Expert: Snapdragon Deal Worth $125K

Expert: Snapdragon Deal Worth $125K

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Qualcomm Stadium

 

San Diego Jerry Sanders said allowing wireless communications giant Qualcomm to temporarily change the name of the city’s football stadium last month, “didn’t cost taxpayers a dime.”

But, according to one expert, taxpayers left plenty of dimes on the table.

Eric Wright, president and research director at Joyce Julius & Associates advertising firm, estimated Qualcomm received $125,000 to $135,000 worth of television exposure from the deal.

Wright’s firm calculates estimates based on the value of national television commercials during game telecasts. In this case, Wright used typical rates for college bowl and nationally televised NFL games. It excludes additional exposure value from radio and other media coverage and changes to the signage inside the stadium.

Qualcomm, with Sanders’ blessing, switched the stadium’s name from Qualcomm Stadium to “Snapdragon Stadium” for 10 days in December to promote the company’s new line of mobile processors.

The stadium carried the name during three nationally televised football games — two college bowls and an NFL contest between the Chargers and Baltimore Ravens. Sanders allowed the deal to go forward against the advice of City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, and defended the decision not to charge the company aside from $1,000 for staff time.

“The city was duly compensated for its staff time, but any notion that we should have exploited the occasion to shake down the holder of the naming rights is absurd,” Sanders said in a statement Friday.

“Shake down” is a strong phrase. According to Goldsmith, the city had a contractual right to more money from Qualcomm. And that’s not just any contractual right. The city had something of value at a stadium that costs taxpayers $12 million a year to operate. It also needs the cash. The city’s budget gap currently stands at $31.8 million.

Qualcomm projected that 30 million television viewers and 150,000 fans would see Snapdragon advertising during the three games. In 1997, the company paid $18 million for 20-year naming rights as part of a plan to renovate the stadium.

Perhaps Qualcomm has been such a solid corporate citizen that it shouldn’t have paid to change the name. Sanders has argued that Qualcomm’s success translates into more good, local jobs. The company’s founder, Irwin Jacobs, is the primary donor on two Sanders’ legacy projects, a new downtown library and a plan to remove cars from Balboa Park’s central plaza.

But even if Qualcomm deserved to receive the name change for virtually no cost, it shouldn’t have been the mayor’s decision. Goldsmith said explicitly that both his office and the City Council needed to sign off on a change like this. Neither did.

One issue is financial. The other is about checks and balances. In a case like this, it’d be easier to dismiss the money question if the mayor had followed the rules.

(Disclosure: Jacobs is also a major donor to voiceofsandiego.org.)

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

Like VOSD on Facebook.

 

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.


Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon is senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He leads VOSD’s investigations and writes about how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next? Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

  • 897 Posts
  • 29
    Followers

Show comments
Before you comment, read these simple guidelines on what is not allowed.

19 comments
Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

*Bob Stein, my misspelling was unintentional.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

*Bob Stein, my misspelling was unintentional.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

When you complain about

Geoff Page
Geoff Page subscribermember

Yes, that is what I have been saying. Open the bidding to everyone and get top dollar.

GeoffPage
GeoffPage

Yes, that is what I have been saying. Open the bidding to everyone and get top dollar.

David Crossley
David Crossley subscriber

Got to give Qualcomm a pass on this one. They came through with $18 mil to finish the stadium expansion when no one else was stepping forward--as much as I don't care for Sanders, just let it go, people.

aardvark6
aardvark6

Got to give Qualcomm a pass on this one. They came through with $18 mil to finish the stadium expansion when no one else was stepping forward--as much as I don't care for Sanders, just let it go, people.

Geoff Page
Geoff Page subscribermember

Your defense of the Mayor only leaves me, and obviously many others, asking why?

GeoffPage
GeoffPage

Your defense of the Mayor only leaves me, and obviously many others, asking why?

Frank K. Ulrich
Frank K. Ulrich subscriber

OH, HA HA....WHEN THEY SCREWED JACK MURPHY'S LEGACY FOR THE ALMIGHTY $$$$$ NOBODY CARED MUCH, SO WHATS THE UPROAR NOW??

FRANKLY
FRANKLY

OH, HA HA....WHEN THEY SCREWED JACK MURPHY'S LEGACY FOR THE ALMIGHTY $$$$$ NOBODY CARED MUCH, SO WHATS THE UPROAR NOW??

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

I think most people see that Sanders should have done this the right way, but most people also see this as a rather trivial thing that is only newsworthy to those looking for something to criticize Sanders on, and there are a lot more weighty things than this.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

I think most people see that Sanders should have done this the right way, but most people also see this as a rather trivial thing that is only newsworthy to those looking for something to criticize Sanders on, and there are a lot more weighty things than this.

Frances O'Neill Zimmerman
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman

It's also why a community needs enterprising journalism -- in this case, thanks to the San Diego Reader and voiceofsandiego.org. for bringing this matter to light.

Joe Jones
Joe Jones subscriber

This was a bad business deal on behalf of the city, period.

jad555
jad555

This was a bad business deal on behalf of the city, period.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

Thirdly, equating what may or may not have been a procedural violation by sanders with the magna carta is kinda silly Chris.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

Thirdly, equating what may or may not have been a procedural violation by sanders with the magna carta is kinda silly Chris.