Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chargers evaluating move to Los Angeles

The Chargers have needed a new stadium for years and are exploring the possibilities of moving to Los Angeles while working on options in San Diego.
The Chargers have needed a new stadium for years and are exploring the possibilities of moving to Los Angeles while working....

The San Diego Chargers might be a thing of the past sooner rather than later. On Monday, the franchise told the city it would be keeping tabs on the 80,000-seat stadium being built in Los Angeles, considering the immense trouble the team has dealt with while trying to get a new venue in San Diego, per Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles stadium - technically at Hollywood Park - is being constructed by a group including St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The Chargers do not want to be beaten to the market by the Rams, who are heavily rumored to be leaving St. Louis for their former city of Los Angeles over the next few years:

    "We are keeping a close eye on the developments in L.A.," Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani told San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's newly formed stadium advisory group in a six-page document. "We do not have a choice but to also monitor and evaluate our options there. Simply put, it would be irresponsible for the Chargers not to be taking every possible step to protect the future of the franchise."

San Diego has put together another task force in hopes of building a stadium to keep the Chargers, a process which has been going on since 2002. Qualcomm Stadium is outdated, hosting the team since it was built in 1967. The building was renamed Jack Murphy Stadium in 1980 before becoming Qualcomm in 1997.

Fabiani stated the team has a responsibility to act quickly should the Los Angeles market come into imminent question. The current task force is hoping to find a site and come up with a financing plan that would be voted on in Nov. 2016.

    "It would not be fair to the Chargers — a team that has worked for 14 years to find a stadium solution in San Diego County — to allow other teams that themselves abandoned the L.A. market to now return and gut that Chargers' local revenue stream," wrote Fabiani, who met Monday with the mayor's nine-member task force.

Fabiani is referring to the Oakland Raiders and Rams, both teams that bolted the Los Angeles market to head elsewhere. Ironically enough, the Chargers began in Los Angeles as a charter member of the American Football League before relocating to San Diego prior to the 1961 campaign.

Adam Day, chairman of the advisory group, continues to look for an answer. One of the main sticking points remains finances, with the group believing a stadium can be constructed for $700 million while the Chargers believe a range of $1.2 to $1.4 billion is more realistic.

    "We think that we can find a solution that works for everybody that's fair," Day said. "Our objective is to come forward with something that settles this once and for all. Obviously, it's something the voters need to support. If there's not a solution out there that the voters can support, you're not going to find us recommending it."