Taxpayers could end up investing nearly $1 billion in the new Chargers stadium under the plan released this week by the mayor’s stadium task force, a Voice of San Diego analysis of the plan shows.
The analysis includes all the public money the task force said would need to go toward the stadium, plus the money to prepare the Mission Valley site for development and some costs the task force neglected. Most notably, the task force did not factor in the price tag to operate and maintain the facility every year – something that costs the city about $11 million a year at the current site.
Let’s break down the figures.
This is how much public money the task force says it will cost to build the actual stadium, and where it would come from.
• Day-to-day budget of the city and the county: $242 million
The day-to-day budget is the part of city coffers that pays for police, fire, libraries and other front-line services. Under the task force plan, $242 million would go to the stadium over the next three decades; in other words, $242 million less in the day-to-day budget for these services. And this cost would add to the $57 million we still owe from the general fund to pay off the existing stadium debt.
• Sale of part of current Qualcomm Stadium land to a developer: $225 million
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Thanks to VOSD for keeping this vital issue at the top of your morning report. Tying up more than a billion dollars in tax money for a privately owned sports team is something San Diegans should be thinking critically about. Remember the City Council's promises about how cost-effective it would be for our city to host the 1996 Republican Convention? We're still paying it off, and it tied up city funds over a long term. VOSD reported we are still covering costs at Petco Park. And if I remember correctly, we still owe money on the original San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium. Even if we favor these investments, shouldn't we be holding back on new ones if they represent a substantial risk by tying up our income (think taxpayer funds) for years to come? It is not public investment in private profit that makes a thriving city. It is the public investment in water, transportation, safety, infrastructure, health, debt reduction and other essentials that makes a city attractive to private investment. The simple truth is, a stadium is not a good investment, and even Mr. Spanos knows it. That's why he wants us to pay for it.
The whole world already knows that the LA thing is a fake except San Diego:
In every aspect of our city life, we are crying out for renewed investment in the critical areas that make a city safer, cleaner, healthier, and more efficient. To think that we would rob our city (and county) of funding that is already scarce in order to take the burden off Mr. Spanos so he can leave a larger legacy to his sons is beyond belief. If a football team is such a good investment, then let those who will reap the profit make the investment. It's not about being for or against a football team. It's about learning from the mistakes other cities have made, including our own, thinking that the public will realize a net economic gain by paying for costs and allowing privately owned entities to reap the profits.
Thank you for a well-written article. Let's not forget that Mission Valley is one of the most traffic impacted and over-built areas of the city. It is a flood plain and there is no opportunity to mitigate the traffic impacts of letting a developer build intensive development around Qualcomm Stadium. I have believed and continue to believe that if a stadium is to be built, it should be built downtown near the waterfront and should not involve any public monies.
@Casey Gwinn Yes Mr. Gwinn you can then help them get an unsold ticket guarantee to go with a new $1.5 billion dollar new downtown stadium. Wow you even have first hand experience representing Spanos and the city's hand out of millions of dollars to him. He would probably hire you in a heart beat if it wasn't for the Master of Disaster himself Mark Fabiani leading his demand for billions in hand outs from the city. You got Spanos millions of dollars of public money but Mark is planning on getting Spanos billions of dollars of public money.
@Casey Gwinn And I happen to believe in the Tooth Fairy (and Peter Pan as well).
Journalism is made in many shapes and sizes. For some, it’s about holding powerful people and institutions accountable and exposing injustice. For others, like the recent owners of our city’s namesake newspaper, it’s about civic rah-rah.
Our Founding Fathers had the first in mind when they wrote the 1st Amendment, which is why Liam, Lisa, Scott and the entire team at VoSD are owed a round of applause for the terrific job they’re doing covering the stadium story.
Over the many past weeks they’ve delivered in a broad and sustained way on the mission of their enterprise, in a way I don’t think they’ve ever previously done.
Every story, series of stories, editor’s commentary and step in their reporting process has debunked, refuted, repudiated, questioned or called to account virtually every one of the claims made by stadium cheerleaders about the value of a new stadium, from hubris to hotels.
And in doing so, they’ve generated hundreds of comments from everyday citizens, some of them written by people with significant insight and expertise, providing even greater depth for readers who want it.
San Diegans couldn’t ask for anything more from a community news outlet.
This is all a matter of civic priorities. The city faces a billion dollar plus pension debt it has to pay by law. It also is paying
for city retiree health care. It is also facing a multi-billion dollar infrastructure maintenance backlog. These are all
unavoidable costs to the city. They are not discretionary expenditures that can be put off very long without legal
repercussions. What the mayor and the city council were elected to do is develop a list of must pay expenditures
and "nice to have" expenditures and add them up. Then they have to determine what the city's revenues are likely to be
over the next decade or two. Starting with the "must pay" costs, the city then look at how many of those costs can be
covered using projected revenues. Work your way down the list until you run out of money, then stop. If that means that
"nice to have" projects like a new stadium or an expanded convention center must be dropped or deferred, so be it.
Doing anything else would be political suicide. Any politician knows that their reelection chances, and their chances to
move up to higher office depends first and foremost on being seen by voters as financially responsible. Look what
financial accountability has done for Jerry Browns poll rankings.
@Don Wood That's a very logical and responsible post. But that is not how politicians think. They live in the a strange bubble where they feel they must answer only to the special interests and let the voters be damned until the next election where they can use their masters political contributions to tell the voters whatever the voters want to hear while blaming the problems of their foolish expenditures of the public funds on the poorest and most vulnerable and least powerful of our society. Even at the local level it is a game all about money and political contributions. The Spanos family has been the largest contributor to the California Republican part over the last several years. In 2012 he even held a large fund raiser at his home for Mitt Romney. They expect a huge return on this political investment. And our Republican mayor and many of the city council members are very aware of this and feel they best not slight him in the least.
That is why they force a special ballot measure regarding a small increase in the minimum wage for the hardest working and lowest paid members of our society yet these special interest jerks don't want a public vote on this billion dollar plus boondoggle give away. And if they must put forth a public vote they want a special very expensive special election in hopes that they push this down the throats of foolish and apathetic citizens who won't even bother to vote it down.
The Spanos family has taken millions out of this city and have never even returned one cent in terms of public good. Even the most greedy businesses like Sempra occasionally will throw a few crumbs to help make this city a better place. But not the Spanos family. They are simply not part of this community and the people of San Diego will be best served if they just pack up and leave. We can do better and deserve better.
Just curious Hiram. You say nobody is born and raised in San Diego. I wonder what born and raised to you means. As far as I know I was born in San Diego 73' and still live in the same house I was raised in. To me thats born and raised. You say if your a real Chargers fan grow a pair and drive up to that billion doller stadium in that ***hole area to watch the game. Im sorry but if i have to drive to L.A. to see the Chargers means there not the San Diego Chargers anymore and im not an L.A. Chargers Fan. Theres a good number of friends and family I have that feel the same way. To us San Diego is San Diego and L.A. is L.A. and we dont want anything to do with L.A.. If the Chargers leave there dead to me thats just the way it is. As far as a stadium goes my family and friends are all for it. Thats just us being fans. Get money whipped for livin in San Diego anyways but we roll with it. One more hit in my wallet wouldn't make a difference.
RE: Billion Dollar Bargain <--> Billion Dollar Boondoggle?
If you are the Chargers it is a Bargain or if you are the taxpayers its a Boondoggle.
BTW: San Diego ratepayers are already going to be shelling out their share of the 4-5 Billion Dollars cost of the Utility Debacle at San Onofre, so what is another Billion Dollars?
Go (AWAY) Chargers
Spend a Billion Dollars on more Water by Saying Good Bye to the Chargers...
That is something we all can drink to...
Of course this is a flawed plan that will cost the tax payers a huge amount of money. Anyone who doubts that is simply a damn fool. Look San Diego can't maintain its current infrastructure. The new stadium would just bleed several more million every year in maintenance costs. We know that there is no way in hell that the Chargers will put in enough money to build this much less to maintain this structure and operation. That is what this is all about. They are asking for a huge subsidy from the taxpayers of San Diego. They have already been getting millions of dollars in tax payer funded subsidies. They now want more. Much, much more. They have in the past asked for ticket sales guarantees which the city happily agreed. They have for the last 20 years threatened to leave at every juncture if they can't get more and more money from the city. And the city has responded by giving them more and more. Right now they have a rent free ride. But that is not enough. They want a fancy new stadium in hopes of cashing in on PSLs and naming rights. But of course that won't be enough for Spanos and family. And they will simply ask for more.
This is how they have operated in the past and this is how they will continue to operate because this is what they do. They have leeched on to the taxpayers of San Diego and have no problem with bleeding us dry. Many owners of NFL teams feel they are entitled to do this. And the Spanos family have proved they are leading this charge. How can any one say one word of which I write is not true? You don't need to dig too deep to analyze this proposal because it is garbage and all smoke and mirrors. It is meant to mislead the general public into thinking that continuing to subsidize the Spanos family is all good and will not be a tax payer burden. The bottom line is that the NFL and its franchisees make billions in profit. They can afford to finance and build their own facilities like all other businesses. But they realized that taxpayers like the ones in San Diego are fools and they figure why change. And this is especially true of the the most greedy owners like the Spanos clan.
Liam you make an excellent argument as to why this plan will only cost the taxpayers of this city over a billion dollars that otherwise could go to very needed city services and rebuilding or infrastructure needs. But, I am afraid most fools are just that. Even as I read some of the comments here on people who are interested in this topic I still find a very few foolish people who think this would be good deal for the taxpayers. Or at least they want to believe it would be a good deal even though they know it won't. That is a fool's logic. You see that is what the Spanos family along with their silver tongue spokesman Mark Fabiani and the NFL front men are dependent upon. And it has worked brilliantly in the past and they have no reason to change their tactics. This is how they get rich at the expense of foolish taxpayers. It is their world you are playing in.
Of corse they left a big gap! We can go on and on about all the numbers here and numbers there. The single most important issue is, that if one cent of tax payer money is spent on any new stadium it should go to the voters! All the rest of the conversation is mute in my opinion.
Tax payers speak first and then the rest of the greedy folks involved in this program can decide how they want to attack it.
The Mayor of the City of San Diego has committed publicly that it should and that he wants it to go to a vote. Mr. Mayor, if you go back on your word it could be and should political suicide for your career. Tax payers are tired of being manipulated by big banks, the super wealthy and politicians who spend our tax dollars for their own interest.
As we all know the Chargers are owned by a wealthy man. He has manipulated this city for years with his team, his terms and his desire to build himself and his family a new castle in the city of San Diego. He is more than welcome to build all he wants with his money. But when it comes to enlisting you and me Joe and Jane tax payer you need to ask!
This must go to a vote of the people. If it does not work with the time frames of the NFL and Chargers, thats just to bad! As the say it's just business! I guess you will have to take it some where else to who ever is willing to spend their money on your terms. Best of luck!
I want to address a few of the comments here and I'm happy to keep discussing all this.
On operations and maintenance. Yes, this the place where I believe the task force left a big gap. The task force seems to be saying that non-football events at the new facility are going to pay for this so we shouldn't worry about it. That is HIGHLY suspect. The task force is removing rents from the Chargers, Aztecs and bowl games from the equation because they're going to cover stadium construction costs. The operations and maintenance estimates I'm using in my piece assume the city continues to collect $3.1 million a year in non-Chargers/Aztecs revenue each year, which is what happens now at Qualcomm. Our research shows that even $3.1 million is on the high-end for stadiums: http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/land-use/reality-check-hundreds-of-stadium-events-dont-cover-hundreds-of-millions-in-stadium-costs/.
The task force also believes, as we note in the story, it has identified $250 million in revenues over and above stadium construction costs that could pay for overages, including operations and maintenance. Sure, that would be great. But there's no guarantee those revenues would pay back taxpayer portions rather than the team's.
On new revenues created by the stadium/related development. The task force believes the new development will create $144 million in increased tax revenues. This money, however, is accounted for the building of stadium and preparing the site with surrounding infrastructure. That money will be captured through the infrastructure district and hotel-room taxes. In other words, this money won't go to the city's day-to-day budget, nor will it be available to pay for operations and maintenance.
More broadly, it has been shown time and again by independent economists that sports stadiums are economic losers for cities, not winners. http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/all-narratives/chargers-stadium/local-economists-yes-we-should-build-a-stadium-no-it-doesnt-make-economic-sense/.
It is certainly true that there is a non-economic benefit from having football in a city. There is an intangible civic pride. My perspective generally is that there are a lot of needs in this town. If people want to spend money on a new football stadium instead of other needs, great. But let’s not pretend a stadium won’t cost us anything. It will. And we should know exactly how much it costs.
Nice piece Liam.
@Liam Dillon The fact that CSAG is using a 4% discount rate to calculate the present value of future revenue streams proves this entire report is a sham. They spent a few meetings collecting all of the readily available data and the rest of the 3 months deciding how they were going to lie to San Diego. What a complete and utter fraud.
Has anyone else out there caught the fact that CSAG estimates the cost of the stadium at $950 million. That's a farce.
I'll drive to L.A to be in a nicer facility instead of a budget stadium. San Diego fans need to see this through an owners perspective. Nobody in San Diego is born and raised in the city. All the mindless military and anti-sports soccer moms and their no balls geeky conservative husbands have moved and taken over San Diego politics and influence. Were are not a sports city. We need to face the facts. If you're a real chargers fan you will grow a pair and drive less then 2 hours to see our team play. Better then Oakland fans who would have to drive 5-6 hours haha.
@Hiram Eckstein "Nobody in San Diego is born and raised in the city"
Three generations of my family would disagree with you.
@msginsd @Hiram Eckstein Go out and talk to people ask them "Where are you from?" Just do it. Its common You probably don't go out much and meet people who live here. But its true currently our population are not native here and have no ties to sports of san diego. I'm a third generation here as well. Don't be blind to fact that our population care more about this weather then our football team.
Let the Chargers go..most of us who watch football ...Watch it on T.V. At no cost to our general fund.
I would rather drive to LA to see a well-financed team play than to Mission Valley to see a poor team play
@Jim Neri Agreed
@Jim Neri Jim, I'm glad to see someone else express this opinion. I drive to Carson frequently to cover boxing events at StubHub Center, adjacent to the area where a new Chargers/Raiders stadium would be built. The drive is a breeze, I've never once hit traffic on a weekend. If I wanted to see a football game the drive would not stop me from going. Let Carson foot the bill, call the team the SoCal Chargers and all it will cost me beyond the ticket price is a tank of gas every so often. That's what a I call a great deal.
Liam, why don't you drive up there and see what the road trip is like? Boxing events are scheduled June 6 and June 27. Or go to a LA Galaxy soccer game, they play right next door in a 27,000 seat stadium which may be more comparable to hitting a Chargers game in Carson.
National University's analysis is as ignorant as CSAG's proposal.
First off anyone who knows anything about NFL stadium financing knows that 100% of PSL revenue by league rules is always considered entirely the team's contribution, it's not negotiable. CSAG is flat out lying about Eric Grubman's statement, there's zero chance he said "In April, Mr. Grubman, the NFL’s Executive Vice President, suggested to CSAG a figure of $150 million for PSL sales in San Diego, with half going to the Chargers as part of the team’s financial contribution for the new stadium." There's no 50/50 split for PSLs and $150 mil is too high of an estimate, the Vikings $125 million estimate is more realistic and those funds are part of the $300 million team contribution.
The NFL has already responded that the ticket and parking surcharges, which amount to an estimated $187.5 million over 30 years and a NPV of about $94 million, are part the Chargers contribution and would go towards the $300 million total contribution
CSAG's naming rights estimate is also complete BS and they used a laughable 4% discount rate to calculate NPV. Hahaha, that's flat out moronic. Naming rights for a stadium in San Diego is not going to raise as much or even more money than Santa Clara collected from Levi's. That contract is for $220 million over 20 years. CSAG estimated $10 to $12 million per year. Vikings are hoping to get about $7 to $10 million per year, those are far more realistic than CSAG's BS. Using the midpoint of $8.5 million per year for 30 years would raise $255 million and using a 5.25% discount rate which is still on the low side equates to a NPV of about $128 million and that's assuming equal annual payments when in reality the annual amount paid increases over the life of the contract which would result in amount even smaller NPV.
Those revenue sources total about $347 million and that is on the high side. My analysis removes $520.7 million of CSAG's BS revenue estimates by using real comps and an honest discount rate.
The Chargers' stadium demands are now boring. The smarmy Official Spokesman has run out of lies, the felons on the field have run out of brains (Junior Seau died to prove that football as we know it should be abolished--I will settle for it out of sight), the billionaire owners' boundless greed has been exposed again and again, as has their puppies on the city council. Now it is time for the Chargers to pack up and go away. Demean some other city. San Diego will be lovely without them.
With a 16-game regular season, I suppose that would mean 8 Chargers home games/year. How much does all of this cost San Diego's taxpayers per home game? I'm hard pressed to think we couldn't find something better to do with the taxpayers' money.
@Nick Salameh "Increased ticket prices for both the chargers and Aztecs will cover the increase maintenance expense" You can ask the NFL about this, but I believe the ticket revenue goes to the Chargers, not to the city to offset the maintenance.
Your math, maybe not flawed but is confusing at best. CSAG claims their plan will cover the construction of a $1.4B stadium. Is that figure in today's dollars or your-math dollars? Shouldn't we discuss their plan based on the dollar amount, and basis, that they presented? By the way, when I finance something using a 30-year loan, it's for an investment, like a house. I don't use such a loan to finance an item that's surely to depreciate over time and cost me an arm and a leg in upkeep, like a car. Which one of these examples do you think a football stadium is more similar to?
@Nick Salameh Nick it's actually you who have exposed your complete ignorance with regards to finance and economics.
First off you don't even know how to calculate PV. Your number is dead wrong. You also don't understand that all of the data proves that operating costs inflate at a rate much higher than the average market discount rate over the last 20+ years. The $327 million figure is actually a conservative understatement.
The NFL and the Chargers have already stated that all of the PSL revenue and any parking or ticket surcharge would be part of the team's contribution. None of these revenue streams do a damn thing to reduce the city's liability. Naming rights are a revenue source that the NFL allows teams and municipalities to negotiate over each party's ownership share. For example, the 49ers get to keep 30% of the naming rights revenue to apply towards their annual rent expense, while the Vikings get to keep all 100% of naming rights revenue to apply towards their $300 million contribution.
Everyone with a finance background knows you are completely incapable of grasping the most basic concepts of finance and economics, and possess the logic abilities of a chimp. I'd fire you in a second if you were my employee and you brought this moronic tripe to me. You clearly learned nothing in Finance 101 at your junior college.
SPARE US YOUR MIND NUMBING IGNORANCE AND JUST DELETE YOUR PROFILE NOW. You are a complete embarrassment and I fear for our youth if you are an accurate representation of your generation's intellectual abilities.
@Nick Salameh I understand project finance, so you better explain it to me and see if I can give you a passing grade.
The bottom line is this:
1. The GSAC proposal entails use of 162 acres of public property valued at $500 Mil.
2. It also entails a $14 Mil. city plus county annuity whose NPV = A/i = $14 Mil./ 0.05 = $280 Mil.
3. It also includes a maintenance cost whose NPV according to you is $111 Mil.
4. It also includes off-site improvements for freeway on and off ramps (plus other similar infrastructure work) estimated at $200 Mil+ (if not an easy $300 Mil).
If you care to add all this up we are talking about amounts in excess of $1.1 Bil of public contribution.
I suggest you self-delete your comment now and save yourself from public ridicule about the depth of your ignorance in matters of modern finance.
@Nick Salameh All I really need to know is that MY money will go to enrich an already rich NFL owner while infrastructure sorely needed here would take a back seat for ANOTHER 30-50 years. While not sexy, with our water problem a desalinization plant is a better investment for our future than a football stadium. Yeah, I like football, but not enough to let all these other issues get put on hold again. Besides, it will still be on TV every Sunday, Monday, and Thursday for free. I'd rather use MY money to upgrade MY man-cave.
@Nick Salameh you are an example of either a damn fool or you must work for the NFL or Charger organization or some interested third party in seeking millions in tax payer subsidies for this team or the NFL. If Liam is not qualified to write on such a subject what exactly is your qualifications and who appointed you as the spokesman for this deal?
@Dean Plassaras Wow, My pathological lying psychopathic stalker is back.
Dean you are an ignorant fool who knows nothing about finance or economics. I've destroyed each and everyone of your lies with links to facts. You're nothing but a pathetic troll.
Did the UT ban you from their comments section? Troll on loser.
@Dean Plassaras Go back through all of the past stadium financing articles. I've won every debate against you. You make baseless claims that are most often lies, while I've backed up all of my claims with links to credible sources including source documents.
Dean, you are an incompetent ignorant troll, and an outed pathological liar. You don't even live in San Diego county and IIRC you've never lived here. You're here for only two reasons, to lie through your teeth and troll San Diego forums. You are in desperate need of psychological help.
So, the "new/unaccounted" part of this proposal is the ~300M in operating/maintenance plus the park--about $10M/year. This gets to a question that I have never seen anyone attempt to answer, but is really at the heart of the matter: "What does the presence of an NFL franchise do for a city in terms of generating overall tax revenue?" Does it generate at least $10M/year, when averaged out? I say "averaged out" because it seems obvious that there would be surges of revenue around major events. These are the obvious, first-order contributions that are perhaps easily calculated. But, what about the indirect benefits that may persist or are more loosely correlated with the city's reputation/notoriety as holding an NFL franchise and being part of a SB rotation (if that happens)? I am not an economist nor a social scientist, and so I have no idea what that number is...but it is hard to believe that it could be $0.
Does the city somehow recoup some amount of revenue in other areas, or has this been shown to be a false assumption?
It's a question many have asked before, so this is not an epiphany that I ask it, but I've only seen it answered in a qualitative way. Liam appears to have the necessary expertise to delve into this question, and I believe this should be done unless there is an agenda behind this article (which I hope, perhaps naively, is not the case).
If we are going to break down the proposal costs and do projections, then it only seems fair that some kind of forecast that takes this question into account quantitatively be attempted.
@Steve Miller All of the studies by credible independent economists show that publicly funded stadiums, especially NFL stadiums, are at worst a huge drain on city coffers and at best only a small financial loss. They are never a net benefit.
There is no more Super Bowl rotation, every new or upgraded stadium is trying to get at least one Super Bowl. Economic studies have also proven that Super Bowls are money losers for the host cities.
What's really amazing is that economists from liberal and conservative groups agree publicly funded stadiums are money losers for the taxpayers. You know it's bad when our two parties can agree on something.
We really would need to wait until after negotiations and terms were finalized to perform a financial analysis. One thing I can tell you is that CSAG's proposal is an invitation for lawsuits on multiple grounds.
@Dean Plassaras Piss off, troll. I've already provided all of the data backed by links to credible sources. All you do is post lie after lie. Please go kill yourself.
Spin, spin, spin...
Such a disingenuous article. The CSAG did a hell of a job coming up with a plan that was fair to the Chargers and also to the residents of San Diego. Of course, their will still be lots and lots of haggling (the devil is in the details after all) but I am more than positive than our Bolts are staying in San Diego.
Great job CSAG.
@Edward Moretti Why would you characterize this plan as "fair to the Chargers and also to the residents of San Diego"? I run a business in San Diego too, a profitable one at that. I am also looking to expand, but to buy up the lot next to mine and extend my current building would cost me $1.2M (yeah, land in CA is expensive). Should the city give me $700K to pay for it? Oh by the way, I'm not creating any new jobs. Even my current staff mostly makes minimum wage. Would you vote yes if I can hire some signature gatherers to put my plan on the ballot next year?
@Edward Moretti Typical ignorant football fan, I have to wonder if CTE is contagious when someone like you watches too much football.
@Mike @Edward Moretti I love how people spew such rage over stadium subsidies while ignoring the fact the majority of subsidies go to financial, tele communication, utilities and oil,gas and pipeline industries as well as big farms. Funny how we will never hear about that here in the Voice of the Repub...I mean, San Diego. I guess if you can make people mad enough at one they'll never find out about the other.
@Edward Moretti well then your CTE is terminal. Your rob from the poor and give to the rich "job creators" spiel is straight out of the foxnews playbook.
You don't even know what you are advocating. SMH. Not only do we need more libraries, we need mandatory attendance for people like you.
@David Benz @Edward Moretti Sorry, but Fox News saves that spiel for other industries not sports owners and stadiums. As far as libraries, although I am a regular visitor to our library here in Chula Vista, some would call the new $182 million library in downtown San Diego a waste of tax payer money. Some would call libraries unnecessary in today's world when you literally have a world of information in the palm of your hand. Don't call me one of those people. Libraries, museums, symphonies...I'm all for them. Cultural amenities enrich our lives. And, in today's world, sports stadiums are a cultural amenity. We could live in a San DIego without a zoo, without a Balboa Park, without a sports teams...but what kind of life would that be?
San Diego (the city) holds all the cards in this negotiation. Here is why.
Goodell has said no single team has any "presumptive right" to play in Los Angeles and that only the league as a whole can make a decision on relocation. Any team seeking to move to LA must show it "has secured a long-term stadium solution that is financeable and preserves the league's option for use as a two-team facility."
That team also must have a viable interim stadium plan while the new building is being built; a marketing plan with respect to personal seat licenses, premium seating, and naming rights; and must give certain financial guarantees to the league.
So far, all NFL teams aspiring to be in LA have only secured two sites where a dual team facility is possible (an NFL requirement). They have neither proven that a stadium deal is financeable (because by definition a $2 Bil 100% private stadium in LA is not financebale) nor they have been capable to provide the league with the necessary financial guarantees for success in LA.
Bottom line: LA is a mirage( a false leverage) and the local NFL owner has no other option but to pretend that he has one ( false option) while everyone knows that he doesn't.