San Diego would not be very appealing to the NBA or NHL
In four weeks, voters will mull over a referendum that could pave the way for a new San Diego arena. Measure E, if approved, would allow structures to be over 30 feet in height in the Midway District. In 1972, San Diego decided to limit development near the city’s coast line by not allowing structures over 30 feet in height. There are people who are pushing to do something about replacing the city’s 54-year-old arena and envision a Midway District building. San Diego has a problem. The National Basketball Association is not interested in returning to a city that did not work for them twice and the National Hockey League is probably not going to be adding any teams. The NHL would not be very interested in San Diego because the city does not have a large corporate community. For a franchise to have a chance at success, there needs to be government support to build or renovate a facility, a large local cable TV deal and corporate support.
Former Major League Baseball San Diego Padres owner John Moores is involved with one of the two groups that is interested in building a San Diego arena. Moores did get a stadium built for his Padres that opened in 2004. But Moores does come with some baggage. In 2000, Moores began planning a Fourth of July 2002 Padres stadium opening but the city of San Diego stopped selling bonds to fund a stadium and urban development project because of a federal investigation of city councilwoman Valerie Stallings and her financial relationship with Moores. In 2001, Stallings pled guilty in a California court to two misdemeanors for failing to report gifts from Moores and not disqualifying herself from votes related to the stadium and urban development project. Stallings resigned and paid a $10,000 fine. The ballpark project was completed. San Diego is back in the arena game.