The future of the San Diego Chargers being the San Diego Chargers hangs in the balance as the 2016 NFL season nears. To be exact, the future of the Chargers actually lies in the ballot box of San Diego voters this November.
Up for a vote is a four percent increase in the hotel/motel tax, with two-thirds of the voters having to approve the ballot measure for it to pass and become law. The hope is that it will raise the wanted $350 million from the community for this new stadium.
It has plenty of detractors at the local level, and the vote will certainly be watched by communities and teams wanting new stadiums in the future. Los Angeles will also be watching, because a failed ballot measure means the team is very likely to head some 110 miles north to the new home of the Rams in 2019.
To some, that seems like a horrific idea. Count Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers amongst those that believe that to be the case. He has firmly planted his flag in the corner of approving the ballot measure.
“Where it would be really hard for me to say you need to vote for the stadium is if it was going to come out of the people of this community’s pocket. I can’t tell them they should vote for that. I can’t in good conscience do that. But when I think about so many people coming to visit San Diego, and when I think about a four percent [hotel/motel tax] increase, they are still going to come. They are still going to come. I don’t think they are not going to SeaWorld and the zoo and not going on their summer vacation because that hotel is going to be a little more expensive. That’s how I look at it, in my most honest opinion. There are way more ins and outs to it I’m sure, but that’s why I think and I hope that we can educate everyone on that, because that’s why it does make sense to me, when it would be a lot more difficult when you are trying to tax the local residents.”
It would just seem wrong for the NFL to not have a team in San Diego, but the reality is without some solution (whether that be public-private, all publicly financed or all privately financed), the Chargers current home is just not going to work in today’s NFL.
The team certainly hasn’t given up, targeting local politicians against the measure and airing ads in stadium to support its effort to try and get past that unlikely two-thirds majority threshold on Nov. 8.
Qualcomm Stadium is a sinkhole for the Chargers, and one way or another, something will have to give come Nov. 8 — just know that Rivers is firmly behind the plan currently being proposed.