As their struggles to finalize a stadium deal in Las Vegas continue, the Oakland Raiders are being connected to San Diego for a possible stadium solution.
With addition investment off the table after Sheldon Adelson backed out of the deal, the $1.9 billion stadium proposal in Las Vegas is facing a new set of challenges. The team has until late March to address the current funding gap–Adelson was expected to contribute $650 million–if the NFL is to approve the relocation proposal this year.
These issues are unfolding just weeks after the San Diego Chargers announced their move to Los Angeles, leaving San Diego without an NFL franchise for the foreseeable future. The issues in Las Vegas have prompted many to wonder if San Diego could become a viable backup option for the Raiders, something that Peter King touched upon in a story on SI.com on Monday. “I think the Raiders are in play in San Diego, though I do not believe the Las Vegas option is dead yet,” King wrote before delving into the issues with Adelson and where the proposal stands.
As King notes, the Las Vegas is certainly not dead, though the recent developments do make its future a bit murkier. For San Diego to make a play for the Raiders, or any NFL team for that matter, it will have to resolve the issues that prevented it from reaching an agreement with the Chargers.
Funding for any stadium could be an issue, and it seems unlikely that Qualcomm Stadium is going to offer anything in the way of a long-term solution. As the San Diego Union-Tribune recently noted, this is just one of the unanswered questions about the possibility of the NFL’s return:
The obstacles to moving the Raiders to San Diego are familiar. How to pay for a new stadium? How to gain NFL approval to allow three teams in Southern California and only one in Northern California?
The NFL is adept at pitting cities against each other to improve an owner’s hand at the poker table.
For two decades, the League used Los Angeles as leverage to extract subsidies from other municipalities.
Is San Diego now to become a League tool in attempts to find the Raiders a home?
If there is a genuine move afoot to get the Raiders a new stadium in San Diego, it almost certainly will need to entail a creative solution and heavy private financing.
Most recently, the Chargers pushed for a new $1.8 billion stadium/convention center project in downtown San Diego, a proposal that was rejected by voters in a November referendum. The city is now considering the fate of Qualcomm Stadium, which could be demolished in the coming years, particularly if a push for an MLS stadium at the site is successful.