San Diego Takes Issue with Grand Jury's Stadium Stance

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A subcommittee of the San Diego City Council on Wednesday disputed recent conclusions of a grand jury assembled to assess the financial management of San Diego County Credit Union Stadium in Mission Valley.

According to KPBS public broadcasting in San Diego, the grand jury report took issue with some aspects of stadium management being assigned to third parties rather than stadium staff. Following the Chargers' departure as the stadium's main tenant, the city contracted with Fox Sports to handle stadium advertising sales and with the San Diego College Bowl Association to sell skybox and luxury suite leases. While the grand jury determined those duties could and should have been handled in house, the city argues that the outsourcing of those tasks, which were beyond the staff's expertise anyway, freed up stadium personnel to focus on booking lucrative events — a strategy that paid dividends.

"In fact, by spending so much time on booking additional stadium events, the city was able to garner $3.7 million in additional revenue above and beyond what was actually budgeted for fiscal year '18," said Lisa Byrne, speaking for the city's office of the Independent Budget Analyst.

Stadium officials had been hopeful that the stadium could finally be profitable without the Chargers, who had collected the lion's share of advertising, concessions, parking and ticket revenue from their NFL home games.

The grand jury further recommended that the city make policies and rules to evaluate future stadium contracts, and the city council and mayor now have until mid-November to accept those recommendations or make a case for refuting them.

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