The San Diego Chargers are not only prioritizing a downtown location for a new stadium, but are ruling out Mission Valley, according to owner Dean Spanos.
That the Chargers view the downtown stadium/convention center project as their number one option is no secret. The team underwent the process of obtaining the requisite number of signatures to have the initiative placed on the November ballot, and later released a study that argued that the proposed hotel tax increase of 12.5% to 16.5% would be justified by economic activity generated by the facility.
Yet the Chargers have run into some concerns from various entities and groups. The San Diego Padres expressed concerns about how the stadium/convention center’s proximity to Petco Park would affect their games, and the hotelier-run Tourism Marketing District has come out against the proposal.
Perhaps more important in the bigger picture is polling of San Diego voters, which have been skeptical of the idea of a downtown stadium. One previous poll, however, indicated that there would be broader support for a stadium in Mission Valley, where the Chargers currently play at Qualcomm Stadium.
The skepticism of the downtown project, combined with the fact that a pending court case will likely require the Chargers’ proposal to receive a two-thirds majority for approval, has left some question about whether the team will reconsider Mission Valley. However, in recent comments to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Spanos said that the team will not reconsider Mission Valley if its current proposal fails:
Spanos, however, said eliminating Mission Valley from the equation doesn’t make it certain the team will move to Los Angeles if Measure C falls short of the required two-thirds approval, which is likely based on recent polling.
“Sitting here today there is no Plan B,” Spanos said. “That would be admitting defeat and I’m not going to do that.”
That leaves open the possibility the Chargers would take another shot at downtown if Measure C fails, or the team could explore other potential sites in the city or county.
Spanos said how close Measure C comes to passing could play a role in his decision.
“I think percentage tells me a lot,” he said. “If we only get 30 or 35 percent that tells you one thing. If we get 60 percent that tells you something else. I’m anxious to see what’s going to happen on Nov. 8.”
Because the plan’s passage looks increasingly unlikely, Spanos’ comments certainly indicate that the Chargers will have to take a closer look at the numbers before determining whether to make another attempt to stay in San Diego. The NFL has previously given the Chargers an option to move to Los Angeles and share a planned stadium in Inglewood with the Rams if efforts in San Diego fall through.
Seeing as how Mission Valley looks to be off the table completely, talks to redevelop that area will likely continue. One current proposal is to use the Qualcomm Stadium site for a San Diego State University project that would include a new stadium that houses Aztecs’ football and an MLS expansion franchise.
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