Fundraising Frenzy, Fiscal Lures Brought to Bear in Stadium Quest | NBC 7 San Diego

San Diego Chargers launch a hurry-up offense to replace the aging Qualcomm Stadium

Fundraising Frenzy, Fiscal Lures Brought to Bear in Stadium Quest

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Fundraisers are approaching potential donors to "to keep the Chargers football team in San Diego." NBC 7's Gene Cubbison explains. (Published Friday, March 6, 2015)

    Developments in San Diego's stadium scramble are on an increasingly fast and furious track.

    While Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s nine-member stadium advisory group is executing a hurry-up game plan, fundraisers are approaching potential donors to "to keep the Chargers football team in San Diego,” NBC 7 has learned.

    At least one private corporation has been asked for $10,000.

    The investment banking firm of Goldman Sachs is offering the Bolts astronomical sums in the form of front money, expenses for a temporary venue and early operating losses in a privately funded, state-of-the-art stadium they’d share with the Raiders in Carson.

    How can the team resist?

    "I understand that they have to protect their interests up there,” said advisory group spokesman Tony Manolatos. “But they've said all along that their number one priority is to build a new stadium here in San Diego. And we're taking them at their word for that. We think that Carson is just protecting their business interests."

    Manolatos told NBC 7 Friday that the group is receiving no funding from the city or “outside” sources.

    The advisers may have gotten more heat than enlightenment from the turnout at Monday's public forum at Qualcomm Stadium.

    The deteriorating facility Qualcomm Stadium site has heavy legal and financial baggage -- but plenty of tailgate space and transportation access.

    East Village is the Chargers' field of dreams, with its own obstacles and higher price tags.

    But the lure of NFL riches and risk protection in Carson is huge.

    Skeptical Chargers fans and taxpayers who see the whole gambit as a bluff are now being advised to consider the downside of taking on a virtual cartel finally may be ready to act.

    "There obviously has been a green light; the NFL has given a green light,” warns former city attorney Mike Aguirre. “We're having an irrelevant conversation about sites down here in San Diego. We're not realizing that the teams are on their way up north -- unless we can find some kind of countervailing pressure that we can use to our advantage."

    During a Friday recording session for Sunday’s edition of NBC 7’s “Politically Speaking,” Aguirre outlined a case for why the city is running a risk of losing the franchise: "What is going on here is there are four billionaires vying for the Los Angeles market. And it's a much bigger market. Their economy is $800 billion, ours is $200 billion -- so it's a much more lucrative opportunity.

    “And so we have to understand when you're dealing with a monopoly, they monopolize the supply side,” Aguirre added. “So we need to organize the demand side."

    A National University study released Friday concludes that roughly two-thirds of a stadium's cost here would have to come from the public – even given decent sales of personal seat licenses in the range of $100 million.

    The stadium advisory group is being lobbied vigorously to recommend rebuilding on the current Qualcomm site.

    "If the task force is to choose Mission Valley, then I believe the next step is they need to engage the residents of Mission Valley and to see if they want the land developed,” said Dan McLellan, communications director for the Save Our Bolts organization and former Chargers beat writer for CBS Sports. “Because if they're in favor of it, then let's go forward and try to solve all the problems that are at Mission Valley and get everybody on the same page."

    Otherwise, the Bolts bandwagon could face a "Not-in-My-Back-Yard" counter campaign -- risky business, when the NFL and outta-town tycoons are teamed up.

    Whether it's for the Mission Valley or the Chargers' preferred East Village site, the county of San Diego could help with a "joint powers authority" approach, and construction "bridge loans" to be repaid later out of proceeds from commerce generated by the stadium project and related investments.

    “That's certainly an idea to be explored,” City Councilman Mark Kersey said during the “Politically Speaking” recording session. “But I think the JPA with the county makes a lot of sense. It's how the original stadium was built back in the sixties. And the county -- this is obviously a regional asset, it's not just a city asset -- the team. And I think having the county involved makes a lot of sense and that should be definitely part of the negotiations."

    Meantime, according to sources, Faulconer and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell are scheduled for a phone conversation next week.

    The full “Politically Speaking” discussions with Aguirre, Manolatos, McLellan and Kersey air Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on NBC 7.