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Exclusive BFTB Q&A with CSAG's Jim Steeg and Adam Day

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Adam Day and Jim Steeg from San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's Citizens Stadium Advisory Group stop by to answer questions from the Bolts from the Blue staff writers about the potential Mission Valley stadium site and if the Downtown site is truly dead.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  1. The Chargers have said in the past they would not share revenue (e.g. naming rights, advertising, etc.). Have you had any discussions with the team which would indicate this position has changed or softened?

    Jim Steeg:

    We have had initial discussions with the team and look forward to hearing from the Chargers again. We believe it is important that the Chargers organization increase its ability to financially compete with other NFL teams. One of our goals is to provide a framework that allows Mayor Faulconer to negotiate an agreement with Mr. Spanos that is beneficial for the Chargers and the team’s future, and San Diegans.

  2. CSAG is scheduled to meet via teleconference with NFL VP Eric Grubman on 4/7, and the finance members of CSAG will meet with him a week later. This would seem to indicate the broad outlines of a package are in place. What elements of the financing package are already in place?

    Adam Day:

    We will want to listen to the process that Mr. Grubman outlines for communication, meetings, input, and suggestions for a viable stadium proposal. There are many elements being considered for the financing package and the input of the NFL on what has succeeded and failed is important to determining the final plan CSAG will present to the Mayor before the end of May. I will add that our financing plan will be fair, workable, and will not require a two-thirds vote.

  3. Is there any thought that the Carson project might be a mirage, seeing as how they're already trailing behind Stan Kroenke's Inglewood project? Does that make it likely that the Chargers would accept a reasonable offer from San Diego?

    Adam Day:

    Our focus is on building the best proposal for San Diego. We are not distracted by the rhetoric stemming from the 40-year pursuit of a stadium in Los Angeles.

  4. What would they say to residents that are skeptical about the value of having a stadium? What evidence do they have that this is a worthwhile proposition for the non-sports-fan citizen?

    Jim Steeg:

    A stadium is an important component of many leading communities across the globe. I cannot think of any significant city in the United States that does not have at its core a stadium that hosts professional sports, collegiate sports, entertainment events, and more. This would be a building for all of San Diego, not just Charger fans. It is as much about an 10-year-old girl going to see her favorite "Boy Band" as it is about a 75-year-old alumnus seeing his alma mater play in a top bowl game.

  5. Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs) have been discussed as a potential revenue source for a stadium in San Diego, though certainly not to the level they would be in LA. Are PSLs in play? If yes, how much revenue can be generated? Has CSAG identified any "added-value" ideas for PSLs to make them more palatable to potential buyers?

    Jim Steeg:

    We have to be realistic about what can be done in San Diego versus areas such as Santa Clara. PSLs will likely be a component of any financing plan, but probably 10 percent or less.

  6. Were any other sites considered besides Mission Valley and Downtown (next to PETCO Park)? Did things get wild over a bottle of scotch? Who was the first to propose building a football stadium where the airport is and moving the airport to somewhere with more land?

    Adam Day:

    Mayor Faulconer asked CSAG to do two things, and first and foremost was selecting Mission Valley or Downtown as the site of a new muti-use stadium. To consider additional sites would have drawn the process out and allow an opportunity to build a stadium by the end of this decade slip away.

  7. Does the announcement of a City & County partnership change the way CSAG has approached the financing, and what benefits does it entail?

    Jim Steeg:

    This is a significant step in bringing the entire region solidly together, and we expect the County to play a significant role moving forward.

  8. As part of the financing package, you all have a better idea than anyone else what the new Mission Valley Stadium might look like. Can we expect to see any renderings in the near future?

    Adam Day:

    We are certainly looking at the overall plan for the current site and the plans for Mission Valley. However, commissioning artist renderings of a potential stadium and the surrounding property does not fall within our scope of work.

  9. Have you drawn any interest already for potential naming rights or advertising deals from corporations / businesses? If so, have any numbers been discussed?

    Adam Day:

    We have heard from numerous people and corporations expressing interest. There appears to great interest and we will share that information with the Mayor and the Chargers, but we will not be negotiating a naming rights deal.

  10. How does CSAG intend to make the new stadium a "year round" destination, so as to maximize the potential revenue generated from the facility?

    Jim Steeg:

    The mayor has expressed interest in having the new facility managed by a private stadium management firm and we think that’s a good idea. The firm selected will be one that will have connections to book national tours, concerts, events, etc. and be incentivized to fill the venue not just with major events, but those starting at 1,000 attendees, too. Recent events at AT&T Stadium and Levi’s Stadium show the range of what’s possible, and San Diego’s wonderful climate would only add to the possibilities.

  11. In the event the Chargers/NFL tell San Diego they want the downtown option or they'll leave for Los Angeles, has CSAG done any work on financing a potential downtown site?

    Adam Day:

    We have said Downtown is not the team’s preference because we took Mark Fabiani at his word. He told all nine CSAG members, when we met with him in February, that the Chargers are agnostic and would be happy with a workable plan for either site. It is unfortunate that Mr. Fabiani has decided to revisit this issue. Clearly, the Chargers are competing with other teams for a stadium in Los Angeles. If the 32 NFL owners making the relocation decisions think San Diego is divided and can’t put together a viable plan, they are more likely to green light the Chargers move to L.A.

    The Chargers spent years campaigning for a new stadium at the Mission Valley site before shifting their attention Downtown, where their plans call for a tax increase that would need support from two-thirds of the voters. Nearly everyone in town sees that as a non-starter based on past experiences at the polls.

    CSAG’s research steered all 9 members to Mission Valley, including several who initially favored Downtown, because it’s less expensive, faster, and less complicated. If the Chargers are serious about Downtown, the team, as a good faith gesture, should sign a 7-year lease extension at Qualcomm to give the City the time it would need to relocate MTS, clean up the bus yard, and buy multiple pieces of land from different owners.

  12. The Chargers' announcement of the Carson project took a lot of people by surprise. Aside from the shortened study and planning time, what other effects has the Carson announcement caused for members of CSAG?

    Adam Day:

    Although we are not focused on that effort, it does provide San Diegans an example of how to shorten the entitlement and environmental process. I also should reiterate a point I’ve made before – CSAG said following our first meeting that we would beat the initial fall deadline, so our decision to lock that in for the end of May was an easy one.

  13. There have been comments about beautifying the San Diego River area of the Qualcomm site. What are the plans for the river area as part of this proposal?

    Jim Steeg:

    This is a very significant part of the overall plan because there is tremendous potential to incorporate this unique environmental asset into the overall planning of the new stadium and surrounding area. The San Diego River Foundation has provided us with excellent input and their ideas will be integrated into the plan we propose.

  14. Is CSAG looking at using an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District (EIFD) as part of the Mission Valley plan, even knowing it has a 55% voting threshold?

    Adam Day:

    With one property owner it would not have a 55 percent threshold. Everything is on the table, except anything that requires a two-thirds vote.

  15. In regards to paying the ongoing costs of maintenance and upkeep of a new stadium, does CSAG believe the Chargers would be willing to take on that cost?

    Jim Steeg:

    It is assumed that the City/County will oversee the stadium upkeep and maintenance, although we would hope that a plan would be put in place that would provide for significant upgrades after 10 to 15 years.

  16. Finally, a lot of progress has been made the last few months after years of little to no progress. Why hasn’t an effort like this come together before, and what are you feeling today about San Diego’s chances of pulling this off?

    Adam Day:

    The stadium issue has been around a dozen years, but it’s not accurate to suggest any one person or issue is to blame. Multiple factors played a role, including the infamous "ticket guarantee" between the city and the team, which cost San Diego taxpayers millions of dollars and wasn’t lifted until the 2004 season. The City also was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for many of those years because of a pension crisis it has since resolved. The real estate collapse was a significant factor, as was the Great Recession. None of that, however, is important. What matters is today, and today we have a new Mayor and an Advisory Group making real progress. You can feel the momentum.

    There is a reason the County and the City Attorney came on board last week. There is a reason the NFL is traveling to San Diego to meet with CSAG later this month. San Diego is putting this together, and I have complete confidence we will finish the job. I’ve never felt more certain about that than at any point during this process.

    Also, it’s important to remember that Dean Spanos is a San Diegan. His heart is here and so is his family. Mr. Spanos and his father, Alex Spanos, and the rest of their family, have given back to this community and watched it grow over 3 decades. They hosted 3 Super Bowls and there is no denying this – Their team brings San Diegans together. It’s important that we present Mr. Spanos with a fair and workable plan.

Our thanks to Adam and Jim for taking the time to answer our questions. If you have any questions you want answered by them, they'll be back at 10:30am on Monday, along with CSAG spokesperson Anthony Manolatos, to do a LIVE Q&A with the BFTB commenters!