The city of San Diego has proposed a stadium deal that would keep the Chargers in town, but the specifics actually make it more likely that the Chargers will be one of the teams that moves to Los Angeles in the next year or two.
The city proposed a new $US1.1 billion stadium with $US350 million to be publicly funded and the remaining $US750 million, as well as any cost overruns, to be paid by the Chargers and the NFL, according to Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune and Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press.
While the Chargers and the NFL will certainly want to squeeze out a larger taxpayer contribution, the team quickly rejected the proposal based on a fast-tracked environmental impact report that most feel will fail to hold up under legal challenge. Mark Fabiani, the Chargers’ point man in the stadium negotiations, emphasised this in a harshly worded statement released shortly after the proposal was made.
“Never before in California history has a controversial, billion dollar project relied on environmental review documents hastily prepared in three weeks. The Chargers have been clear from the start that the franchise will not be the City’s guinea pig for this inevitably ill-fated legal experiment.”
Fabiani doubled-down in a later statement, saying “in the end any funding plan is going to be dragged down into the quicksand of the City’s legally inadequate environmental review process — a process that will be bogged down in court for years before it is eventually declared illegal.”
With NFL owners set to meet next week to discuss the latest proposals from teams wanting to relocate to Los Angeles, it now looks like the Chargers have become the obvious choice to be one of the two teams, with the Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams vying to be the other team.
The Chargers and Raiders have a joint-proposal for a $US1.7 billion open-air stadium in the LA suburb of Carson. At the same time, Stan Kroenke, the owner of the St. Louis Rams, has proposed a $US1.86 billion, 80,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof on land in Inglewood.
In addition to the lack of a viable stadium proposal in San Diego, the NFL would almost certainly prefer to avoid a situation where three teams are in southern California — and owners have made it clear they want two teams in LA — competing against each other. This make it more likely that owners will approve the Chargers as one of the teams to move.
If that happens, the NFL is then left to decide between the Raiders-Chargers joint-proposal or coming up with a new plan in which the Chargers would be a tenant in the Rams’ stadium. Either way, the Los Angeles Chargers is now closer to becoming a reality.
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