Chargers Officially Set to Move to Los Angeles
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported late Wednesday night that the San Diego Chargers plan to announce soon that they will be moving to Los Angeles.
On Thursday morning, the team’s owner and chairman, Dean Spanos, made it official.
Spanos had reportedly initially planned to announce his decision to move right after the season ended on New Years Day but decided to wait until the NFL’s stadium and finance committees met on Wednesday.
Spanos is expected to pay the $550 million relocation fee himself over the course of the next 10 years. The Chargers will pay a $12 million buyout for their current lease at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego in order to relocate.
In a letter on the Chargers’ official website, Spanos wrote, “Today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers.”
“LA is a remarkable place, and while we played our first season there in 1960s and have had fans there ever since, our entire organization knows that we have a tremendous amount of work to do. We must earn the respect and support of LA football fans. We must get back to winning. And, we must make a meaningful contribution, not just on the field, but off the field as a leader and champion for the community.”
The Chargers originated in L.A. but moved to San Diego after their first season. They have spent the last 55 seasons playing in San Diego, but will now reportedly be returning to the city of their origin.
No Stadium Solution In San Diego
In November, San Diego voters rejected a proposal for a downtown stadium worth $1.8 billion. The city would have raised its hotel tax in order to help fund the project, but the bill received only 43 percent support.
San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer attempted to resurrect a last-ditch effort for a new stadium in Mission Valley – the site of the Chargers’ current stadium – but was unable to get it off the ground, either.
Last month, the Chargers made an announcement that they have leased land in Orange County for a temporary training facility. They leased a portion of an office in Costa Mesa along with 3.2 acres of land to serve as temporary training facilities and headquarters.
The Chargers have not announced where they will play home games now that the move to Los Angeles is official. They reportedly have two options. They can either play at the Coliseum, where the Los Angeles Rams and USC currently play, or they can play at the StubHub Center in Carson.
The StubHub center is the current home of the L.A. Galaxy of Major League Soccer. The facility is considerably smaller than a standard NFL stadium, as it holds just 30,000 seats at maximum capacity. By comparison, Qualcomm Stadium, the Chargers’ current home, can seat in excess of 70,000.
Whichever stadium they choose would only be the Chargers’ home stadium until the 2019 season. They will share a brand new stadium in Inglewood with the Rams starting in ’19.
L.A. Market Priority
The Chargers have been battling to find a stadium solution in San Diego for over a decade, but it has not come to pass. Spanos felt the need to act now if his team was ever going to be making the move to Los Angeles. With the Rams already owning a season in L.A., fighting for recognition in the market as soon as possible became a priority.
Spanos had until January 17th to exercise the NFL’s option on whether to move his team. Schefter reported that a news conference to announce the move could take place next Wednesday in Los Angeles.
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