There is no surprise to this announcement that the San Diego Chargers intend to move north to share a stadium with the Los Angeles Rams. The team hasn’t made an official announcement, but sources close to the team have told local media the Chargers intend to make the official announcement later this week.
In November San Diego voters rejected a plan for a sports and entertainment complex in downtown San Diego, near the existing convention center and Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.
The vote needed a super majority of voters to say yes, but less than half voted for the new stadium.
Earlier today the league said it was pushing to keep the Chargers in San Diego, fearing the Los Angeles market might not be able to support two teams, especially if both have had losing seasons with both now looking for new coaches.
After the vote for a downtown stadium failed, the city, led by Mayor Kevin Faulconer, had another offer of a new, state-of-the-art stadium on the grounds that now house Qualcomm Stadium, where the Chargers have played their home games since 1967. But that wasn’t enough for team chairman, Dean Spanos.
There are also the longtime members of the team who have made San Diego their home for the past 8-12 years. All-Star tight end Antonio Gates has a home in the Hollywood Hills as well as a home in Poway, just outside of San Diego. After their final game of the season, which the Chargers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, Gates — who was undrafted in 2003 and has played his entire career with the Chargers — vaguely stated his preference to remain in San Diego.
After the 2015 season quarterback Philip Rivers expressed similar sentiments that initially angered some Los Angeles residents. Rivers walked the comments back a little when he told the media what he meant was that he and his family love San Diego and like having been a part of the community since he arrived here in 2004. In 2006 he became the Chargers’ starting QB, leading the team to the 2007 AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots, who ultimately won.
There is some hope in the Chargers Nation that since no official announcement has been made Spanos will change his mind and take the deal for a new Mission Valley stadium.
The Chargers have been trying tor most of two decades to get a new stadium in San Diego, and the city, soured by the “ticket guarantee” deal signed by former Mayor Susan Golding that had the city taxpayers “buying” unsold tickets for games that had less than 50,000 in attendance. As a result many local residents were not keen on footing most of the bill for a $1.8 billion stadium, even if it was to be funded by an increase in hospitality taxes.
Despite the large number of Chargers fans in San Diego, the fact that for many years the area has been a relocation magnet for people in other parts of the country, not to mention the large number of military personnel who spend time here and retire as San Diegans, the Chargers often have as many opposing fans as their own fans in the stands.
When the Oakland Raiders played the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 18, it looked like there were more Raiders fans than Chargers fans in the seats. Of course the Raiders had a winning season and the Chargers were just 5-11.
The NFL is now considering the possibility of the Raiders moving from Oakland to Las Vegas, NV.
Ironically, in 2004 when the Chargers renegotiated their contract with the city for Qualcomm Stadium, they were open to a new home next to the current stadium. And it would have cost about half as much as a new stadium today. it will be a very sad day for San Diego Chargers fans if Dean Spanos does announce the team will move. He has yet to announce to the league or the cities involved his intentions, so fans have hope.
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UPDATE, Jan. 12: The Chargers have made it official: they will be moving to Los Angeles for the 2017 season. In a letter posted on the team’s website, Owner and Chairman of the Board Dean Spanos, announced the move. Early this morning the team changed all of its social media to reflect the change: “Los Angeles Chargers,” complete with a new logo.
Below is the 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.
Dean A. Spanos
Owner – Chairman of the Board
Some had speculated the Chargers would wait until Tuesday to make the announcement, giving San Diego fans hope the owner would change his mind. Now they have to begin the tough job of moving, which among other things, includes what to do with long-time season ticket holders, the fans who have been with the team for many years, some for the 56 years the Chargers have called San Diego home.
Now Los Angeles will have two teams from the four major team sports in the area: The Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (MLB), The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers (NBA), The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks (NHL) and now the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers in the NFL.
In a press release the Chargers added:
The team launched www.FightforLA.com, a website that allows fans to place a fully refundable $100 deposit on season tickets for the 2017 season. Current Chargers Season Ticket Members will maintain their priority status and are not required to make a deposit.
The Chargers’ temporary home will be StubHub Center, located on the campus of California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson and owned and operated by AEG. Capacity for Chargers games at StubHub Center will be 30,000 seats, with approximately 3,000 premium and field seats, 46 suites, 16 cabanas, and 10,000 on-site parking spaces.
“The experience for our fans at StubHub Center will be fun and entertaining, and every seat will feel close to the action,” said A.G. Spanos, President — Business Operations for the Chargers. “This is a unique opportunity to see NFL action in such an intimate setting. The new stadium at Hollywood Park will be a tremendous stage, and we can’t wait to play there, but right now it’s about introducing ourselves and getting to know new fans and partners in a special, one-of-a-kind setting.”
The fully-refundable $100 deposit allows fans to reserve up to four seats at StubHub Center, ensures priority status for 2017 Chargers season tickets, and grants priority status for seats at the new Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park, the future home of the Chargers.
The Chargers also revealed a new advertising mark borne out of the team’s iconic lightning bolt and historic shield introduced in the 1960’s. This new mark and fresh take on “LA” is part of a larger identity campaign called “Fight for LA” intended to convey the commitment of the Spanos family and entire Chargers organization to earn the respect and loyalty of Los Angeles football fans. The new mark can be found at www.FightforLA.com.
“Our ultimate goal is to bring L.A. a Super Bowl championship,” said John Spanos, President — Football Operations. “When we say we will fight for L.A., this is the essence of our pledge.”
Once the new Rams stadium is completed in Inglewood, the Chargers will share it with the Rams.
Welcome to Los Angeles.
Photos by Claudia Gestro, except Chargers logo
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