When I talked to sports economist Daniel Rascher for this story about taxpayers’ investment in the Padres, he mentioned that San Diego’s deal was unusual at the time because it required owner John Moores to redevelop the surrounding area.

But other teams and cities have since borrowed the strategy, using new development to generate revenues meant to pay off stadium costs.

Rascher, who is the president of SportsEconomics and a professor at the University of San Francisco, said new team owners are likely to be real estate developers who look favorably on the chance to develop an area with some latitude from municipalities.

One example is in the Bay Area, where Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff has pitched a plan to build a housing and retail area that he says would pay for a new ballpark. Wolff also owns the San Jose Earthquakes soccer team and has offered to build a new stadium for that team — provided the city rezone a plot of industrial land he owns to allow housing on the site. Wolff would resell the more valuable land to housing developers and use the profits to fund the soccer stadium.

The interesting thing about the Earthquakes proposal is that the land slated to be developed isn’t anywhere near the ballpark, unlike in San Diego and other places that have used the ballpark as the central point in an urban redevelopment project.

Though Wolff’s plans may be altered because of the slumping housing market, it will be interesting to see if this strategy will be adopted elsewhere.

Closer to home, the Chargers once proposed financing the construction of a new football stadium in Mission Valley by building 6,000 condos and other development on the existing Qualcomm Stadium site. That plan died, though the team has considered other financing plans that would put the development far from the actual stadium site. We wrote about the financing phenomenon as it relates to the Chargers in this 2007 story.

RANI GUPTA

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