Consultant outlines deficits for cities running NFL stadiums

City News Service

NFL stadiums generally run annual deficits between $8 million to $12 million, and none operate profitably, a city consultant told a San Diego City Council committee Monday.

"The average NFL stadium is $8- to $10- to $12-million in the negative on an annual basis,'' said Jeff Cohen of AECOM, which produced a $184,000 study on Qualcomm Stadium.

Indirect economic and social benefits justify the expense by cities that own the facilities, Cohen told the City Council's Audit Committee.

His figures include newer stadiums, he said.

The owners of the Chargers football team have been pushing for a new stadium for years and are currently studying a site near Petco Park. Some of the estimated $800 million cost would be picked up by taxpayers, but no specific arrangements have been determined.

The stadium proposals have morphed in recent months to include a more elaborate entertainment complex in an effort to improve the financial picture.

Ed Shaw, who identified himself as a former AECOM employee, said Qualcomm Stadium is averaging a $10 million annual deficit for the city of San Diego.

Jim Barwick, director the city's Real Estate Assets Department, said most of the deficit stems from a $5.8 million annual debt service payment that will continue through 2024.

Committee Chairman Kevin Faulconer said Qualcomm Stadium will never eliminate its annual operating deficit.

However, the AECOM report recommended changes that could help the city make greater use of Qualcomm's huge parking lot, which it called the facility's greatest asset. A new, more flexible rate card for parking lot events — such as used-car and recreational vehicle sales — could generate more revenue for the city, according to the study.

   
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