If you like the Chargers, odds are you really like the CSAG stadium financing plan. If you don’t like the Chargers, odds are you really dislike said financing plan.
But what if you ARE the Chargers? How do you suppose the team is going to respond to the Mission Valley stadium proposal?
The fact the Chargers and Raiders together hired former San Francisco 49ers president Carmen Policy, who nearly spearheaded a statdium deal for the Rams in Los Angeles 20 years ago, to help them with the Carson stadium situation suggests the Bolts are not terribly enamored with what they've seen so far.
So, let's break this down and let’s look at a few of the pros and the cons from the team's perspective.
PRO: No public vote (which would need to pass at 66%) required for new taxes to fund the proposal.
CON: $242 million coming from the general funds of the city and county.
ANALYSIS: The general funds basically ARE tax dollars, so the city’s plan to replenish those funds will be of extreme importance.
PRO: The Chargers were asked to kick in $300 million instead of their proposed $200 million.
CON: The Chargers were asked to kick in $300 million instead of their proposed $200 million.
ANALYSIS: This is going to be a problem. I’ll explain why after this …
PRO: The plan calls for the Chargers to pay rent on the stadium at a rate that starts with the team still having one of the lowest rents in the NFL.
CON: That won’t last too long. The Bolts rent would start at $10 million per year and increase 3% each year over a 30-year term, kicking the total over that time over $400 million.
ANALYSIS: While it seems like a good deal to everyone else, the Chargers see the total amount. Add the $300 million up front to the $400-plus million in rent over 30 years and the team will commit more than just about any other team of similar market size has ever had to pay for their own facility. That’s probably not going to fly with the Spanos clan.
PRO: The plan says private developers will provide $225 million towards the cost by purchasing 75 acres of land around the stadium.
CON: That’s $3 million an acre, an awfully pricey proposition even by San Diego real estate standards.
ANALYSIS: Assuming all 75 acres can be sold, which is dicey in the first place, will they all fetch that price?
PRO: The CSAG says the Mission Valley site will be shovel-ready by 2017 with a build lasting 2 ½ to 3 years, so there’s a fairly well-defined time table for this whole thing to happen.
CON: That means the Chargers won’t be able to play in their home until likely the 2020 season.
ANALYSIS: That’s a long time to wait and extends beyond the time frame the Chargers have said is acceptable to them. Plus, it assumes negotiations on the proposed deal start immediately and there is no litigation to slow down the process. I think we all know a lawsuit of some kind would come. I mean, this IS San Diego.
PRO: The CSAG estimates the actual stadium construction cost (not including surrounding areas or parking, just the stadium itself) at $950 million.
CON: Given recent history that seems unrealistically low.
ANALYSIS: The last NFL stadium built in the United States that cost less than $1 billion was Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, which opened in 2008 for a total price of $720 million. Since then three stadiums have opened. AT&T Stadium in Dallas was $1.3 billion. MetLife Stadium in New Jersey was $1.6 billion. Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara was $1.3 billion. Two other stadiums are under construction, one in Minnesota and one in Atlanta. The Vikings expect theirs to cost $1.07 billion while the Falcons are planning for $1.4 billion. Real estate in San Diego is a lot more expensive than it is in Minneapolis, so thinking a stadium in this day and age can be completed for less than 10 figures is a borderline miracle.
Those are just a few of the things the Chargers and the local government will likely have to work through. The big question now is do they have the patience with one another to put the work in?