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Volume 22 No. 49
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Goldman to bankroll Chargers’ move

The Chargers and Raiders say they’ll build in Carson, Calif., if they do not reach deals in their current homes.
Rendering: MANICA ARCHITECTURE
Goldman Sachs will finance the San Diego Chargers’ prospective move to Los Angeles, including covering any operating losses suffered by the team in the first few years in that city as well as costs for any renovations needed in a temporary venue, sources said last week.

The Chargers and Oakland Raiders announced last week they would build a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson, Calif., assuming they are unable to reach deals for new venues in their respective cities. At the Carson announcement, Goldman Sachs’ Tim Romer spoke about the financial viability of the project and using the same financing structure deployed by the San Francisco 49ers to fund Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Goldman Sachs’ commitment goes beyond simply financing the proposed new stadium, though. The Chargers, the sources said, expect to play several seasons in either the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum or the Rose Bowl Stadium before that new stadium would be open, and the team expects that it might be called on to make any renovations required before playing at one of those venues.

Romer and his colleague Greg Carey, both managing directors at Goldman Sachs, did not reply for comment. The Chargers declined to comment.

The Raiders have yet to choose a financial company with which to work.

A representative for the coliseum, which is home to USC football, did not reply for comment about whether it has begun talks with NFL teams about serving as a temporary home.

The Rose Bowl won a lawsuit last year brought by local residents opposed to bringing an NFL team there, but that decision is on appeal. A ruling on that appeal might not arrive until the summer at the earliest, and as a result, the Chargers are not counting on that facility as an option at the moment.

However, the Los Angeles dance may last well into the NFL’s 2015 season. With three different teams now announcing plans for Los Angeles while at the same time being involved in efforts in their local markets to build new stadiums, the situation is fluid.

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is planning to build an NFL stadium in Inglewood, Calif., and the Inglewood City Council last week approved plans for that stadium’s construction. At the same time, Kroenke’s home-team city, St. Louis, appears furthest along on its own new stadium project and more intent on getting a new stadium for the team there than either San Diego or Oakland.

Meanwhile, the NFL’s new six-owner Los Angeles committee, which includes New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, is scheduled to meet in person for the first time next week during NFL committee meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. The committee was created last month.

Financial sources said that if Goldman Sachs has committed to finance the Carson project, plus other expenses, it is not surprising. The 49ers took in more than half a billion dollars in PSL money as part of the Levi’s Stadium financing plan, and a two-team stadium in Los Angeles could easily surpass that amount.