Is the proposed $1.7 billion stadium that would house both the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers still a go? Carson Mayor Albert Robles says yes, despite the Raiders not showing up for an important town hall meeting Monday night to discuss the proposed NFL venue.
Robles said he “wouldn’t read too much into it” and that their absence doesn’t reflect the team’s interest in relocating to Carson. “Every indication I’ve seen from him (Raiders President Marc Badain), eyeball to eyeball, every indication to me is that they’re committed.”
While the Raiders’ absence may not signal cold feet, it does not sit well with the public. Raiders fans were left disappointed, and there is no word yet why the franchise was a “no-show.”
“I’m very disappointed,” said a Raiders fan, adding that fans expected both teams to be represented.
Carmen Policy, the man hired by the two teams to spearhead the project, was also noticeably absent. Robles said in an interview that Policy had travel issues and would make it up the next time.
The Raiders’ absence cannot be as easily explained. According to NBC Sports, “Owner Mark Davis has repeatedly said he wants to stay in Oakland, and it definitely appears that the Chargers are currently more motivated to move to L.A. than the Raiders are.”
AP raised the question about whether Davis really wants to play in Carson or maybe in Inglewood, in an April 22 article:
“So which team is Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis playing for?
“The Raiders and San Diego Chargers are trying to build a $1.7 billion stadium in the city of Carson, just outside Los Angeles. Yet Davis was listed as a special guest this week at a speech by the mayor in nearby Inglewood, where a $1.9 billion stadium is planned that could become home for the St. Louis Rams.”
Davis did not attend.
Both Oakland and San Diego have come up with counter proposals to try and keep the teams in their respective cities. However, the Chargers have rejected Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s idea to hold a citywide election this year on financing for a new stadium. According to the franchise’s special counsel, Mark Fabiani, the election proposed by the mayor for Dec. 15 could not withstand a lengthy and expensive court battle. An election would face defeat after legal scrutiny under state election law and state law for environmental impact reviews.
Carson remains in a so-called stadium race with Inglewood, which is further along in the process. Inglewood voters approved an NFL stadium at a council meeting on Feb. 24. The 80,000-seat stadium will occupy the land adjacent to the $2 billion Hollywood Park Tomorrow project, which is already underway. When completed, the entire site will include a stadium, entertainment center, new homes, restaurants, a retail center, a hotel and several acres of open green space. Ground is expected to be broken on the Inglewood site in December.
Carson voters approved their stadium on April 21. The stadium in Carson, if built, would include a 350-room hotel and 850,000 square feet of commercial space
Any NFL franchise wishing to relocate to another stadium will have to wait until January 2016 to file, and get the support of at least 24 of the 32 teams.