Chargers fans gathered for rally at Qualcomm Stadium before meeting of stadium advisory group. Photo by Chris Stone
Chargers fans gathered for rally at Qualcomm Stadium before meeting of stadium advisory group. Photo by Chris Stone

Chargers fans gathered at Qualcomm Stadium for a “Save Our Bolts” rally Monday afternoon, an hour before a public hearing on the team’s fate.

A nine-member group formed to advise Mayor Kevin Faulconer on where to locate and how to finance a new stadium for the Chargers was holding its open meeting at 6 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium to take input from the public.

Meanwhile, it was reported that Goldman Sachs will finance the Chargers’ move from San Diego and also cover any losses sustained by the franchise in the first few years in Los Angeles.

The investment banking firm will also pay for any renovations needed at a temporary playing facility, according to an article Monday in the Sports Business Journal, which cited unnamed sources.

The Chargers have worked with Goldman Sachs for several years in their search for a new stadium. A company representative said last month that the firm was prepared to finance a proposed joint stadium for the Chargers and Oakland Raiders in the Los Angeles County suburb of Carson.

Asked for comment, Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani told City News Service that Goldman Sachs has developed a workable financing plan for the $1.7 billion Carson stadium.

“But because we are in a hyper-competitive environment at this point regarding Los Angeles, we aren’t in a position to release the specifics of that plan except to say that it is modeled closely on the plan that Goldman Sachs developed for the 49ers and their new stadium in Santa Clara,” Fabiani said.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

The 49ers’ new stadium, in the heart of the Silicon Valley, was financed through the sale of personal seat licenses, which provide the purchaser with the right to buy season tickets later. A naming rights deal with Levi’s and advertising also paid for construction of the facility.

Fabiani said the vast size of the Los Angeles market makes such a plan work there, but not necessarily in San Diego.

The stadium meeting comes after a raucous month in which the Chargers revealed plans to build a stadium jointly with the Oakland Raiders in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson — in case their hopes for new playing facilities in their home cities don’t bear fruit — and questioned the independence of the mayor’s task force.

Faulconer accused the Chargers of betraying their fans in San Diego by advancing the Carson plans, but special counsel Mark Fabiani said the team had to protect its business interests now that the owner of the St. Louis Rams is planning to build a stadium in nearby Inglewood.

The Chargers have since promised to work cooperatively with the task force, which moved up its deadline to issue a plan from this fall to three months — which would be in late-May.

The mayor has stressed that a new stadium would not be solely for the Chargers, but would also accommodate San Diego State University, the Holiday and Poinsettia bowls, and other events like soccer matches and concerts.

While Faulconer tasked his advisory group — which includes experts in development, real estate and finance — with choosing between a cramped downtown site east of Petco Park and the current Qualcomm Stadium location, problems with each were revealed last week.

Chargers fans gathered for rally at Qualcomm Stadium before meeting of stadium advisory group. Photo by Chris Stone

Paul Jablonski, the president and CEO of the Metropolitan Transit System, said in a letter to task force Chairman Adam Day that it could take five years or more to vacate the downtown site, where the agency operates a bus maintenance yard. No suitable locations for moving the yard have been found and one site that could have worked has since been occupied by the Monarch School, which educates homeless children, according to the MTS.

Regarding a stadium as part of a major redevelopment of the Mission Valley location, the Chargers have said that construction would take too long for enough revenue to be generated to benefit the team and financing plan. Fabiani said more building at that location could also raise the ire of area residents and raise environmental concerns.

The advisory group meeting was set for 6 p.m., in Club Lounge 5. Overflow seating will be available if the room’s capacity of 400 is reached.

Radio stations KOGO, the Mighty 1090 and XTRA 1360 plan to broadcast the forum live, and it will be streamed live at utsandiego.com.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.