Business & Economy

Group recommends Chargers pay $300M, NFL $200M for stadium

An artist's rendering of a $1.33 billion stadium for the San Diego Chargers.
An artist's rendering of a $1.33 billion stadium for the San Diego Chargers.
Citizen's Stadium Advisory Group

An advisory group appointed by Mayor Kevin Faulconer recommended Monday that the Chargers contribute $300 million toward a new $1.33 billion stadium, with the NFL giving $200 million, the city and county $121 million each and personal seat licenses totaling $120 million.

Under intense pressure from the team and the NFL, the Citizen's Stadium Advisory Group said in its financing plan that there won't be tax increases or increases to the city's general fund, and that the financing plan doesn't rely on development to pay for the stadium, parking or infrastructure.

Advisory group chairman Adam Day said he personally delivered a copy of the plan to both Chargers chairman Dean Spanos and Faulconer.

The Chargers are threatening to leave for the Los Angeles area unless they get a deal to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium.

The city and county, which have hired outside legal and financial experts, must now try to negotiate with the Chargers, who have been highly critical of Faulconer and the advisory group.

"I'm bullish on the team staying here. I have been from day one and I'm more confident now than I was before," Day said after a news conference announcing the plan. "I think there's a clear path forward."

Faulconer "laid down a clear mandate to get this done on his watch and I think everyone would agree there is more political risk for him to have taken this on than not," Day added. "Once you have that clear direction, we're a narrowly focused group and we're answering two questions that have never been answered before."

The group already determined that the best place for a new stadium was in Mission Valley next to the old one, rather than downtown, where the Chargers want to be. The other question was how to pay for it.

The Chargers' long, contentious push for a new stadium will end on Faulconer's watch, with either a new building or the team leaving town.

"For the first time we have a real opportunity with this framework to achieve success," Faulconer said. "San Diegans deserve a good and fair deal. I won't accept anything less. I think we can make it happen. We've done it before with Petco Park and we can do it again."

Faulconer said he left a message for Spanos on Monday, saying, "I'm looking forward to us getting together very quickly in the next several weeks to start in on negotiations."

Faulconer said he still wants the public to vote on the final deal, if one can be struck.

Other suggested funding sources include the Chargers paying rent of $173 million over 30 years, ticket surcharges totaling $84.7 million — or $5 a ticket — and $225 million from the sale of 75 acres of land at the Qualcomm Stadium site.

The Chargers declined to make Spanos available for comment. A spokesman issued a statement saying it was grateful to the advisory group and would "thoroughly review" the financing suggestions.

The advisory group expedited its work after the Chargers and their biggest rivals, the Oakland Raiders, announced plans to build a $1.7 billion stadium in the L.A. suburb of Carson if they didn't get new stadiums in their hometowns.

The financing plan cited comments from the Chargers from 2014 that the Spanos family and investment partners would put up roughly $400 million and seek a $200 million loan from the NFL.

Half of the PSLs would help fund the public's share of the stadium while the other half would help the Chargers fund their share.

The advisory group estimates the team could make $135 million to $165 million in naming rights over 20 years, plus other revenue totaling $25 million a year.

The advisory group recommended that a joint powers authority be formed between the county and city to oversee development and ownership of the stadium.

It also said the city and county should seek long-term leases with San Diego State and the group that puts on the Holiday and Poinsettia bowls. It suggests annual rent of $1.25 million each from SDSU and the bowl group.

Other recommendations include:

—The city and county should request an opportunity to present the financing plan to the Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities, and NFL executive Eric Grubman, well in advance of the NFL owners meeting in October.

—Negotiations with the team should begin immediately.

—Following the negotiations, the Chargers should launch and fund a citizens' initiative, like the team did this year in Carson, with the goal of gathering enough verified signatures and securing a City Council vote prior to the NFL owners meeting.

The advisory group said the city's contribution could come from money saved by retiring the remaining debt service of $52 million before a new stadium opens.