All Quiet on the Stadium Front

With just a few short weeks before the 90-day trigger period is over, there are few words filtering out regarding the state of the Chargers and the City in the effort to land San Diego a new stadium.

On March 4th the Chargers exercised their right to trigger an out clause in their lease.

If no agreement is reached with the city in the 90-day window, the Chargers could seek offers over the next 18 months from another city.

San Diego has the right to match another city's offer. Otherwise, the Chargers can terminate the lease.

Now with just three weeks to go and the audience hall silent, one wonders what exactly is going on.

The Positive Spin:

"The start of this process does not signal that the team intends to leave San Diego,'' said Mark Fabiani at the time of triggering, serving as special counsel to the Chargers. "We have no intention of talking to any other city as we begin a negotiation process with the city of San Diego.''

In the Citizens Task Force's final report, they recommended the Chargers pay for a new stadium. It also embraced a number of points that the Chargers were advocating, including replacing Qualcomm Stadium and agreeing that a football team is an asset to the community.

The Chargers say they are prepared to discuss ways the team could cover the full cost of a $400 million stadium. We just have not been privy to those discussions.

The task force also recommended discussions between the team and the city to forge a new relationship that would address the trigger clause and the ticket guarantee, while preserving NFL football here in a fiscally responsible way.

Vikings owner Red McCombs met with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue in New York last week, and a league source said Friday the meeting included discussion on the availability of the Los Angeles market.

The premier young receiver, David Boston joined the Chargers, and fans feel there is a true commitment to winning.

The Negative Spin:

It all started when the Chargers decided to move their practice facility out of La Jolla and into Carson. My morning commute is now a lot longer. The initial response was it would bring about togetherness from the troops as players will now have to travel together, room together and go out together, instead of going home to their wives and friends.

Then the Chargers unceremoniously dropped of the word "San Diego" from some team logos. There is no explanation for this as far as the eye can see.

If that was not enough, the team pulled the trigger just days before the final task force report was delivered, considered a blow in the face of the positive progress.

Chargers president Dean Spanos missed every task force meeting. Consider that Padres President Larry Lucchino attended every meeting in 1997 and 1998 to address the need for a new ballpark and the absence is even more telling.

The Vikings' lease at the Metrodome expires after the 2011 season that would open up a world of litigation if the Vikes moved.

Rose Bowl officials recently proposed a $500 million renovation designed to lure an NFL team.

What Now?

In the few short weeks remaining, officials will decide what is he next course of action. We could know before training camp begins if the Chargers have opened the 18 month window to negotiate elsewhere. If you think tension about the upcoming season is something to be worried about, you just wait…

Of course there are alternatives. The Bolts and the City could choose to mutually extend the deadline, a positive public relations move that would show fans the Chargers are serious about staying. It does not have to be a long postponement of the second phase, but anything would give fans hope.

Either way emotions will run high over the next month, and the year to come, as uncertainty breeds negativity.

Denis Savage can be reached at or via the following link: Denis Savage

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