SAN DIEGO — The city and county of San Diego announced Monday they have retained Citigroup and the international law firm Nixon Peabody as financial and legal consultants for a potential football stadium construction project.
Citigroup has been involved in raising money to build stadiums recently in Atlanta, New York and Orlando. The mayor’s office said the two New York stadium projects included financing mechanisms like naming rights, premium seating, advertising and sponsorships that are under consideration in San Diego.
Nixon Peabody has provided legal advice on 25 stadium projects, including a dozen for football, the mayor’s office said.
“These experts in finance and negotiation will help make sure taxpayers get a fair deal,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “They have a proven track record of getting NFL stadiums done and will ensure that the financing plan we put together in San Diego is rock solid.”
He said officials are making progress toward a stadium solution that can garner “broad public support.”
The City Council and county Board of Supervisors recently approved a plan to spend up to $250,000 each to hire consultants, who will take the recommendations of a task force appointed by Faulconer and turn them into a final plan to present to the Chargers and the public.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the pool of experts who have negotiated and arranged financing for NFL stadiums is limited.
Supervisor Ron Roberts said Citigroup and Nixon Peabody offer “the creativity, tenacity, insight and financial knowledge necessary to guide us in the preparation of a reasonable stadium funding proposal.”
The mayor’s stadium advisory group has recommended Mission Valley as a location for the stadium, and plans to issue its financial plans by May 20.
The Chargers have been pushing for a new playing facility for more than a dozen years to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium, and earlier this year unveiled a proposal to build a stadium in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, jointly with the Oakland Raiders.
It’s likely that any final stadium plan in San Diego, including the financing, will go to the public for approval in an election. Eric Grubman, the NFL executive overseeing the league’s possible return to Los Angeles, told members of the mayor’s advisory group last week that any vote that takes place late next year runs the risk of being too late.
The mayor’s office subsequently said Faulconer would be open to “appropriate timing options that will accomplish the ultimate goal of keeping the Chargers in San Diego.”