Chargers must decide between Inglewood or San Diego
NFL owners voted Tuesday night, Jan. 12, 2016, to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to a new stadium at the site just outside Los Angeles, and the San Diego Chargers will have an option to share the facility. AP
SAN DIEGO (AP/ CBS 8) — The San Diego Chargers face a big decision: take the option to move to the Los Angeles area along with the Rams, or accept an extra $100 million from the NFL and try to repair their badly damaged relations with San Diego in working out a deal for a new stadium.
Team chairman Dean Spanos looked stunned at the decision Tuesday by fellow owners to let the Rams leave St. Louis and build a stadium in Inglewood.
There was a feeling the Chargers would make it to L.A. one way or another, either with the rival Oakland Raiders in a joint stadium they proposed to build in Carson, or with the Rams in Inglewood.
But after a day of negotiations in Houston, owners approved the Rams' move in a 30-2 vote, with a first option for San Diego to share the $1.8 billion stadium Rams owner Stan Kroenke is building in Inglewood.
Spanos said he will spend the next several weeks exploring his options. He described the process as "excruciating, for everyone."
"The goal from the start of this process was to create the options necessary to safeguard the future of the Chargers franchise while respecting the will of my fellow NFL owners," Spanos said in a statement.
The Chargers have time to try to get something done in San Diego, if they choose, although any deal would need approval by the voters in either June or November. That would require reconnecting with a fan base that loudly claimed it felt abandoned by Spanos' scorched-earth tactics, carried out by attorney Mark Fabiani, as the Chargers tried to position themselves to win the race to Los Angeles.
As rough as relations were with City Hall, the Chargers went 4-12 and missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.
The Chargers walked away from negotiations with the city and county in June, instead focusing on that stadium project in Carson.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and County Supervisor Ron Roberts issued a pointed statement Tuesday evening.
"Today NFL owners rejected the Chargers' bid to move to Carson. If Mr. Spanos has a sincere interest in reaching a fair agreement in San Diego, we remain committed to negotiating in good faith. We are not interested in a charade by the Chargers if they continue to pursue Los Angeles."
The Chargers have been trying since 2002 to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium. The long-running stadium saga turned nasty in the last year as Fabiani fiercely opposed Faulconer's proposals to keep the team in San Diego.
The city and county have proposed a $350 million public contribution toward a $1.1 billion stadium. The city-county proposal calls for the Chargers to contribute $353 million with the NFL adding another $200 million in a loan. Naming rights could be credited toward the Chargers' portion.
Finances were never discussed during three brief negotiating sessions between the team and the city and county. Instead, the Chargers raised concerns with a hastily conducted environmental impact statement they felt could get tied up in court.
Faulconer's top political strategist, Jason Cabel Roe, said in October that if the Chargers resume negotiations, they need to come without Fabiani because he has no credibility with elected officials.
Roe reiterated that position Tuesday night.
"If the Chargers' organization decides to re-engage on our stadium proposal, they could demonstrate the sincerity by dumping Fabiani as their negotiator," Roe told The Associated Press.
The Chargers didn't comment on Roe's suggestion.
In a statement Tuesday night, Dean Spanos said:
My goal from the start of this process was to create the options necessary to safeguard the future of the Chargers franchise while respecting the will of my fellow NFL owners. Today we achieved this goal with the compromise reached by NFL ownership. The Chargers have been approved to relocate to Los Angeles, at the Inglewood location, at any time in the next year. In addition, the NFL has granted an additional $100 million in assistance in the event there is a potential solution that can be placed before voters in San Diego. I will be working over the next several weeks to explore the options that we have now created for ourselves to determine the best path forward for the Chargers.
Here is the complete official text of the resolution approved today by NFL owners authorizing the St. Louis Rams to move to Inglewood, and giving the Chargers and then the Raiders the option of also moving:
Whereas, the Oakland Raiders seek approval pursuant to Section 4.3 of the NFL Constitution and Bylaws to relocate the club's home territory from Oakland to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2016 season; and
Whereas, the San Diego Chargers seek approval pursuant to Section 4.3 of the NFL Constitution and Bylaws to relocate the club's home territory from San Diego to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2016 season; and
Whereas, the Raiders and Chargers propose jointly to construct a new, state-of-the-art stadium in Carson, California, which would be shared by the two clubs; and
Whereas, the St. Louis Rams seek approval pursuant to Section 4.3 of the NFL Constitution and Bylaws to relocate the club's home territory from St. Louis to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2016 season; and
Whereas, the Rams propose to construct a new, state-of-the-art stadium in Inglewood, California, at a site known as Hollywood Park, which stadium would be suitable for use by two NFL clubs; and
Whereas, the relocation proposals have been evaluated by the Commissioner per the Policy and Procedures on Proposed Franchise Relocations, and the Commissioner has submitted a report to the membership as contemplated by the Procedures; and
Whereas, multiple league committees have undertaken a comprehensive evaluation of the possible relocation of one or more teams to Los Angeles and the membership has approved terms and conditions that apply to any approved relocation; and
Whereas, the resumption of NFL operations in Los Angeles would serve a wide range of important league interests if done successfully and in accordance with the approved terms and conditions; and
Whereas, given the unique and special circumstances presented, the membership believes that it is appropriate to provide, on a non-precedential basis, additional league financial support for stadium projects in the current home market of any club that sought permission, but was not approved to relocate for the 2016 season.
Be It Resolved that the member clubs hereby approve, subject to the terms and conditions set forth in 2016 Resolution G-1, the following relocation proposal, effective for the 2016 NFL season.
1. That the proposed relocation of the Rams' home territory from St. Louis to Los Angeles and the proposed construction of a new stadium at Hollywood Park are approved, with the new stadium at Hollywood Park to be constructed on a basis that permits two NFL teams to operate on an equal basis with respect to scheduling, access to facilities, and agreed-upon and approved financial terms generally consistent with the options presented to the member clubs on January 12, 2016, and with the member clubs having the right to determine the identity of the second team that will play in the stadium and the time at which it will begin play in the stadium;
2. That the Chargers are approved to relocate the club's home territory from San Diego to Los Angeles and granted an option to accept the second team opportunity at Hollywood Park subject to the following terms:
(A) The option shall expire on January 15, 2017, unless a referendum to approve public financing for a new stadium in San Diego is approved prior to November 15, 2016, in which case the Los Angeles Opportunities Committee may, at the Chargers' request, extend the option up to January 15, 2018. In any year in which the Chargers have the option to relocate and accept the second team opportunity at Hollywood Park, the club must exercise those options no later than the conclusion of the Annual Meeting in that year, or when the option to accept the second team opportunity expires.
(B) If the Chargers unequivocally reject the option or enter into a binding and approved stadium agreement in San Diego or another community prior to the date on which the option would otherwise expire, the option shall expire as of the date that the option is rejected or that the binding agreement is approved by the membership;
3. That the Raiders are granted a conditional option to accept the second team opportunity at Hollywood Park, effective on the day that the option granted to the Chargers expires, and extending for a period of one year or sooner if the Raiders unequivocally reject the option or enter into a binding and approved stadium agreement in Oakland or another community at an earlier date. This option must be exercised no later than the conclusion of the Annual Meeting in any year in which the Raiders have the option to accept the second team opportunity at Hollywood Park.
4. The membership will make available, in addition to any other stadium financing support provided under the G-4 program, an additional $100 million in league financial support to each of the Raiders and Chargers for a new stadium in each of their respective current home markets, provided that a binding stadium agreement is made and approved by the member clubs no later than January 15, 2017, subject to being extended by the Finance and Stadium Committees.
5. The Rams will not engage in the sale of PSLs, premium seats (including luxury suites), stadium naming or cornerstone rights, or the equivalent of any of these products, prior to February 15, 2017, unless (a) a binding and approved agreement has been reached with a second team; or (b) the Finance, Stadium and Los Angeles Opportunities committees have jointly determined to extend the period past February 15, 2017 for up to 90 days; or (c) all options granted by this Resolution shall have expired prior to that date.
6. The Commissioner, in consultation with the Finance and Stadium Committees, shall have authority to interpret and implement this resolution.