The San Diego Chargers told a mayor's advisory group Monday that they are closely monitoring NFL stadium developments in Los Angeles as the team seeks a solution for aging Qualcomm Stadium.
Chargers' special counsel Mark Fabiani said Monday the team continues to try to find a solution in San Diego, but added in a statement that "we also want to be clear with this Task Force right at the outset: We are keeping a close eye on developments in LA." In his remarks to the task force, Fabiani said the team has no choice but to "monitor and evaluate" options in Los Angeles.
Fabiani met privately with the group Monday morning for the first time. Mayor Kevin Faulconer appointed the nine-member advisory group to come up with a San Diego stadium plan that can go on the November 2016 ballot.
The group plans to meet regularly over the next several months before a fall deadline for a plan, which would likely need a two-thirds majority vote approval if the proposal ends up before voters.
"Staying in San Diego without any option for the future, without any hope of getting a new facility, and one or perhaps two teams moving into the LA market and gutting the team's business there, it's not really an option, unfortunately," Fabiani said in an interview with NBC7.
The team only has three options, Fabiani said. First, to block anyone from getting to Los Angeles, to be the first in Los Angeles, or to stay in San Diego. The Chargers also are telling the advisory group that it should resist the political pressure "to make a proposal simply for the sake of making a proposal."
The task force meetings come as plans for an NFL stadium continue to advance in Los Angeles, which has not had an NFL franchise since the Rams and the Oakland Raiders abandoned Southern California after the 1994 season. Qualcomm Stadium has fallen into disrepair and lacks the modern amenities the team has said it needs to compete financially with other franchises.
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The San Diego stadium push began in 2002, just five years after the city expanded Qualcomm Stadium. In 2000, the team's owner said the team needed a new stadium.
Chargers president Dean Spanos, son of owner Alex Spanos, did not attend the meeting. He was out of town due to the holiday, Fabiani said.
The NFL has expressed an interest in a Los Angeles franchise, but the league has no plans for expansion, meaning an existing team would need to move to Southern California. The NFL has ruled out any team move for the 2015 season, but leaves open the possibility in 2016.
Last week, Inglewood's plan to build an NFL stadium took a step forward with the verification of petition signatures needed to place the project before voters. The 80,000-seat stadium is part of Hollywood Park Land Co.'s proposal, called City of Champions Revitatlization Project, for a development at the site of the old horse racing track.
The city clerk will forward the resolution to the council at its next scheduled meeting, set for Feb. 24, but Mayor James Butts said the Inglewood council will likely hold over action on the project until its March 3 meeting.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke announced plans to build the stadium on the site, which would include the stadium as part of a sprawling complex that includes homes, offices and entertainment venues. Kroenke also owns the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and a majority stake in English soccer team Arsenal.
Los Angeles city officials also have extended an option with the owners of Staples Center to build an 80,000-seat stadium to be known as Farmers Field downtown, next to the 10 and 110 freeway junction, provided a team commits to moving there.
The Rose Bowl and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum also could host a team, at least temporarily.