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Chargers Look Beyond Election Day

Preliminary Chargers Stadium Design

Facing long odds in their effort to secure approval for a downtown stadium/convention center, the San Diego Chargers are already considering their next steps.

On Election Day, San Diego voters will consider whether to raise the city’s hotel tax from 12.5% to 16.5%, effectively covering $1.15 billion in bonds for costs related to the stadium, convention center, and property acquisition. The chances of the $1.8 billion proposition going through are slim, in part because of a pending court case that forces the proposal—which is on the ballot as Measure C—to receive approval from two-thirds of voters.

Aside from the high margin of approval needed, the Chargers face some other problems. The tourism industry has lashed out against the plan, stating that the tax increase cannot be justified when taking into account anticipated revenue from the stadium/convention center. Voters, meanwhile, have shown little desire for the plan, with a Union-Tribune/News 10 poll from earlier this month showing that support for Measure C comes in at just 36%.

There a few ways that the Chargers could proceed after Election Day. One is to consider the percentage of voters who approve Measure C, and look to build on that support for another proposal. While there are some questions as to what a new plan would look like, San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer’s recent endorsement was seen by some as a sign that the door could be left open for future stadium discussions.

However, the Chargers still have the option to move to Los Angeles, where they would eventually join the Rams at a new stadium in Inglewood. Though it is not a done deal, some are wondering whether a move to Los Angeles is the most viable alternative for the Chargers, especially when considering that none of San Diego’s city council members have backed Measure C. More from CBS Sports:

The new stadium would need 66 percent approval; team sources believe perhaps they could achieve a majority, but reaching two-thirds seems beyond remote. If they do achieve at least a majority, then team and league sources indicated perhaps it could invoke some hope of a stadium down the road, while falling short of that would essentially be a death blow to the project.

The Chargers have an option to join the Rams in Los Angeles in January, and team sources have indicated that is basically their only recourse should they lose the November vote as expected.

The option to move to Los Angeles is valid until January 15, 2017. With Measure C unlikely to pass, the Chargers will be making their next decision sooner rather than later.

RELATED STORIES: Chargers Measure C Faces Opposition; Kevin Faulconer Backs Chargers Stadium Effort; Is Los Angeles the Chargers Only Backup Plan? 

This article first appeared in the weekly Football Stadium Digest newsletter. Are you a subscriber? It’s free, and you’ll see features like this before they appear on the Web. Go here to subscribe to the Football Stadium Digest newsletter.

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August Publications