Stadium economic debate will feature studies on potential return of investment

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Another debate on the Chargers Stadium issue, which is Measure-C on the city ballot, is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon hosted by Point Loma University’s Fermanian Business Institute.

The debate will feature competing studies on the potential return of investment if the voters approve a 6.5 percent increase in the hotel tax to help pay for a downtown stadium.

While the presidential debates will determine the direction of the country, the stadium is of paramount important to the city and many San Diegan’s who are just now beginning to engage in the elections process.

This debate is about expanding the Convention Center either at the Waterfront, which the hoteliers, the tourism industry and Comic-Con wants or expanding with space that’s tied to a downtown stadium.

The study claims increasing the hotel tax to generate $1.15 billion for a new stadium is not a good return on investment.

The Chargers study, by Convention Wisdom Corp and Hunden Strategic Partners, said their study is also unique. It claims cities are moving to annexes to get more bang for the buck, by having concurrent conventions, or back-to-back conventions.

"That’s how you achieve maximizing the economic value of the community and doing multiple mid-size shows rather than giant shows with giant peaks and valleys between them," said David O’Neal, with Convention Wisdom Corp.

"We believe that more than 225,000 room nights will be accruing to San Diego, that will generate more than $750 million in new hotel room revenue over the first 10 years of the facility," said Rob Hunden of Strategic Partners. "They were talking to their own customers, they weren’t talking to the new customers that would fit into this facility, didn’t really focus on where the market is."

Then there’s the $1.15 billion generated from the hotel tax to help pay for the stadium. The opposition groups say this is a bad deal for San Diego and the unknowns in the initiative could put the general fund at risk if the revenue assumptions prove incorrect.

Economist Dr. Lynn Reaser will moderate the 90 minute debate. She and the audience members will then pose questions to the four-member panel.

Categories: Local San Diego News, Propositions