Chargers commit to '15 in San Diego

ByEric D. Williams ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

SAN DIEGO -- In a renewed commitment to getting a stadium built here, the San Diego Chargers said Tuesday the team will not exercise its right to terminate the lease at Qualcomm Stadium, committing to play in the city for the 2015 season.

"The team will not be exercising the lease termination clause and will keep working to find a publicly acceptable way to build a Super Bowl-quality stadium in San Diego," Mark Fabiani, special counsel to Chargers president Dean Spanos and the team's point person on the stadium issue, said in a prepared statement.

"Calendar year 2015 will constitute the team's 14th year of work on a San Diego stadium solution."

Since 2007, the Chargers have had a three-month window to renew the team's year-to-year lease with the City of San Diego for Qualcomm Stadium that permits the team to terminate the lease at any time between Feb. 1 and May 1.

The Chargers would have to pay the City of San Diego $17.6 million to leave next year.

The Chargers, the St. Louis Rams and the Oakland Raiders are teams that could potentially relocate to the lucrative Los Angeles Market in 2015.

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.

JMI Reality, the development company responsible for theSan Diego Padres' Petco Park, has proposed building a $1.4 billion multipurpose facility with a retractable roof that would house a new football stadium for the Chargers, along with planned expansion of the conventioncenter 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.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has indicated his willingness to work with the Chargers on a stadium solution, as long as taxpayers are protected.

"We have to get this done," Faulconer said in an interview with local radio station The Mighty 1090. "It's too important to us as a city. And it's not just the city, it's in fact the entire San Diego region. The Chargers are extremely important to San Diego. The Chargers belong in San Diego.

"We have a facility that is outdated, and that's just the facts. I've been on the job for eight months now, and I've said we have to call the question. We have to get this done. And we have to bring everybody to the table to solve this once and for all. And I'm committed to doing that."

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