San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos is set to announce a move of his team to Los Angeles, throwing in the towel on a new stadium and casting his lot with Stan Kroenke at a new Los Angeles Rams stadium.
The news was first reported by ESPN and verified by the San Diego Union-Tribune. Spanos is set to inform Chargers employees of his decision at an 8 a.m. staff meeting today. He has reportedly informed Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners of his decision, but has not filed the necessary paperwork for a move.
Spanos is operating under a deadline of this coming Tuesday to inform the NFL of any intention to move the team to Los Angeles. However, it’s likely that the deadline would have been extended due to a lack of urgency thanks to the near certainty the Oakland Raiders will end up in Las Vegas. But Spanos has apparently had enough. After a Chargers stadium initiative failed at the polls last fall, city leaders had explored ways to keep the team in San Diego, with talks centered around a new Mission Valley stadium near Qualcomm Stadium. From the Union-Tribune:
Civic leader Phil Blair, CEO of Manpower San Diego, said he would be surprised if the Chargers had really decided to leave San Diego for Los Angeles. While the team owner may believe there’s a larger financial reward being in Los Angeles, Blair says he’s not so sure.
“I can’t see them being second fiddle to the Rams or being a tenant in someone else’s stadium,” said Blair, a former member of San Diego’s Convention Center Corp. board. “Is it a financial decision where I as the owner want to go where the profits are or is this a family company that loves San Diego and really wants to make it work? I think moving to L.A., long-term, is a mistake.”
The move could come immediately. The new Inglewood stadium will not open until 2019, but the Chargers are reportedly looking at playing at StubHub Center, a 30,000-seat MLS facility, until the new stadium open. NFL officials and Rams ownership had looking at playing there until committing to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as a temporary facility.
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