Stadium watch: Stadium negotiations

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The spirits of Chargers fans soared when Dean Spanos said the team would stay and play the 2016 season at Qualcomm Stadium.

But, Spanos has said that a long-term agreement would require some big changes.

Changes in strategy and changes in personal relationships, a 180-degree turn from what we experienced last year when the talks broke down and the Chargers halted negotiations.

Through all the last year, we heard nary a word from Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos. This time, which may be the last time, Spanos has come out of the shadows.

"I’m going to be out there, I’m gonna have to promote this, sell this to convince the voters that this is something that’s good for San Diego," he said during an interview with KUSI’s Paul Rudy.

Both Mission Valley and downtown will be part of the discussion. While the mayor has stuck to his Mission Valley plan, the Chargers still seem to prefer downtown.

"It’s no secret I preferred downtown and said that before, we’re going in with a fresh start here, and we’ll see what happens," Spanos said.

It’s at the point now where personal feelings have been set aside in favor of that fresh start. This time, it’s strictly about the financial numbers.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and County Supervisor Ron Roberts said they’re open to discussing whatever the Chargers propose.

"There’s a couple opportunities that we’re exploring right now, and I think we’ll have the support, I’m hoping we’ll have the support of potentially the city and the county going forward," Spanos said.

One of those opportunities is clearly a change in strategy.

"I think we’re probably looking at some sort of citizen’s initiative, obviously you’ve heard that and then we’ll move forward from there," Spanos added.

There’s some risk here. Doing a project of this size will clearly have environmental impacts. An initiative bypasses the environmental, or EIR, process. It could cost votes.

"There are a lot of people in this community that aren’t gonna support something that hasn’t been through the EIR process," said Local Attorney Bob Ottilie.

Clearly wanting to keep this team in San Diego, the NFL upped its contribution from $200 to $300 million.

"This is $100 million of cash from the league, from the ownership, to put towards the cost of a new stadium," Spanos said.

We’re not at a billion dollars toward a $1.1 billion stadium.

The city’s contribution is backed up by the general fund. That too could cost votes because its money that could otherwise go to city services.

Polster John Neinstedt of Competitive Edge said last June, the stadium deal had a chance of passage – 51 percent in favor. That may have increased when the NFL threw the extra $100 million.

"People love the Chargers here in San Diego, not everybody but most people do, and they realize that losing the Chargers is a bad thing, as the Mayor says, this is an NFL town, and they want to keep an NFL team here," Neinstedt said.

The fans want the NFL here, city officials want the NFL here and the Chargers say they want to stay here.

The only ones who haven’t spoken are the voters and they have the final say.

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