Chargers Appear One Step Closer to Moving to LA
The San Diego Chargers football team may soon be changing its name after having signed leases for headquarters office space and more than three acres of land
for a future training facility in Costa Mesa in Orange County, the latest
step indicating the team will likely relocate to the LA market.
The move two weeks ago comes after NFL owners approved a lease deal between the Chargers and Rams for joint use of a new stadium being built in Inglewood by the Rams. That stadium is set to open for the 2019 football season.
NFL officials have given the Chargers until January 15 to decide whether to move to LA with the Rams or to stay in San Diego. If the Chargers decide not to move, the Oakland Raiders would be free to take the LA option with the Rams, returning the Raiders once again to Southern California where they enjoy a large fan base.
The Chargers’ decision to make the move to LA comes after the defeat of Measure C during last month’s election. Had the measure passed, the Chargers could have finalized plan for a new stadium near Petco Park in Downtown’s East Village.
Measure C would have raised hotel room taxes to partially pay for a downtown stadium that could have cost more than $1.2 billion. The Chargers went around City leaders by spending millions of dollars on the ballot measure campaign. Ultimately, only 43% of San Diego’s voters supported the measure, far less than the two-thirds vote needed to approve it.
After the defeat of Mesasure C, the Chargers haven’t seemed interested in negotiating with Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other City leaders to find another approach.
Two weeks ago, Council President Myrtle Cole and three other council members sent a letter to Chargers President Dean Spanos offering them a $1 per year lease for Qualcomm Stadium, along with development rights on the Mission Valley property.
“Before leaving 60 years of tradition and loyal fans, let’s give one last concerted effort to come to the table and hammer this out face to face, working together toward a common goal of keeping the NFL in America’s Finest City,” the Council letter reads.
But even that overture was met by criticism by the Chargers. Dean Spanos complained that the letter was made public even before he received it. Critics counter that any letter sent by elected officials should be public regardless of when it’s received.
The letter was also signed by Councilwoman Lori Zapf and Councilmen Scott Sherman and Chris Cate. Cate was an outspoken opponent of Measure C.
Dean Spanos has said the team will wait until after the last game of the season on January 1st to announce their decision on whether or not they will make the move to Los Angeles.
The Councilmembers’ letter leaves the door open for last minute negotiations, but the Chargers have not yet responded to the offer.
“If we fail to come to an agreement, at least we will know that nothing was left untested and we can part ways knowing that we gave it our all,” the letter states. “We ask that the Chargers give San Diego fans another chance.”
If the Chargers decide to move, the Qualcomm stadium site in Mission Valley could be used as an expansion site by San Diego State University for housing, research facilities, and possibly, a smaller stadium for Aztec Football games.