Another positive step forward.
If you recall, on March 26th, there was an announcement outside the County Administration building in San Diego that the city and county had agreed to split the costs on the hiring of consultants to assist with negotiations between the Public and the Chargers on a new football stadium.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) specified that neither the city or county would pay more than $250,000 towards these costs.
Within the last month, both the San Diego City Council and County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the MOU, and the process of interviewing firms began.
Today, the City announced the hiring of Citigroup to handle the financial side of negotiations, and the hiring of Nixon-Peabody to handle the legal elements.
"The hiring of nationally recognized experts is another positive step toward creating a real and responsible stadium plan. These experts in finance and negotiation will help make sure taxpayers get a fair deal. They have a proven track record of getting NFL stadiums done and will ensure that the financing plan we put together in San Diego is rock solid. We're making progress towards a real solution that can garner broad public support." - Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
"I'm delighted with the choice of Nixon-Peabody and Citigroup. The partnership brings the creativity, tenacity, insight, and financial knowledge necessary to guide us in the preparation of a reasonable stadium funding proposal." - County Supervisor Ron Roberts.
These negotiators are expected to take the financing plan put forth by the Citizens' Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG) almost exactly 1 month from now, and use that as a starting point in their negotiations with the Chargers. The Chargers, for their part, are represented by Goldman Sachs.
According to a press release from the City, Citigroup has been involved with include the new Atlanta Falcons stadium, MetLife Stadium, Citi Field, and Amway Center. Nixon-Peabody was consulted on several other stadium deals, including Levi's Stadium, AT&T Stadium, MetLife Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, Lucas Oil Stadium, Ford Field, Paul Brown Stadium, and Gillette Stadium.
Nixon-Peabody was selected following an interview process conducted by a combination of City and County staff, along with the legal departments for both the City and County. Citigroup was selected following the City's request-for-proposals looking for an investment banker with experience in stadium deals.
"The number of experts who have actually negotiated and arranged for financing NFL stadiums is limited. We now have on our side of the table some of the most experienced to help ensure that we do things right and present voters with the best possible deal." - City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.
The Chargers released a brief statement regarding the announcement:
We have valued our relationship with City Attorney Goldsmith over the years, and we welcome the initiative he has shown to bring stadium experts into the process on behalf of the city." - Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani.
It has taken 12 years, but it does seem like the City and County are going to fight to keep the Chargers in San Diego. In about 1 month, we'll start getting an idea of how good the odds are of winning that fight.