here. To see how we did it. I do agree that he is in the wrong State at the wrong time. Timing is everything.

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