San Diego sports bars brace for Chargers exit

Posted at 5:28 PM, Dec 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-21 09:20:35-05

Sunday’s Charger game versus the Miami Dolphins could be the team’s final home game at Qualcomm Stadium.

And while San Diego could lose its NFL team, local bars and restaurants could take an even bigger hit.

When thousands of fans pack Qualcomm Stadium to cheer on the Chargers, thousands more head to bars around San Diego County.

“If San Diego picks up and leaves and moves to L.A., then that entire scene is gone,” said Wesley Kurz, a Carmel Valley resident.

The prospect of the Chargers playing their last game in town has left those who run sports to wonder who to make up the business. The team has two road games left, and the NFL is expected to decide in January whether it can leave for Los Angeles.

“It’s definitely going to hurt us a little bit,” said Ray Corallino, general manager of Miller’s Field in Pacific Beach.

Corallino said Charger fans boost business by 30 percent when the team is playing. This year, however, has been down.

“Now with all the rumors about them moving, ownership seems to have basically alienated the fan base,” he said.

The bar, with satellite TVs all over the walls, fills up with a hodgepodge of fans when East Coast teams play in the morning. But the Chargers are key because there aren’t as many games in the afternoons. They’re always featured on the bars biggest televisions, some as big as 80 inches. But that honor could soon go to another team.

“So if you don't have a Chargers fan base for the afternoon games, you have to accommodate the Seahawks, the 49ers, the Raiders,” Corallino said.

Corallino is already reaching out to those fan bases to take over as the bar's new home team if the Chargers leave for L.A.

“I think the Chargers fan base will be cut down by 75 percent,” he said.

So even if Qualcomm Stadium is silenced on Sundays, there will still be something to cheer about at Miller’s Field.