San Diego to 'explore' stadium plans

SAN DIEGO -- Saying he will fight to keep the team in this city, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced during his State of the City address on Wednesday plans to assemble a group of civic leaders to study potential locations and a financing plan to help build a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers.

"They will explore all possibilities to finance this project with my clear direction that it must present a good and fair deal for San Diego's taxpayers," Faulconer said. "I will not accept or support anything less."

Faulconer said the task force will focus on two potential locations for the new stadium -- the current site of Qualcomm Stadium, or building a stadium along with an expanded convention center near the San Diego Padres' Petco Park.

Faulconer said he'll reveal members of the group at the end of the month, and that the plan will be completed and made public this fall.

Faulconer's announcement drew a tepid response from the Chargers, who have been in discussions with the mayor's office since March of last year on plans to get a new stadium built for the team.

"After 13 -- now going on 14 -- years of work by the Chargers, the speech contained no specifics, and so there is nothing for us to comment on," said Mark Fabiani, special council to Chargers president Dean Spanos, and the team's point person on the stadium issue.

Faulconer's announcement came a week after a developer and a company operated by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke unveiled plans to build an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood, California, on land he owns near Hollywood Park.

The Chargers, the Rams and the Oakland Raiders are teams that could potentially relocate to the lucrative Los Angeles market in the near future.

According to Fabiani, the Chargers are keeping a watchful eye on what happens in Los Angeles, with 30 percent of the team's local revenue -- which includes advertising, sponsorships, club seats and suites -- originating in the Los Angeles market.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told the three teams that no franchise would be allowed to relocate to Los Angeles this year.

The Chargers' preferred alternative for a new stadium in San Diego is one developed by JMI Reality, the development company responsible for Petco Park.

JMI proposed building a $1.4 billion multi-use facility with a retractable roof that would house a new football stadium for the Chargers, along with planned expansion of the convention center that would include an exhibition hall below the football field, and a meeting room and ballroom space in an attached building, with views of the field and bay.

However, the Chargers have not built consensus on the proposal with local business and community leaders. If consensus on a proposal is met, a possible vote on the project could appear in front of voters on a countywide ballot as early as the general election in November 2016.

The proposal would need a two-thirds majority vote in order to use hotel tax money as a funding source for the project. That funding source has been contemplated for use on the convention center expansion.

"My goal is that when the season ends, we won't be talking about whether the Chargers are moving," Faulconer said. "We'll be talking about the proposal to keep them here where they belong. We will fight to keep the Bolts in America's finest city."