The three cities that face losing NFL teams have made their final offers aimed at persuading the league’s owners to prevent the teams from leaving town. In San Diego, the proposal is roughly the same as the one that the city made during 2015 negotiations.
PFT has obtained a copy of the document submitted by San Diego on December 30. It provides for $350 million in public funding that would be available only if a June 2016 election results in approval for the investment. The rest of the $1.1 billion would come from the NFL ($200 million), the Chargers ($363 million), and PSL sales ($187 million).
The proposal also relies on an aggressive approach under the California Environmental Quality Act; still, the project has qualified for a program that requires all litigation challenging it to be finalized within 270 days. This means that, even with a favorable vote in June, a final answer through the courts may not come until much later.
The downside to the proposal becomes obvious. If the vote fails or if a court decides the project doesn’t pass environmental muster, the Chargers could be shut out of L.A., assuming the Rams secure approval to move to the stadium owner Stan Kroenke wants to build in Inglewood.
That’s one of the big reasons Kroenke was believed to be pushing for a one-year delay in a final vote on Los Angeles. He thinks that the extra year will show that San Diego can get something done on a new stadium — and that St. Louis can’t.
Even if the Chargers secure approval to move on January 13, San Diego can still try to put in place a plan for building a new stadium in the hopes of luring a replacement team. Indeed, portions of the San Diego proposal seem aimed at conveying the broader message that San Diego is indeed an NFL city.
The problem for the Chargers is that San Diego needs more time to prove that it’s an NFL city (via the ballot box and the litigation process) than the Chargers are willing to invest, especially after 15 years of waiting for the local politicians to wake up. It’s possible that a departure of the Chargers will trigger a strong local incentive to regain NFL status, pushing the effort through and making San Diego a potential destination for another team that needs a new stadium but can’t work something out in its local market.
Which makes the possibility of the Raiders moving to San Diego not as far fetched as it would seem.