Chargers owner Dean Spanos has issued a statement announcing that his franchise will remain in San Diego for the 2016 season, rather than immediately joining the Rams in Los Angeles. The Chargers will have until January 15, 2017 to move to L.A. if they so choose, but Spanos intends to work with the city of San Diego to try to come up with a long-term stadium solution to avoid relocation.
“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,” Spanos said in his statement. “I have met with Mayor [Kevin] Faulconer and Supervisor [Ron] 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.”
As he alludes to in his remarks, Spanos’ announcement comes on the heels of the Rams and Chargers agreeing in principle to a deal that would see the team sharing a stadium in Inglewood. If the Chargers ultimately decide that the situation in San Diego is untenable, the team will still have the opportunity to team up with Stan Kroenke and the Rams in Los Angeles.
For now though, the Chargers remain focused on San Diego, and the club’s agreement in principle with the Rams could help improve its leverage for stadium talks with Mayor Faulconer and other San Diego leaders. The proposal put forth by the city a month ago was deemed unsatisfactory by the NFL when it gave the Chargers approval to relocate.
Although the Chargers will have most of the year to attempt to work with San Diego to come up with an improved stadium plan, the team thinks it might know within the next two or three months if a solution will be doable, tweets Jim Trotter of ESPN.com.
As commissioner Roger Goodell notes in a statement issued today (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today), the NFL has committed an extra $100MM – on top of its usual $200MM – to help the Chargers get something done in San Diego. That extra money, along with the team’s Inglewood agreement, could help grease the wheels as the two sides resume negotiations.
Spanos’ decision leaves the Raiders in limbo for now. Mark Davis‘ team will have the opportunity to follow the Rams in Los Angeles if the Chargers ultimately remain in San Diego, but because the Chargers’ final decision isn’t due until at least 2017, L.A. and San Diego both remain off the table as relocation options for the Raiders for the time being.
As they wait to see where the Chargers land, Davis and the Raiders figure to explore other cities, including San Antonio and Las Vegas, though it seems likely that the club will play in Oakland for at least the 2016 season.
As for the Rams, Kroenke is likely pleased to have the market to himself for the 2016 season, giving him a head-start on any other team that may eventually join him in Inglewood. The one downside for Kroenke is that the Rams reportedly can’t begin selling suites or personal seat licenses until at least February 2017 without a second team joining them in L.A.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.