Chargers, Raiders Say Proposed LA Stadium Will Be Privately Funded
Backers of a proposed $1.7 billion NFL Stadium to house the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders in Carson insisted Friday that project will not be built at taxpayer expense and will create thousands of jobs.
Specifics of the financing plan for the stadium, however, were not released at a pep-rally-like news conference, during which Carson and South Bay officials hailed the proposal for a stadium at Del Amo Boulevard and Interstate 405 as a game-changer for the city.
"I just want to say that this opportunity for the people of Carson is an enormous opportunity," Carson Mayor Jim Dear said. "It will change Carson for the better in a very dramatic way."
On its website, the Los Angeles Times reported that both teams plan to continue seeking public subsidies for new stadiums in their respective home markets, but they are pursuing the Carson proposal in case they are unable to finalize any deals.
"We are pursuing this stadium option in Carson for one straightforward reason: If we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets, we have no alternative but to preserve other options to guarantee the future economic viability of our franchises," according to a statement from the teams provided to The Times.
The teams would be able to privately finance a stadium in Carson, as opposed to their current cities, because the Los Angeles market could support the sale of preferred seat licenses, one-time payments for the right to buy a season ticket, The Times reported. The teams would also get revenue from naming rights. Sponsorship and advertising would also be more lucrative in L.A, The Times said.
According to The Times, the teams are working with a business group known as Carson2gether, which plans to offer details of the proposal Friday at the proposed 168-acre site near Del Amo Boulevard and the San Diego (405) Freeway. The group plans to begin a petition drive to either place the proposal on the ballot or have the project approved by the Carson City Council.
Tim Romer, who runs the Western Region Infrastructure Group of Goldman Sachs, said the site is centrally located in Southern California, has great freeway access and is large enough for "one of the best NFL experiences" for fans.
"In our view, we've concluded that the financing of the stadium here in Carson is very viable and is doable, and we're committed to help and get this done," Romer said.
He said the financing plan would follow the model of $1.3 billion Levi's Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara. The facility in the Silicon Valley, however, is financed via a stadium authority made up of city officials, and received financing through a consortium of banks led by Goldman Sachs.
Mark Fabiani, the Chargers executive who has been spearheading efforts for a new stadium, could not be reached late Thursday for comment.
The city of San Diego has created a task force charged with finding a stadium site and developing a financing plan. But Fabiani and Mayor Kevin Faulconer have had an open and contentious discussion about the task force.
"They were actively working to go to L.A. with the Raiders — that's not being upfront with San Diegans, that's not being upfront with fans," Faulconer said on Friday. "We deserve an honest and open dialogue."
Adam Day, head of Faulconer's Citizens' Stadium Advisory Group, also issued a statement.
"This news came as a complete surprise to the Advisory Group, and while it's disappointing to hear the Chargers are moving forward with plans in Los Angeles, we remain committed to finding a solution in San Diego," Day said. "We're working toward selecting a site and developing a financing plan for a stadium, and we're going to stay focused on that."
Fabiani on Friday told NBC7/39 that he understands the angry reaction of San Diegans.
"But we've been working for 13 years in San Diego — we're committed to working for this 14th year in 2015," Fabiani said. "If we get something done in San Diego that works, we're not going to be moving. But if we can't, think of it, if it was your business, would you allow your business to be wiped out — 25 percent of it — by another team or two teams moving to Los Angeles and then being stuck in an ancient stadium with no other options? That's something you need to ask yourself if you're looking at this from a business point of view."
The Chargers have said in recent years that 20 to 25 percent of their business comes from Los Angeles and Orange counties.
"I'm fighting for the 75 percent — I'm fighting for San Diegans and generations of San Diegans who have been true Chargers fans that support the team," Faulconer said. "It's a part of who we are in San Diego."
Tony Manolatos, a spokesperson for Faulconer's task force, said in a Tweet that the city will have a stadium plan within three months.
Architect David Manica, who is working with the teams on the Carson proposal, told The Times the stadium would have a capacity of about 68,000, expandable to more than 72,000. It would also include more than 18,000 parking spaces.
"We want it to be the ultimate outdoor event experience, which includes both sports and entertainment," Manica told The Times. "And we want it to be uniquely L.A."
Manica, while working for HOK Sport, led the design of the Texans' stadium in Houston and the renovation of the Miami Dolphins' stadium.
The NFL responded to the Carson proposal with a brief statement: "We are in regular contact with all involved clubs. All clubs have been meeting their responsibilities to keep us informed."
Earlier this month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reminded team owners that relocating a franchise requires "multiple approvals from NFL ownership," and such a move "can only be granted by a three-fourths vote of the clubs."
News of the proposal comes about a month after St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke joined with the developers of the former Hollywood Park site in Inglewood to announce plans for an 80,000-seat stadium at the location.
The Rams are also pushing for a new stadium in St. Louis.
The Hollywood Park developers have already collected enough signatures to have the stadium issue placed on the city ballot. The City Council is expected to certify the signatures during its meeting on Tuesday.
According to The Times, the NFL has long said that L.A. is a two-team market, and that it is "almost inconceivable that the league would allow three teams in such close proximity."
The city of Los Angeles, meanwhile, has an agreement in place with the Anschutz Entertainment Group for a possible NFL stadium adjacent to the Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles. That deal is contingent on an NFL team agreeing to relocate to the facility.
Developer Ed Roski has also been pushing a stadium proposal in Industry.
An NFL team has not played in the Los Angeles area since 1994.
The Los Angeles Raiders played at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from 1982-1994, before returning to Oakland in 1995. The Los Angeles Rams played in the Coliseum from 1946-1979 and at what was then known as Anaheim Stadium from 1980-1994 before moving to St. Louis in 1995.
The Chargers played at the Coliseum in their inaugural 1960 season when they were a member of the American Football League, then moved to San Diego in 1961.