Now that the dust has settled on MLB showcasing San Diego to the world, let’s sit back and see how a major sporting event impacted us individually and our city.
The Chargers know that building a multi-use facility in downtown is the best path for all parties. Downtown is the one area in San Diego that will allow event organizers to occupy nearby outdoor areas and promote massive sports and entertainment events – just like the one that we observed here a couple weeks ago.
We got a preview to their vision the second week of July when MLB brought the Mid-Summer Classic to America’s Finest City. Downtown was packed, restaurants were booming and there was a buzz around town.
Opponents of the stadium are quick to bring up the argument that parking and the crowds in Downtown would be too overwhelming. Well, during the 6-day festivities during the All-Star Game Week there were no complaints from the people who went down there. Public transportation was not an issue for some. Also, Uber and Lyft drivers were receiving messages about a high-demand of ride requests. San Diegans and tourists in town for the festivities found a way.
Surely, things on the surface seem to be a hurdle but when everyone comes together looking for solutions ideas and compromises are born. That is when progress is made.
Our city was showcased to the world with all our beaches, scenery, and all things that make this America’s Finest City – we were all a witness. There were no chants of “We can’t do this, This won’t work, That won’t do.” We all came together and were excited to show our city to the masses. Some marveled at what San Diego had to offer. And at what could be if we could dare to think bigger!
Like the cities that dreamed big before us , now with a new facility on the horizon, our city could profit millions with the city, hotels, restaurants, bars, and other establishments all sharing in the wealth. That’s what comes with hosting a mega sporting event over six days in beautiful Downtown San Diego.
Cities that have hosted the All-Star Game previously have generated millions to their city as well as to some of the charities in those cities.
Last year, for instance, Cincinnati generated $65 million dollars, according to the Baseball Almanac. Between 2002 and 2011, per MLB League Data, cities averaged $70.5 million dollars generated to the host cities. Everyone enjoyed a piece of the pie.
45,000 hotel rooms were rented out to visitors for the week. (Wonder how many paid attention to what their hotel tax was?)
One of the stadium loudest critics is Joe Terzi, President and CEO of San Diego Tourism Authority, who spoke about the exciting opportunities that comes with hosting a Downtown mega sporting event offered, “We are no longer a stranger to large events and we think this year’s All-Star Game will be one of the best ever”. Yes, Joe, It is wonderful to think what could be if we all came together to achieve a common goal isn’t it?
60,000 visitors, 2000 media members, 51 radio and TV outlets were in our city to broadcast San Diego in 13 different languages across 16 countries and territories. How much do we need to promote San Diego – A city that simply markets itself.
Petco has previously hosted the World Baseball Classic, soccer games, rugby tournaments, motorcross and even concerts such as the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel and Taylor Swift. But now was the time to showcase our jewel in Downtown to the Big Leagues of Sporting Events. So how did Petco Park grade? Petco was emanating brightness like a sun shining off the Pacific Ocean. The visitors to Petco Park thought it was majestic. USA Today raved, calling it the “Best Ballpark in the Country.” Others touted the mixture of food and the aroma in the air from the food stands in Petco as a one of a kind. The Grades were in from the debate of 1998 November Election. Petco got an A+ on the world’s stage. If there was to be one location to permanently host the Mid-Summer Classic then Petco Park and San Diego would be a fine home for the Mid-Summer Classic game and the week of festivities.
Businesses like Bubs at the Ballpark, a popular local bar in downtown, hired extra workers that week to handle the massive customers that were descending onto our city. That coupled with Comic Con, Pride Week, 4th of July, Del Mar Fair and Racetrack set a record in San Diego making July the biggest month in SD for tourism ever.
The expectations from the city before All-Star Week was that San Diego as a city would generate about $80 million dollars back to the city. $1.2 million would be made in hotel room taxes from visitors visiting our city. $1 million in sales tax revenue alone and many charities would be benefiting from Major League Baseball donations as San Diego would be the host city. Petco Park was getting rave reviews from across the country. While final numbers have yet to be published, consumer spending and Tax revenue was generated in the city they loved for so long.
The Chargers stadium opponents say a stadium 10 days a year is not worth it. THEY ARE RIGHT! No one disagrees with that, But what could a multi-use entertainment facility that would bring the NFL Super Bowls, Final Four, Political Conventions, WrestleMania’s and World Cups to our city do? Instead of just expanding a convention center using a TOT tax ( A tax that would only tax visitors that stay at a hotel) to 15.5% for a convention Center only expansion. How about raising the TOT one additional percent to 16.5% on out of town visitors to expand the Conv Center and a Multi-Use Stadium with money coming out of the General Fund for the stadium, That would be a no brainer right? An extra $8.00 a night on their hotel bill. Just like almost every other major city has done to accomplish these things.The opponents say conventions might go elsewhere? Do you honestly think even 1 person who visited our beloved city the week of the All-Star Game would rather go to 110 degree Las Vegas over $8.00 a night on a hotel bill? Yes, It is laughable
We have heard the arguments from the anti-downtown crowd for about five months now. In a couple of weeks, The Chargers will begin their campaign for the vote on Nov 8th. They are not going to take to Twitter or a political circuit station to make their argument using the lies and deceit as our opponents have. We don’t need to. We are confident that when you seriously look at the numbers and the facts as they show you. The answer is easy. The Chargers are going to come to you. Every one of you has a chance to personally discuss your concerns and questions either with the team or even the fan groups.
What we hope is when this campaign begins you look at the facts yourself. That you take this initiative seriously and maybe just maybe even think big at the possibilities as they did in 1998. Let us come together and discuss this issue instead of throwing dissent and lies on a wall that divides us.
I just hope in the next couple of months. Junior Seau and Tony Gwynn can look down at us and smile with that laugh we all love and miss the way they could have during All-Star Week. Take care my friends and see you soon at Chargers Park!