The city of San Diego’s Chargers stadium consultant Mitchell Ziets didn’t talk to me for my story on his quiet exit from the city after his $160,000 contract ended last July. Fortunately, I’ve found a 2006 interview with Ziets in a sports academic journal, which goes in significant depth about his experience putting together stadium financing deals.
Ziets, who now is based in New York, called his work with the Padres on Petco Park “the most challenging” project he had ever worked on:
Q: What was the most challenging project you have ever done and why?
A: The Padres ballpark was the most challenging. We were dealing with a small market team, a difficult site, a limit on public funding due to Prop 218, a city which appeared to be inflexible once we had to diverge from the initial financing plan (cost overruns, delays, etc.), onerous development requirements, and serial litigation that delayed the project two years. Despite this, the Padres succeeded in completing the ballpark and creating a model on how a ballpark can reinvigorate a neighborhood.
Read the full interview, which includes more about the Petco deal and his thoughts on publicly financed stadiums, here.
Thanks to the editors at the International Journal of Sports Finance at West Virginia University, who allowed us to reprint this interview. It first appeared in the journal’s February 2006 issue. The journal’s website is http://www.fitinfotech.com/IJSF/IJSF.tpl.