Doug Manchester, who used to own the San Diego Union-Tribune, sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this month saying that he had organized a group of associates and the group was looking to “construct a new 70,000-seat stadium” in Mission Valley, where Qualcomm Stadium currently stands.
In the letter, which was obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Manchester also added that the proposed new stadium would “provide an immediate alternative” for the Raiders if the stadium plan in Las Vegas were to blow up in their face.
The letter was sent to the commissioner on Feb. 8.
Manchester isn’t only open to adding the Raiders though. If the Chargers should have change of heart about their move to Los Angeles, his group would welcome them back. In the letter, the group states that it would be “open to working with the Chargers, the Raiders, other NFL owners or a new ownership group.”
Although the letter didn’t include an actual stadium proposal, it did include one caveat that might make an NFL team take a second look at it: a vote wouldn’t be required to get the stadium done.
San Diego’s hopes of keeping the Chargers basically ended in November when a stadium referendum was shot down handily. The stadium initiative needed 66 percent of the vote to pass, but only received 43 percent.
However, that plan involved a $1.8 billion downtown project that would’ve included both a new stadium and a rebuilt convention center. Under Manchester’s plan, he’s looking to build in Mission Valley, where the city wanted to build all along.
That never happened though, because the Chargers were against it.
The city actually proposed a stadium plan at Mission Valley that would’ve only cost $1.1 billion. According to Manchester’s group, they would provide the money for which the city was responsible in the $1.1 billion plan so that the stadium wouldn’t have to be voted on again.
“Our group will provide the funds previously allocated to be provided by the City of San Diego and guarantee the stadium’s expeditious construction,” the letter states. “Accordingly, this project will not require voter approval.”
Until there’s an actual plan, the idea of San Diego getting an NFL team is a long shot. However, if things don’t work out between the Raiders and Vegas -- and they’re not looking great now -- it wouldn’t be shocking the first call Raiders owner Mark Davis made was to Manchester.
Just two weeks ago, San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer reportedly told the NFL that his city would be interested in the Raiders if Vegas fell through. Basically, if San Diego can put a viable stadium plan together -- and that’s big if -- the Raiders seem like their most likely target.
Of course, the Raiders aren’t worried about San Diego right now because they only have six weeks to convince 23 NFL owners to let them relocate to Vegas. The vote on the Raiders’ move is expected to go down at the NFL owners meeting in late March. However, that could change if the Raiders can’t figure out how to fill the $650 million funding gap that was left when billionaire Sheldon Adelson backed out of the project.