The San Diego Chargers will exist for at least one more season — and possibly many more. Team owner Dean Spanos said this afternoon, “Today I decided our team will stay in San Diego for the 2016 season and I hope for the long term in a new stadium.”
The news comes the same day Spanos reached a tentative deal to share the new Inglewood stadium with the Los Angeles Rams. That agreement allows the team to relocate up the 5 Freeway as the Chargers have until January 15, 2017, to exercise their option to move. But in a note to fans in San Diego, Spanos said, “This has been our home for 55 years, and I want to keep the team here and provide the world-class stadium experience you deserve.”
On January 12, the NFL approved relocation of the St. Louis Rams to Los Angeles, where it played from 1946 until moving east in 1994. At the time, the league also gave the Chargers the option to move to LA. Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to build a $2.66 billion, 80,000-seat stadium on the former Hollywood Park site adjacent to the Forum in Inglewood, which is slated to open in 2019. While both teams ultimately sharing that facility remains a possibility, Spanos appears willing to give San Diego every opportunity to keep the Chargers there.
“I have met with Mayor Faulconer and Supervisor Roberts,” he said in today’s statement, “and I look forward to working closely with them and the business community to resolve our stadium dilemma. We have an option and an agreement with the Los Angeles Rams to go to Inglewood in the next year, but my focus is on San Diego.”
Separately, Kroenke said today: “The Los Angeles Rams have reached an agreement with the San Diego Chargers to join us in the new Inglewood Stadium, if they choose to exercise their option to relocate within the next year. We look forward to partnering with the Chargers in Inglewood, but the decision of course is Dean’s to make.”
San Diego has a municipal vote slated for June to approve $350 million in public funding for a new facility to replace the city’s aging Qualcomm Stadium and keep the team in the city it has called home since 1961. The rest of the $1.1 billion to build a new stadium would come from the Chargers, the NFL — which has pledged $100 million to the team if it gets a new stadium deal — and sales of personal seat licenses.
“Maybe the last couple months of flux is exactly what the city needed,” Ian Rapoport said on NFL Network awhile ago. “So for now … they’re still going to be the San Diego Chargers, and we’ll see if the city and the team can finally build a stadium that both sides really want to build.”
The Chargers had proposed moving to LA and sharing a stadium in Carson with the Oakland Raiders, but the league chose to go with the Rams’ Inglewood option. Meanwhile, the Raiders reportedly are eyeing a move to Sin City. UNLV recently bought a 42-acre plot on Tropicana Avenue, and Raiders owner Mark Davis is meeting today with officials from Las Vegas Sands Corp, which is pushing the university to build a $1 billion, 65,000-seat stadium on the site.
Here is his Spanos’ full statement:
Dear Chargers Fans,
Today I decided our team will stay in San Diego for the 2016 season and I hope for the long term in a new stadium.
I have met with Mayor Faulconer and Supervisor Roberts and I look forward to working closely with them and the business community to resolve our stadium dilemma. We have an option and an agreement with the Los Angeles Rams to go to Inglewood in the next year, but my focus is on San Diego.
This has been our home for 55 years, and I want to keep the team here and provide the world-class stadium experience you deserve.
Everyone on both sides of the table in San Diego must now determine the best next steps and how to deploy the additional resources provided by the NFL.
I am committed to looking at this with a fresh perspective and new sense of possibility.
With deep appreciation for your years of support,Dean A. SpanosChairman