Following Tuesday’s vote against their stadium/convention center proposal, talk about the San Diego Chargers moving to Los Angeles has increased. However, San Diego officials believe they can still keep the team.
On Tuesday, San Diego voters resoundingly rejected Measure C, the Chargers intiaitive that called for a hotel tax increase to back a $1.15 billion public contribution to a $1.8 billion stadium/convention center. In a statement issued in the aftermath of the vote, Chargers owner Dean Spanos did not directly address whether the team will look to stay in San Diego.
The Chargers currently have an option to move to Los Angeles, where they would eventually join the Los Angeles Rams at a new stadium in Inglewood. Some outlets, including The Washington Post, are reporting that the option is being carefully watched by the league:
“You’d have to think this brings L.A. back into the picture,” one person familiar with the league’s inner workings said Wednesday morning. “That wasn’t even close. Is there a future from them there [in San Diego]? Dean [Spanos, the chairman of the Chargers] will have to figure out what he wants to do. I’m sure that will take a little time.”
The Washington Post also reported on another possibility, which is that the Chargers seek the NFL’s permission to add another year to the option. As it is written, the option can only be extended in the event that San Diego approves a new stadium, but with the Chargers still mulling their options and the Oakland Raiders still trying to negotiate terms for a move to Las Vegas, extending the option could become a more feasible solution
In the event that the Chargers want to remain in San Diego, officials there say they are ready to reopen talks. Now there are a few complicated variables in this equation, one of which is whether San Diego voters have the desire to fund a stadium project of any kind. The Chargers, meanwhile, have ruled out a new stadium in Mission Valley, the section of San Diego where Qualcomm Stadium is located.
It would also seem that if the Chargers pursue a new stadium, that removing the convention center concept–which was widely criticized by the city’s tourism sector–would be something to consider. While these are all details that have to be addressed, some in San Diego, including mayor Kevin Faulconer, still think the Chargers can remain the San Diego Chargers. More from the San Diego Union-Tribune:
“While there isn’t support for this particular measure, the results demonstrate that a large number of San Diegans love the Bolts and want them to stay,” said Faulconer, who endorsed Measure C this fall after the team agreed to some non-binding concessions. “We now have momentum to work together with the Chargers to develop a new solution to keep the team in San Diego.”
Faulconer said big proposals like a new stadium are complex and often take multiple attempts before success can be achieved.
Jerry Sanders, chief executive of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, was similarly optimistic.
“I think this is a chance to open a dialogue with the mayor’s office and to bring in other community leaders and business interests and see if there is some deal that can be made,” Sanders said. “There should be some discussions of what the art of the possible is.”
Roughly 43% of voters supported Measure C which, due to a pending court case, would have required a two-thirds majority for immediate approval.
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