The former football executive spearheading efforts by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders to jointly build a stadium in Carson said today he is “absolutely certain” the teams will be based in the Southland by 2019.
Carmen Policy, a lawyer who was president and CEO of the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s and 90s, told reporters outside a meeting of National Football League team owners in Chicago that the Carson project would be “shovel ready” as soon as approval is given for the teams to move from their respective cities.
According to a Twitter post from the NFL network, Policy said, “We are absolutely certain that we will be in the stadium and playing football for the 2019 season.”
He said 2018 was too early to expect the proposed Carson stadium to be ready.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which is covering the meetings because that city’s Rams are also eyeing a move to the lucrative Los Angeles market, reported that Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos and Raiders owner Mark Davis also made brief remarks to their colleagues.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke was also scheduled to discuss his planned stadium project at the former Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood.
Returning a team to Los Angeles is a major priority for the NFL. The Los Angeles area has not had an NFL team since 1995, when the Rams moved to St. Louis and the Raiders returned to Oakland.
The office of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who is trying to keep the Chargers from moving, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Monday, city and county of San Diego stadium negotiators met with a small group of team owners to discuss a proposal to replace Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley. They unveiled renderings of a design concept by the firm Populous and a proposed financing package, under which the city and county would pay about one-third of the total construction cost.
The financing proposal calls for the Chargers to contribute $362.5 million and the NFL $200 million, and for $187.5 million in personal seat licenses to be sold, with the county and city making a combined $350 million contribution. The proposal does not rely on income from other development on the site, like shops and office buildings.
Also made public on Monday was a 6,000-page environmental impact report, which is now available for public comment. Chargers officials have objected to the study’s expedited time line.
Team special counsel Mark Fabiani said that never in California’s history had a controversial billion-dollar project relied on environmental review documents prepared in just three weeks. Environmental studies usually take 12-18 months.
City officials maintain that the EIR will hold up to scrutiny because the project is merely replacing one stadium with a similar and smaller, facility, so the impacts are already largely known.
The efforts to keep the Chargers in San Diego come years after the local NFL franchise began asking for a replacement for aging Qualcomm Stadium, where, long before it acquired its current name, the first game was played in August 1967.