San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos wants a new stadium — that’s not remotely news — and with a new mayor in town, they’re gearing up for another push for public subsidies — that’s not news either. What is news is that Chargers stadium czar Mark Fabiani has come up with a brand-new argument for why San Diego should hurry up and build a stadium, according to ESPN:
Mark Fabiani, special counsel to Chargers president Dean Spanos, said the organization would be devastated by a team outside of California relocating to Los Angeles…
“We have always kept our focus in San Diego to try and get something done here,” Fabiani said. “But at the same time, we have to be cognizant of the fact that if three-quarters of the owners were to allow a team to move to Los Angeles, it would devastate us economically.
“It would be catastrophic for the team financially if the league were to allow another team to go into the Los Angeles market and wipe out 30 percent of our premium sales.”
Let’s follow the bouncing logic here: The Chargers are dependent on the L.A. market for 30% of their premium sales, so the NFL returning to L.A. would be devastating. So if the Chargers don’t get their own stadium … what does that have to do with the NFL returning to L.A.? The only way a Chargers stadium would play into it would be that it would prevent the Chargers from threatening to move to L.A., but “If we move to L.A. we’ll cut into our ticket sales in San Diego” doesn’t make a lick of sense.
The only thing I can think of is that Fabiani is trying to imply that a new stadium would leave the Chargers rolling in so much dough that they could take the hit of an L.A. team without blinking, though then you have to wonder why they need to ask for free development rights to 266 acres of city property as a requirement of the deal. Either that, or he just saw that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke bought some land in L.A. and thought, “Gotta find a way to use this as leverage without actually making a threat to move the team, because people won’t like that.” Let’s go with one of those for now — I have an email in to Fabiani, so will update once it’s light out on the West Coast.
UPDATE: And Fabiani has replied! “The information I provided was in response to a reporter’s question about the location of our premium customer base. There was nothing more to it than that.”