Chargers remain neutral on stadium site

SAN DIEGO – With NFL executive Eric Grubman telling reporters during his visit this week that the San Diego Chargers were not enthusiastic about the citizens’ stadium advisory group’s plans for a new stadium, Mark Fabiani, the point person on the stadium issue for the team, provided some clarification.

In an interview with Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith of The Mighty 1090 AM radio, Fabiani said the Chargers have no reaction to the advisory group’s proposal because they have not seen the plan and remain ready to analyze it once the task force presents its finance proposal to San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer on May 20.

Fabiani said downtown is the team’s preferred site because the Chargers believe that location has the best chance to work after 14 years of studying the issue, including six years focused on the Mission Valley site, the task force’s preferred location.

“We’ve looked at National City,” Fabiani said. “We’ve looked at two sites in Chula Vista. We’ve looked in Oceanside. We’ve looked in Escondido. We’ve looked in Mission Valley, obviously, for six years. We looked in downtown. We’ve looked at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal downtown, and the issue always is, 'Where can you finance the stadium?'

“If you can finance the stadium in a way that is acceptable to the public and the Chargers, then it doesn’t matter where it is. People are going to come to the games, no matter where they are, as long as they can get in and out of the site easily, and as long as you’re playing NFL football there.”

On the team’s effort to build a stadium in Carson, Fabiani said the Chargers expect to close on a purchase of a 168-acre parcel of land that the proposed $1.7 billion stadium will sit on by the end of the month. Further, the city council for Carson could vote on Tuesday to consider an initiative to move forward on building an NFL stadium for the Chargers and the Oakland Raiders.

While the Chargers continue to move forward on the Carson project, Fabiani emphasized that staying in San Diego remains the franchise’s first priority.

Jim Steeg of the citizens’ stadium advisory group said the task force is very close to finding a finance solution for building a new NFL stadium at the Mission Valley site, when asked by Kaplan.

“Some of the things that were said this weekend were very good in impacting what we were doing in reality, which is what we have to get to now,” Steeg said. “But I think we’ve developed enough revenue sources there that we’re going to be able to pull some things together to come up with probably in excess of what is needed, which is going to be necessary because everything is not going to be totally what you expect it to be. Things change and opportunities change over time.

“But I think the biggest thing that came out of this is we’ve got to have it nailed down.”

Steeg went on to say that nailing down the funding sources is not the task force’s job, but will be up to the mayor once the group hands over its proposal.