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Will the NFL help the Chargers Stay in SD?

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According to the San Diego Union Tribune’s Kevin Acee, San Diego has submitted a final offer. Is it enough?

A rendering of San Diego’s proposed Mission Valley stadium from 2015
Populous / City of San Diego

In case there’s any doubt, the firing of Mike McCoy has placed all the emphasis regarding the Chargers on whether the team will be relocating to Los Angeles.

Further, we also know there is a sizable gap between what the Chargers and NFL want in a public subsidy, and what the City and County of San Diego (as well as San Diego State University) are prepared to offer.

Yet, somehow, there’s some hope. Maybe just a fool’s hope, but hope nonetheless.

The Story As Of Right Now

Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune reported that San Diego’s (City+County+SDSU) final offer consists of approximately $375 million. The exact mix of which entities contribute and how much is currently not public.

Briefly, if you recall San Diego’s offer back in fall of 2015 was for a new stadium in Mission Valley. That offer called for a $1.1 billion new stadium, with $350 million in public money. The public contribution broke down as $200M from the City and $150 million from the County. Aside from the questions of the City’s expedited Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the team had concerns that the County’s offer “wasn’t real.”

As Acee also reported in the open of his radio show last Thursday evening, the County’s contribution was diminished, with the hope that SDSU could make up some portion of their contribution.

Further, if you recall last January, when the Chargers announced they would stay in San Diego for the 2016 season, Scott Reid of the Orange County Register reported the team would be seeking a public subsidy of about $500 million.

Thus, it’s pretty clearly cut-and-dried that the $375 million offered is about $125 million short of what the team and NFL were looking for. However, and this is critical for San Diego... Acee’s article indicates that both the team and the NFL regard the offer as legitimate.

Thus, the question shifts to the NFL. Is it worth $125 million to keep the Chargers in San Diego?

The Counter Narrative Regarding Los Angeles

First, we had Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News:

Then, we had NFL Networks’ Marc Sessler:

Lastly, we have San Diego’s own Annie Heilbrunn:

Any one of these coming out by itself would’ve been interesting by themselves. All three of them coming out around the same time is what happens when something has changed, and a counter narrative is developed.

I view all of this as the NFL ownerships trying to decide how to balance out all of these competing interests, as it regards the Chargers, and not over-saturating Los Angeles with 2 struggling franchises.

Most importantly, having received San Diego’s best offer, Chargers’ owner Dean Spanos has apparently appealed to the NFL for help staying in San Diego.

Further, as it turns out, there’s a simple and elegant solution to this issue.

Take the extra $100 million offered to the Raiders to stay in Oakland, add $25 million and give it to the Chargers to stay in San Diego and give this a chance to work with the explicit understanding that a failed vote in 2018 is the end in San Diego. In exchange, the NFL allows the Raiders to move to Las Vegas.

In reality, this solution costs the NFL only $25 million more than they were already prepared to spend to keep both the Chargers and Raiders in their home markets, while giving San Diego a realistic chance to keep the Chargers, and protecting the Rams in Los Angeles.

In Closing

We’ve reached the end game.

We know what San Diego’s best realistic offer is.

We know it’s not quite enough. As Acee says in his article, it’s now up to the NFL and it’s fellow owners to decide whether they want two struggling franchises in Los Angeles more than they want to keep the Chargers in San Diego and give the Rams room to succeed in Los Angeles.

Stay tuned.