It’s official: Owner Dean Spanos is moving his NFL team from San Diego for the 2017 season and beyond, as the Los Angeles Chargers will be back after 56 seasons down the coast.
The Chargers actually began their AFL life in Los Angeles under owner Barron Hilton in 1960, so the move is a homecoming of sorts. There has been talk that Spanos would pull the trigger on a move after his proposal for a new downtown stadium was rebuffed by San Diego voters this fall. With no firm stadium plan forthcoming, the decision was made by Spanos to move the team, eventually playing at a new Inglewood stadium being built by Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke. (The rent, by the way, will be $1 a year.) Spanos announced the move at a 8 a.m. staff meeting, followed by a letter on Chargers.com and a logo unveiling (above; the old Los Angeles Chargers logo is below).
Here’s the full letter from Spanos:
After much deliberation, I have made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2017 NFL season.San Diego has been our home for 56 years. It will always be part of our identity, and my family and I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the support and passion our fans have shared with us over the years.
But today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers.
LA is a remarkable place, and while we played our first season there in 1960 and have had fans there ever since, our entire organization knows that we have a tremendous amount of work to do. We must earn the respect and support of LA football fans. We must get back to winning. And, we must make a meaningful contribution, not just on the field, but off the field as a leader and champion for the community.
The Chargers are determined to fight for LA and we are excited to get started.
The NFL didn’t throw up any roadblocks after reviewing the Chargers’ books, according to the Los Angeles Times:
Spanos informed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners Wednesday of his plan to move the team, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation.
Out of deference to the league, Spanos waited until the NFL’s finance and stadium committees finished meeting Wednesday at league headquarters to make a final assessment of his options, the person said.
When no last-ditch effort by the NFL to convince Spanos to remain in San Diego materialized at the meeting, the owner moved forward with his decision.
The Los Angeles Chargers will play out of StubHub Center, a 30,000-seat facility that is home to MLS’s L.A. Galaxy, for two seasons.
One intriguing possibility: a la Art Modell, Spanos reportedly is leaving open the possibility of any new Chargers team in San Diego being able to use the Chargers marks, with the Los Angeles team rebranding in 2019.