NBC 7's Gene Cubbison offers this analysis on the latest moves behind the Chargers stadium scramble.
The Carson City Council approved an NFL stadium proposal ordinance Tuesday evening, bringing them one step closer to getting a stadium than San Diego is.
Many NFL fans crowded council chambers to urge members to fast-track the $1.7 billion plan, which they hope will lure both the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders to the LA area.
In a 3-0 vote, the city council gave its OK, a move backed up by a successful petition campaign delivered to city hall last month.
"We appreciate all of the Carson residents, organized labor representatives, and Los Angeles football fans who came out tonight to support the project," said Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani in a statement. "We are grateful for the careful consideration and positive vote of the Carson City Council and Mayor, and we look forward to continuing our work with the community."
But does that spell doom for hometown efforts to keep the Chargers?
Not if the San Diego Citizen's Stadium Advisory Group has a say.
"Our focus is on San Diego. There will be a path to a new stadium here. It sounds like there will be one in LA, too. If so, it will be up to Mr. Spanos to decide if he wants a new stadium in San Diego or Los Angeles," said Tony Manolatos, the group's spokesman.
While the NFL's clock apparently is running out, money is a major motivator for “The Shield” — virtually dictating who pays how much to build, and who reaps profits.
Losses aren’t what the Bolts or league bargain for.
Even with a green light from Carson’s City Council, a lot of somebodies have to ‘show the money’ -- hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of personal seat licenses in a new market.
The team’s investment bankers, Goldman Sachs, don't aim to get stuck with downside risks on a project costing $1.7 billion.
Redeveloping on the current Qualcomm stadium site in Mission Valley doesn't appeal to the Chargers.
They claim to have their hearts set on a hybrid stadium-convention facility in downtown's East Village.
"You know, I think that this is high-pressure negotiations,” says National University economist Erik Bruvold, who points out that joint-use sports and convention complexes don't often benefit both business models equally.
"At least right now,” he told NBC 7 in an interview, “the political consensus is that of those two priorities, the first one is enhancing and expanding San Diego's convention business — and bringing in those new dollars that conventioneers bring from out of town."
Meantime, the NFL has signaled there may be an Los Angeles relocation decision made by year's end — accelerating the need for agreement on financing details between the Chargers and city's stadium advisers.
"I would advise any city, any county, any state to get their process done in that window,” NFL Vice President Eric Grubman told reporters here last week, “and not try to wait until after."
Suspicions are widespread among the Chargers’ fan base that the team has dragged its feet and dug in heels, planning all along to wind up in LA.
"If the Chargers are saying there's not enough time to do Mission Valley,” declared Voice of San Diego editor Scott Lewis, “then they're saying there's not enough time to do San Diego."
It may be galling that the Chargers are fronting Carson's stadium efforts while pitting East Village against Mission Valley
But that's life in a league where monopoly money talks loudly.
Each of the local sites presents complications in a race trailing separate stadium plans in the Los Angeles market.
"If they (Carson and Inglewood) move forward,” predicts Bruvold, “I think it's going to be very challenging for San Diego to get a competing offer on the field that will pass taxpayer muster.
May 20th is when the mayor's stadium advisory group is scheduled to release its financing plan for the Mission Valley site.
Even if the Bolts buy into the numbers and location, will voters?
Councilmembers probably dare not make the essential stadium decisions themselves, as Carson's might.