The Los Angeles relocation story continues. The Rams may have already upped sticks and moved to the City of Angels, but the Chargers announced today that they’ve reached an agreement in principle with the former St. Louis team to join them in their Inglewood Stadium. However, the Chargers also announced today that they will remain in San Diego for the 2016 season. The Chargers were given a twelve-month window at the ownership meeting last month to decide whether or not to move to Los Angeles as a tenant in the Rams’ Inglewood stadium, due for completion in 2019. The Chargers’ statement this evening implies that the default situation is, if nothing changes, then the Chargers will indeed move to Los Angeles in 2017. However, by committing to at least play the 2016 season at Qualcomm Stadium, the Chargers are giving the mayor and council of San Diego the opportunity to pull one final proposal together before that twelve-month window closes, in order to entice team owner Dean Spanos to stay in SD. The announcements follow earlier reports that the third team that had applied to move to LA, the Oakland Raiders, were exploring a potential relocation to Las Vegas, a city who’s previous attempts at having professional outdoor football teams include the failed CFL expansion into America, the failed Vince McMahon-owned XFL, and the failed UFL (though the Las Vegas franchise did win the UFL championship in three of the league’s four seasons of operation). The Raiders had originally submitted a joint-proposal with the Chargers for a stadium in the Carson region of Los Angeles, but the proposal was rejected by league ownership in favour of Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s Inglewood proposal. If the Chargers opt to stay in San Diego, then the Raiders will be offered the opportunity to co-habit the Inglewood site instead, again with a twelve-month window to make their decision. Below is Chargers owner Dean Spanos’ statement in full, as published on the team’s website:
Dear Chargers Fans,
Today I decided our team will stay in San Diego for the 2016 season and I hope for the long term in a new stadium.
I have met with Mayor Faulconer and Supervisor Roberts and I look forward to working closely with them and the business community to resolve our stadium dilemma. We have an option and an agreement with the Los Angeles Rams to go to Inglewood in the next year, but my focus is on San Diego.
This has been our home for 55 years, and I want to keep the team here and provide the world-class stadium experience you deserve.
Everyone on both sides of the table in San Diego must now determine the best next steps and how to deploy the additional resources provided by the NFL.
I am committed to looking at this with a fresh perspective and new sense of possibility.
With deep appreciation for your years of support,
Dean A. Spanos