Stadium hunt: Hope in San Diego, not Oakland

ChargersBoth the Chargers and Raiders are returning to play another season in the stadiums they and the NFL say are unacceptable. But while there may be signs of life for a new stadium in San Diego, the picture continues to be grim in Oakland.

The Spanos family, owner of the Chargers, has until January 2017 to decide whether to serve as a tenant in a to-be-built mega-stadium in Inglewood owned by Stan Kroenke and the officially relocated Los Angeles Rams. If the Chargers don’t take the option, Raiders owner Mark Davis will then have a one-year option to join the Rams in Inglewood.

In the days after the Jan. 12 announcement that the NFL had given its blessing to the Rams leaving St. Louis for Inglewood, there was considerable cynicism in San Diego and the sports world in general about the Chargers’ one-year option. The assumption was the team was gone.

But in the past 10 days, there have been glimmers of hope that the Chargers may yet be able to work with the city and county of San Diego to build an NFL-worthy stadium with $350 million of public subsidies. The main reason is the emergence of Fred Maas — a high-profile developer and former leader of the Centre City Development Corp., which oversaw highly successful redevelopment efforts in downtown San Diego — as a special advisor to the Chargers helping get a stadium built. The Union-Tribune has more:

“(Maas) has been around San Diego a long time,” Chargers chairman Dean Spanos said on a video posted to the team’s web site. “… He’s very familiar with all the political aspects of what goes on in the city, how all that works. His knowledge of San Diego as a whole will help us.” …


Maas was the stadium point man for former Mayor Jerry Sanders, as well as the former director of the Centre City Development Corp.


The Chargers suggested to Faulconer that he consider Maas to head the city’s side of stadium negotiations in 2014.


After meetings with Faulconer, Maas withdrew from consideration, citing concerns about the commitment he would have to make considering all that the new mayor was working through. … It was around that time in late 2014 that many people close to Spanos began to indicate he had essentially given up on getting a stadium deal in San Diego.

The San Diego Reader offered this tart description of Maas: “a specialist in steering public money into private real estate ventures.”

Raiders owner blasts A’s over long lease

Oakland_Raiderettes_at_Falcons_at_Raiders_11-2-08_04Meanwhile, in Oakland, no Maas-type figure has emerged to help owner Mark Davis deal with local governments. While the Raiders renewed their lease for another year at Coliseum, Davis is sounding increasingly downbeat about the lack of progress toward a new stadium — especially because of the actions of the Oakland A’s, the other primary tenant at the Coliseum.

“There’s an elephant in the room, and that’s the Oakland A’s,” Davis told … . “They signed a 10-year lease while we were negotiating with Oakland officials, and it kind of put somebody right in the middle of things. There isn’t much you can do. They’ve tied our hands behind our back. Now it’s up to the A’s to make a declaration of what they want to do. If they don’t do that, I don’t see how we can make a deal.”

That’s from coverage in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Leaders of Nevada’s largest city are wooing Davis. Their strongest argument is the prospect of the Raiders not having to pay much or anything toward construction of a new stadium that an NFL team could share with the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’ football team. Last month, the Review-Journal reported, Davis went to Vegas and …

… met with casino giants Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, Ultimate Fighting Championship owner Lorenzo Fertitta, UNLV president Len Jessup and former school president Donald Snyder. Adelson’s Sands Corp. has proposed building a $1.2 billion domed stadium … .

Long-standing NFL concerns about having a team in America’s sports betting mecca remain intact, if not as prominent. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft have come under fire for their early investments in DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports betting site that has exploded in popularity since 2014, and they may be forced to sell their shares.

Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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