The San Diego Chargers and Los Angeles Rams have agreed in principle to a deal that will make them stadium partners in Los Angeles.
The question now is, will the Chargers ever call Los Angeles home?
We know for sure it won’t be in 2016. Chargers owner Dean Spanos announced Friday afternoon will now turn their attention on working out a long-term stadium deal in San Diego.
In essence, the Chargers will use their guaranteed spot in Los Angeles to leverage a stadium deal in San Diego, where they have spent the last 14 years unsuccessfully trying to secure a long-range home.
“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 a statement.”I have met with Mayor Faulconer and Supervisor 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.
“Everyone on both sides of the table in San Diego must now determine the best next steps and how to deploy the additional resources provided by the NFL.
“I am committed to looking at this with a fresh perspective and new sense of possibility.”
Rams owner Stan Kroenke issued a statement late Friday:
“The Los Angeles Rams have reached an agreement with the San Diego Chargers to join us in the new Inglewood Stadium, if they choose to exercise their option to relocate within the next year. We look forward to partnering with the Chargers in Inglewood, but the decision of course is Dean’s to make.”
In essence, the ball is in San Diego’s court.
The Chargers spot in Los Angeles was guaranteed two weeks ago in Houston when National Football League owners approved the Rams relocation to L.A. with the option of the Chargers or Raiders joining them at some point over the next three years.
It was a blow to Spanos and the Chargers, who had spent the previous 12 months building a case for their joint Carson stadium project with the Raiders. But at the very least, it created a certain L.A. landing spot for them.
Leaving Houston, their options were clear: Take the offer to join the Rams in Los Angeles in time for 2016 or use a deal as an incentive to spur San Diego leaders into real action on a new stadium.
There were risks in either option.
By going to L.A. immediately, they’d open San Diego as a potential landing spot for the Raiders while also being the decided second team in L.A. to the Rams, who played in L.A. from 1946 to 1994.
On the other hand, by spending the next 12 months working with San Diego on a new stadium – only to come up empty handed – they would have lost considerable marketing ground to the Rams in Los Angeles.
Obviously Spanos spent the two weeks since Houston weighing those options and risks.
On Friday, he played his hand by giving San Diego one more chance to work with him on a new home.
That means the Raiders will wait to find out there long-range future.
And it means the NFL watching closely
“We are very supportive of the decision by Dean Spanos to continue his efforts in San Diego and work with local leaders to develop a permanent stadium solution,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. NFL ownership has committed $300 million to assist in the cost of building a new stadium in San Diego. I have pledged the league’s full support in helping Dean to fulfill his goal.”