Has Chargers/Raiders stadium project really leaped ahead of Rams’ Inglewood stadium?

One of the interesting takeaways from last week’s NFL owners meetings in San Francisco is the national perception that the Chargers’ and Raiders’ Carson stadium plan has nudged ahead of Ram’s owner Stan Kroenke’s Inglewood project.

If you read some of the reports coming out of the meetings, the consensus seems to be the Chargers and Raiders now have the edge over the Rams should all this come down to a vote between the three teams and two plans.

I don’t necessarily see it that way. To me, the two projects were virtually neck and neck heading into last week and when the meetings wrapped up Wednesday that remained the case.

What’s changed, I believe, is more and more people finally realizing Carson is a legit plan with legit interest from the NFL and not just a smokescreen by the Chargers and Raiders to motivate San Diego and Oakland leaders into helping them build new stadiums.

As I’ve said all along, the need for smokescreens and leverage is long gone. The fact is, the Chargers and Raiders seem likely to need new homes. The work and money being invested in Carson is to insure the clubs have a soft landing spot in case new stadiums don’t emerge locally.

And the longer this drags on without a local solution, the more people begin seeing Carson for what it truly is: A very real, very legitimate back-up plan for the Raiders and Chargers. Perhaps even their next home.

It also didn’t hurt Carson’s cause that long-time NFL executive Carmen Policy was hired as the point man the day before the meetings began and the land transaction between the Chargers, Raiders and Carson officially closed on the very morning owners and reporters began gathering in the Bay Area.

The well-timed announcements resulted in a noticeable buzz. Momentum soon followed.

Nothing changed, necessarily. But perception was altered. All of a sudden, Carson became more real and viable.

But that’s been the case for sometime. Only now, people are beginning to see it as such.

Still, it’s a mistake to think Carson has now leaped ahead of Kroenke’s Inglewood project.

They are in a dead heat. Have been for some time.

So much so that the ultimate deciding factor isn’t so much whether the NFL prefers Inglewood or Carson as it is what’s on the table from St. Louis, San Diego and Oakland.

And by deciding factor, we mean who NFL owners deem the most justified to relocate to Los Angeles.

Even then, depending on what Kroenke’s true intentions are this still might come down back-door negotiations in which all three teams work toward a solution in which they each walk away satisfied.

As far as Carson and Inglewood, they’re neck and neck.


With NFL’s decision on L.A. looming, every local delay or misstep becomes more pronounced

With timing such a key issue in the NFL’s path back to Los Angeles, which seems to be headed to a conclusion by the end of 2015 or early 2016, every delay or misstep in San Diego, Oakland and St. Louis’ bid to help build new stadiums for the Chargers, Raiders and Rams becomes much more pronounced.

And perhaps game changers.

So while momentum appears to be growing in Missouri to help fund a new $985 million riverfront stadium for the Rams just north of downtown St. Louis, completing the task might more complicated than Missouri Governor Jay Nixon hoped.

And with the Rams needing clarity soon in order to weigh their Los Angeles and St. Louis options more prudently – or to avoid missing the window for relocation while waiting on an approved stadium plan – any complication is potentially lethal.

With the Chargers and Raiders pursuing a joint stadium in Carson and Rams owner Stan Kroenke planning a stadium in Inglewood – and the NFL likely deciding on who goes and who stays within the next six months – it is critical their home markets act swiftly putting finalized stadium plans on the table.

The Rams and Chargers and Raiders L.A. stadium plans have local approval, which essentially puts the ball in Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis’ hands.

Which brings us back to Missouri and the potential monkey wrench a group of state lawmakers threw into Gov. Nixon’s plans to help finance a new stadium for the Rams.

The Governor’s two-man task force has estimated the state and city needs to contribute at least $250 million to the project, and have indicated that money will come from an extension of the bonds used to build the Edward Jones Dome, the Rams current home, more than two decades ago.

The problem is, a group of state lawmakers don’t believe Gov. Nixon has the power to simply extend the bonds, and filed a lawsuit Wednesday trying to block him from doing exactly that.

Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph and five other co-plaintiffs field the suit Wednesday alleging that taxpayer money is “in the process of being spent illegally,” on “an illegal construction of a new NFL stadium.”

Co-plaintiffs include Reps. Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold; Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City; Mark Parkinson, R-St. Charles; Eric Burlison, R-Springfield; and Tracy McCreery, D-Olivette.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the suit was filed in Cole County Circuit Court and assigned to Judge Patricia S. Joyce and it argues that the task force’s proposal to extend state bonds is illegal.

Essentially, their objective is to allow the Missouri Legislature a say in extending the bonds or to put it up to a public vote.

“If they want to build a stadium, go ahead, but don’t expect the state to pick up the tab unless they come to the Legislature and ask permission to go into debt,” Schaaf told the Post-Dispatch.

Or allow Missouri residents to weigh in. “I always trust the people,” Schaaf said. “If the people want to spend $300 million, more power to them.”

Wednesday’s lawsuit is the second suit aimed at addressing the bond issue.

Last April, the public body that owns and operates the Edward Jones Dome filed suit against the city of St. Louis, seeking to avoid a civic vote on the use of taxpayer money for the new stadium.

The suit argues a 2002 city ordinance requiring a public vote prior to the use of tax dollars on a new stadium is “overly broad, vague and ambiguous.”

In that suit’s case, the hope was to expedite the process not bog it down.

A hearing on that was set to open on Thursday but is being rescheduled.

If the lawsuit filed Wednesday succeeds, it appears a special session legislative vote is more likely than a statewide vote.

If the April lawsuit fails, a city vote would happen next fall.

Aside from the uncertainty of the outcomes, the timing issue would be cutting things extremely close for the Rams and the NFL.

The league’s six-owner Los Angeles relocation committee will hear updates from the Raiders, Chargers and Rams in June in New York, and a special owners meeting is being formulated for August in which all 32 owners will be updated on where the three teams stand locally and in Los Angeles.

Obviously the hope is to have as much concrete information on the table before pursing a decision.

And for the local markets, that makes any sort of delay or misstep much more pronounced.

San Diego offers plan to build $1.1 billion multi-use stadium in Mission Valley

MEIS rendering of proposed stadium in Mission Valley.

MEIS rendering of proposed stadium in Mission Valley.

The Citizen’s Stadium Advisory Group in San Diego, appointed by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, released its promised plan for a new multi-use stadium in San Diego on Monday.

The plan is intended to offer a path to keeping the San Diego Chargers in town, although the Chargers are currently taking steps toward building a stadium in Carson.

The mayor’s committee reports that a multi-use stadium in Mission Valley is the most viable option — and estimates the cost at $1.1 billion, excluding land. The report also outlines $1.4 million in revenue streams, without increasing taxes.

“We developed a financing plan that would actually succeed in this unique San Diego environment, ensuring that it is fair for the Chargers and other tenants, fair for the City and County, and fair for taxpayers,” CSAG Chairman Adam Day said in a statement. “Our plan is the first of its kind, and it should jump-start negotiations between the Chargers, the City and the County. There now is a fair and workable path to a new stadium in San Diego.”

Read more on this story.

Carmen Policy appointed to oversee Carson stadium plan

SAN FRANCISCO >> Even as San Diego leaders unveiled plans to help build the Chargers a new stadium in San Diego on Monday, the Chargers remained focused on their potential new home 90 miles away in Los Angeles.

The Chargers and Oakland Raiders, who are teaming to build a joint stadium in Carson as a fallback plan should stadium deals not materialize back home, are retaining longtime NFL executive Carmen Policy to serve as the Director of Carson Holdings LLC, the joint venture in charge of the stadium project in Carson.

Read more on Carmen Policy’s appointment.