Vikings stadium czar: Team was never moving to L.A., thanks for the $500m, though!

With stadium talks with the San Diego Chargers still going nowhere fast, this has left the San Diego sportswriters who’ve been pushing for a deal in a bit of a quandary for what to write about. On Friday, Mark Ziegler wrote about how Tijuana’s soccer team got a new stadium when San Diego isn’t (the trick: a total cost of a mere $125 million, plus an owner who was hoping to cash in by getting his team promoted to the top Mexican league, two things that aren’t options for the Chargers); today, it’s our old pal Kevin Acee pointing out that it took the Minnesota Vikings a good decade and a half to get a new stadium, so San Diego should be patient and — wait, hold on a second here:

Even as the Vikings were frequently mentioned from the outside as a possible relocation candidate in the years leading up to the 2012 approval of a new stadium here, [Vikings stadium point man Lester] Bagley said the team never used Los Angeles as a bargaining chip. He said he believes ownership would have sold the team before it moved the Vikings.

“Never used Los Angeles as a bargaining chip”? So when NFL VP Eric Grubman declared that the time was “getting ripe” for the Vikings to move and that “I think the Wilfs do not want to sell the franchise, but I think there is a point where they probably would be open-minded,” and then NFL commissioner Roger Goodell flew to Minnesota to scare the state legislature into coughing up half a billion dollars in public money, something it immediately did despite an electronic gambling scheme that ended up generating no revenue and having to be bailed out by other state cash, that was just, you know, a coincidence? Or he’s making a distinction that the owners never threatened to move to L.A. themselves, they just had league officials threaten that the team would be sold and moved to L.A., which isn’t a bargaining chip at all, right?

Oy. For a palate-cleanser, go read this NBC San Diego report on how the Chargers may be in violation of their lease for not meeting with the city often enough to discuss stadium plans. It doesn’t really make any more sense — San Diego would have nothing to gain by breaking its lease with the Chargers, unless you really think the Spanos family could be frightened into spending more money on a new stadium by the threat of being forced to play in the street — but at least it’s based on actual reality.


6 comments on “Vikings stadium czar: Team was never moving to L.A., thanks for the $500m, though!

  1. Right, but they weren’t when they started building the stadium. I guess “who was hoping”? It’s too early in the week for verb tenses.

  2. In other news, the bond sale for the Kings hideous new arena has gone through. They got an interest rate of 5.66%. Given that the current bond rate is about 3.71%, I’m not sure why Sac’s rates are so high. Are these taxable bonds, for some reason?

    The pro-arena types around here are blaming the lawsuit for costing Sacramento $1M/year, but that makes no sense. Yes, there was a tiny dip in bond rates last February. This dip didn’t last. So are they saying that it was the fault of those suing that the City missed a tiny window in time to sell bonds? Boy, hindsight sure can be golden.

  3. What also kills me is the insistence that the Vikings stadium somehow already spurred on re-development in the area that has been happening for years, and most of which is not in anyway tied to the Vikings playing 8 games a year in that stadium. At the very least I have to give the Vikings some credit for using the stadium to wrangle a bunch of other events over the next couple years, but with also additional public money into the coffers for the Superbowl, NCAA Final Four, etc.etc.

  4. Neat how we did that, eh? The league never wanted us to move. We’re in about the 15th biggest media market, a team with deep roots in the community and a great fan base. It’s the last team the NFL ever wanted to move anywhere. That’s why we had Rooney out for a visit and he had Grubman raised from his coffin to join in and make the veiled threats. If I’d put on a teflon suit I wouldn’t have stayed any cleaner.

    I went on a chat board under an alias just to gauge where we were at. I swore up and down the team would never leave and the threats were fake, and fan after fan angrily denounced me as a fool. That’s why it’s so easy to snag all the public stadium cash you need these days. Legislators and mayors and governors aren’t much smarter than those fans and don’t cost too much if they are.

  5. @ Neil

    We, San Diego, have some of the worst sportswriters in the country. The good ones retired or were fired, and it’s still unclear if the L.A. Times ownership will improve the quality of the UT. VOSD is the only worthwhile source in San Diego, the others are laughable.