You don’t even have to be particularly cynical to believe the NFL doesn’t actually want a team in Los Angeles—it just loves having the helpful L.A. bogeyman around to blackmail cities into throwing taxpayers’ millions at owners to get them to stay. St. Louis has done its part, waving $400 million in public funds toward the Rams for a new stadium; now San Diego offers its pockets for the picking.
San Diego city and county leaders have presented a plan to a group of NFL owners for a new, $1.1 billion Mission Valley stadium meant to keep the Chargers from leaving for L.A. There are lots of shiny drawings of a new building, and ohbythewaytaxpayersareonthehookforathirdofit.
The city’s financial contribution of $200 million would come from lease revenue bonds. The county’s $150 million contribution would come from capital investment bond revenue.
The plan, which city and county officials characterized as a conceptual financing framework, would give the Chargers all revenue from naming rights, luxury suites, and concessions.
A normal person might look at that and say, “why should San Diegans have to contribute anything to a billionaire owner for a new stadium?” The Chargers and the NFL look at that offer and say it’s not enough.
San Diego’s proposal is dead in the water—shot down within minutes in a public statement by the Chargers. Negotiations are all but dead right now. The NFL, with three teams angling toward Los Angeles and three cities bidding against each other to offer the best deal and get its team to stay, isn’t about to accept anything that requires the league and the Chargers to pay $750 million when it doesn’t need to. (The Union-Tribune, cheerleading for a new stadium, writes that San Diego offered to cover “a mere 33 percent” of the stadium’s cost. “Mere?”)
If the threat of Los Angeles is the stick (there is no carrot in the stadium finance scam), that doesn’t mean the NFL won’t swing it. San Diego’s offer pales in comparison to St. Louis, which can’t stop rolling over for Stan Kroenke—Oakland’s working up an offer of its own to woo back the Raiders. But with three teams jostling for two potential relocation spots, and the Rams having obtained the juiciest offer, it doesn’t look good for the Chargers’ chances of staying.
So, I guess comfort yourselves with these renderings of a stadium that’ll never be built for a team that won’t be around anymore.