The National Football League executive in charge of stadium issues said Tuesday waiting until late next year for a public vote on a new stadium plan in San Diego would be risky.
Eric Grubman, speaking to reporters following a 90-minute meeting with members of the advisory group working on a financing plan for a new facility, said NFL officials are considering moving up a window for teams to submit relocation requests to the league.
The time frame is currently Jan. 1 to Feb. 15, and it’s more likely than not to be moved up, Grubman said. He said the impact would be to shorten the time the Chargers and supporters of a local stadium have to get on the same page.
“A project has to be conceived and designed to get the support of the team, in my opinion, and has to have funding sources which are identified,” Grubman said. “And if those funding sources require a vote, then you have to go get the vote, and to wait until the end of next year to get a vote would seem to me to be very risky.”
Both Grubman and Adam Day, the chairman of the task force, termed their get-together as having gone “very well” and as “very positive.”
The nine-member task force selected by Mayor Kevin Faulconer has recommended a new stadium for the Chargers, San Diego State University, the Holiday and Poinsettia bowls, high school championships and special events be located in Mission Valley adjacent to aging Qualcomm Stadium.
The stadium would be built in conjunction with a park along the San Diego River and a residential, office and retail development. A financing plan is due to be issued next month.
Day said last week that more progress toward a new stadium has been made in the last 12 weeks than in the past dozen years — a point he wanted driven home to Grubman.
“Public leaders have come out enthusiastically about the challenge of keeping the Chargers here in San Diego and they’ve taken some steps to try to find a solution that I think are very positive,” Grubman said.
“But I don’t think that those steps — or at least those that have been articulated — (are) a recipe for success because it doesn’t yet have the enthusiastic support of the Chargers and it doesn’t have identified funding sources,” Grubman said. “That doesn’t mark them down for the last several weeks (of) work — they were put together not long ago — but it also doesn’t take away from the fact that time is slipping away.”
He said if a public vote on a Chargers stadium plan were to take place this November, the league and its 32 owners would be willing to wait for the result.
“Now if it’s next November (2016), I think that’s a very, very different dynamic,” Grubman said.
Day said his group has already move up its timetable in order to release its financing plan on May 20.
“We agree that time is of the essence,” Day said. “While we’re not focused on Los Angeles, we understand it’s a practical reality for the Chargers, and we respect that fact.”
Craig Gustafson, a spokesman for Faulconer, issued a statement that said, “The most important step right now is coming up with a fair and responsible financing plan for a new stadium. The mayor is open to appropriate timing options that will accomplish the ultimate goal of keeping the Chargers in San Diego.”
Grubman and the owners of the Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams are scheduled to make a presentation April 22 to a committee of six NFL team owners overseeing the league’s possible return to Los Angeles about the efforts of various cities to retain their franchises.
In January, Rams owner Stan Kroenke proposed building an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood, which prompted the Chargers and Raiders to take steps to acquire land for a jointly-owned facility in Carson, another city in Los Angeles County.
According to Grubman, momentum exists toward getting the NFL back in Los Angeles, but some issues there need to be resolved, too.
Mark Fabiani, the Chargers general counsel on stadium issues, declined to comment.
— City News Service