If we lose the Chargers, what happens to Qualcomm Stadium? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

If we lose the Chargers, what happens to Qualcomm Stadium?

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - While Mayor Kevin Faulconer has vowed to speed up negotiations in hopes of keeping the Chargers in San Diego, we can't help but wonder: what would happen if they left, specifically to city-owned Qualcomm Stadium?

Faulconer is speeding up the timeline for a new Chargers Stadium proposal, meeting with team owner Dean Spanos over the weekend. All this comes after last week's bombshell announcement that the team is working with the Oakland Raiders on a shared stadium plan in Carson, in case they can't get a new venue in San Diego.

The Chargers have played at Qualcomm since it was built in 1967.

"You have some events at Qualcomm that can keep it going to some degree, but ultimately it's not a long-term sustainable solution without an anchor tenant like the Chargers or an NFL team being there," SDSU sports MBA program director Scott Minto said.

Minto has worked in a stadium environment before, and says it cost millions of dollars to maintain, even when the lights are off.

"It's really about Band-Aids and fixing things that go wrong on a daily basis, so you're talking about leaks, maintenance and upgrades on things like elevators and escalators," Minto said.

Some experts estimate the city spends about $15 million a year to run both Qualcomm Stadium and the Valley View Casino Center. While the Chargers are presumably their main revenue source, they do collect fees from other events held there, like bowl games, motocross and swap meets. But is it enough?

"That's what it comes down to. It's all about the bottom line when you look at the stadium site," Minto said.

The San Diego State Aztecs football team is also a tenant, and is contracted to play at Qualcomm through the 2018 season. When asked if they're looking at alternatives, university spokesperson Greg Block told us via email:

"We are fully supportive of the Chargers staying in San Diego and aren't entertaining hypotheticals at this point."

Still, Minto warns, San Diego has other options for events, places like Petco Park and the Del Mar Fairgrounds making Qualcomm's case to stay a difficult one to win.

"You have to see if it's worth the upkeep and if we can bring enough revenue for the site or if it can be reused in another way," he said.

A recent study showed that Qualcomm Stadium has some much-needed repairs that total nearly $80 million.

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