Carmen Policy, the former 49ers and Browns executive enlisted by the Chargers (and Raiders?) to help legitimize the Carson stadium project, gave a "sneak preview" presentation in Los Angeles yesterday. The highlight of the presentation was a video prepared by the team(s), narrated by none other than Jack Bauer himself, Kiefer Sutherland (who is apparently more hard-up for money than I knew).
Presented as "Los Angeles' newest celebrity", the presentation was used to unveil the $1.78 billion stadium project, built along the 405 freeway, atop a former landfill and nestled with the picturesque oil refineries in the crown jewel of Los Angeles County.
In an effort to hide the cracks in the foundation of the Chargers (and Raiders?) master plan, Policy pulled out all the stops to present the stadium project in the best light possible, bringing in all the glitz and glamour they could. In addition to the celebrity narration, the presentation included renderings of the proposed stadium and a veritable laundry list of potential features of the new stadium project.
You want tailgating? You got tailgating! You want sustainable energy? Baby this thing is covered in solar panels! A thriving night life? Who doesn't want to go to the stadium on Tuesday night for a date? A farmer's market? Why the hell not!? You want to breath that sweet, clean Los Angeles air? This stadium has nothing but the best natural ventilation in the NFL. Can't afford a ticket to the game itself? We got you covered there too, just watch the game from the parking lot on one of our gigantic screens.
So what did we learn from the presentation?
We learned that the Chargers seemingly know they're in second place to Stan Kroenke's Inglewood stadium plan. As such, they're doing their best to suck up to the NFL by promising to cater to their every need. The project will include 8 acres of rent-free space for NFL League offices and NFL Network studios.
Not only are they catering to the NFL, but they're just throwing a bunch of features at the wall to see what sticks. (I highly doubt a farmer's market is going to be what it takes to push some of the owners over the edge to vote in favor of the Carson project.)
Looking at the renderings, and reading the recaps of the pitch, the angle that Policy is going with is that the Carson project presents the best business opportunity for the NFL. That by bringing the Chargers and the Raiders under one open-air roof, it just makes sense to draw upon their combined 100+ years of representing California to create one "Southern California Megamarket." And because Southern Californians love their cars and love driving, due to the stadium's proximity to the 405, 91, and 110 freeways, the location caters to what Southern Californians do most.
This is effectively the same presentation that Policy gave to the NFL owners in Chicago last week. I remain less than convinced that this is a viable stadium plan, and all indications are that the NFL owners are in agreement. Initial reports from the media show that owners seems to be skepticism and doubt that Carson is the best option for the NFL, with Stan Kroenke's plan still being the front-runner.
The Chargers showed us their stadium cards, and it's hardly a royal flush.