Study: Downtown Stadium Won’t Bring More Hotel Guests to San Diego

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A rendering of the proposed stadium. Petco Park is visible on the far left. Courtesy San Diego Chargers

The Chargers‘ proposal to build a stadium and convention center annex in downtown San Diego would generate only $2.3 million in additional annual hotel room tax revenue, while costing $67 million a year in public investment.

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That’s the conclusion of a new study from the San Diego Tourism Marketing District, which receives a 2 percent fee on room rates in order to fund promotions, said the “revenue does not justify the combined investment and annual operating expenses of the stadium-convention center.”

The Chargers’ $1.8 billion plan is scheduled to go before voters in the November general election. If passed, it would raise hotel room taxes by effectively four percentage points in order to help pay for construction and operation of the facility in the East Village.

The team and the National Football League would also chip in toward the construction cost. The initiative requires two-thirds voter approval.

The study, conducted by HVS Convention, Sports & Entertainment Facilities Consulting of Chicago, also said the annex is too far from the existing center to be used by a single convention, that event planners prefer the location of the current center and its proximity to hotels, and that the proposed annex floor space would be unacceptable, among other things.

The consultants also said the annex would wind up competing for smaller, short-term business with the convention center and hotel meeting rooms.

The Chargers ballot measure recently gained the support of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, but is generally opposed by the local tourism industry, who want the current center to be expanded.

Team officials were critical of today’s report.

Widgets Magazine

“The results of this study were pre-determined from the outset by a few highly self-interested hotel owners who have once again wasted taxpayer money on a misbegotten effort to justify a contiguous convention center expansion that has already been struck down by the courts and that is unlikely to be built,” Chargers adviser Fred Maas told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

— City News Service

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