On Wednesday, NFL owners approved lease terms for the San Diego Chargers in Los Angeles, marking another step for a potential move.
It has been no secret that the Chargers are taking a closer look at Los Angeles. Following the rejection of Measure C–which called for a new downtown stadium/convention center–by San Diego voters on Election Day, it has looked more likely that the Chargers will exercise an existing option that allows the team to relocate and eventually share a new stadium with the Los Angeles Rams. While that facility is not expected to open until 2019, the option to move expires on January 15, 2017, making the few weeks critical.
The latest step in securing a move to Los Angeles appears to have taken place, as owners reportedly signed off on a lease proposal between the Rams and Chargers. More from USA Today:
Although Chargers chairman Dean Spanos has maintained that he won’t officially declare the team’s intentions until after the season – in the face of a last-minute attempt by San Diego officials to broker a deal for the team to stay — NFL owners also approved a measure that raises the team’s debt ceiling to $325 million from $250 million.
The increased debt ceiling gives the Chargers the ability to borrow up to 50% of the $650 million relocation fee that the team would pay to fellow owners.
“If the Chargers decide to move, that makes the cash-flow stronger for them in the new stadium for at least the first 10 years,” Marc Ganis, a consultant with Sportscorp, Ltd., told USA TODAY Sports.
Earlier this week, four city council members in San Diego revealed a plan that would allow the Chargers to sign a 99-year lease at a rent payment of $1 annually to continue playing at Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley. Some San Diego officials hoped that the proposal would eventually pave the way for a new stadium and larger development surrounding Qualcomm Stadium. However, that runs contrary to previous remarks from Spanos, who said in September that he was not interested in keeping the team in Mission Valley.
If the Chargers do proceed with a relocation to Los Angeles, the team could leave before the 2017 season. The StubHub Center in Carson has been reported as a possible temporary venue. An announcement on the team’s status is still not expected until after the season, something that Spanos reiterated in brief remarks to the San Diego-Union Tribune.
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