It’s been a long time coming. Probably too long. And it’s possibly too late.
Next week, the Chargers and San Diego finally will sit down and try to negotiate a deal to build a new football stadium in the town the team has called home since moving from L.A. after an inaugural season in 1960.
As noted by Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego, the process had never previously gotten to this point in 14-plus years of trying, with a detailed proposal developed and presented for discussion.
But it also could soon be the point of no return for the Chargers and San Diego, if a deal can’t be finalized based on the $1.1 billion stadium plan as a starting point for talks.
The Chargers would contribute $300 million to the new stadium, but rent ($1 million per game; $173 million over 30 years) and other expenses could eventually reach $1 billion. The NFL would separately contribute $200 million to the project.
The deal as structured would, in theory, avoid a public vote for any public money needed to pay for the project.
Next week’s negotiations should reveal fairly quickly whether the Chargers truly want to do a deal in San Diego, or whether they’re intent on moving back to L.A. At the March league meetings in Arizona, an unmistakable sense emerged that the Chargers want out — in part because the team believes it would be a mistake to stay put and watch one or two teams move to Los Angeles.
Maybe the end game for the Chargers entails a two-front negotiation aimed at getting a new stadium in San Diego and limiting the number of teams moving to L.A. to one. If that’s the case, the team’s partner on a proposed stadium in Carson, California could still be the odd man out in L.A., even if the Chargers don’t move there.