The NFL announced today that the San Diego Chargers are moving to Los Angeles starting in the 2017 season. They will join the recently relocated Rams in giving the nation’s second-largest media market two NFL teams for the first time in decades.
Team chairman Dean Spanos made the announcement Thursday in a letter posted on the Chargers’ Twitter account.
“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,” Spanos said in the letter.
The Chargers’ decision to move comes less than three months after San Diego voters resoundingly rejected a team-sponsored measure asking for $1.15 billion in increased hotel occupancy taxes to help fund a $1.8 billion downtown stadium and convention center.
Relations have been strained for years between the Chargers, who’ve sought a big public subsidy to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium, and City Hall, which has been beset by scandals and various economic crises.
San Diego could become a tenant in the stadium being built in Inglewood for the Rams if the Chargers exercise that option. If not, the Oakland Raiders would have the option to join the Rams in the L.A. area, though Raiders owner Mark Davis has indicated his intention to seek a move to Las Vegas.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement today:
“For more than a decade, the San Diego Chargers have worked diligently toward finding a local stadium solution, which all sides agreed was required. These efforts took on added intensity in the last two years. A year ago, NFL owners granted the Chargers an option to move to Los Angeles. Rather than immediately exercising that option, the team spent the past year continuing to work on finding a stadium solution in San Diego.
The Chargers worked tirelessly this past year with local officials and community leaders on a ballot initiative that fell short on election day. That work – and the years of effort that preceded it – reflects our strongly held belief we always should do everything we can to keep a franchise in its community. That’s why we have a deliberate and thoughtful process for making these decisions.”
The Chargers would have to find a temporary home in L.A., either the Coliseum or the 27,000-seat StubHub! Center in Carson.