San Diego Chargers Pushing for Downtown Stadium/Convention Facility
The NFL's San Diego Chargers announced this week they will focus their efforts on building a multi-use stadium and convention facility in downtown San Diego's East Village. The team's proposal conflicts with Mayor Kevin Faulconer's push for a new stadium in Mission Valley, as well as the San Diego Convention Center expansion proposal.
"In many respects, the arguments for Mission Valley are compelling," acknowledged the team's ownership in a statement. "At the same time, we have considered the potential benefits to both the greater San Diego region and the Chargers of a multi-use stadium/convention center facility downtown. The multi-use facility, when combined with Petco Park, the existing convention center, the Gaslamp Quarter and a revitalized East Village, would create an unparalleled entertainment and sports district that will host Super Bowls and will ideally be a permanent home for Comic-Con and a Comic-Con museum."
The Chargers' proposal would entail adding convention exhibit space underneath the playing field, as well as convention use of the field space in the off season. The team, however, did not consult the mayor or the San Diego Convention Center Board of Directors, nor Comic-Con leadership, with respect to the proposal. The Convention Center Board, since conducting a study last year, has been pushing for a contiguous expansion of the convention center.
"A study by Conventions, Sports and Leisure International released in August 2015 determined that a contiguous expansion of the San Diego Convention Center is preferred by our clients and stakeholders," reads a statement from the board of directors chair, Rabbi Laurie Coskey, "while also providing the greatest return on investment for the City of San Diego. We will continue to support a contiguous expansion that will provide the greatest financial and economic value for the City of San Diego."
The Chargers team owners had been considering moving to Los Angeles, and in fact have a deal in place with the newly relocated Los Angeles Rams with an option to share a stadium there beginning in 2017 or 2018, should a stadium deal not pan out in San Diego. Any expansion or building project in San Diego will involve some level of public funding and would require voter approval. Whether the measure appears on the June or November ballots this year has yet to be determined.