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Chargers Officially File To Relocate To L.A.; So Do Raiders, Rams

Credit: Gregory Bull / Associated Press

Mark Fabiani, right, the lawyer who is leading the San Diego Chargers' efforts to move to Los Angeles, speaks during a hearing at the Spreckels Theatre hosted by the NFL to gather comments from football fans on the possible relocation of the team, Oct. 28, 2015. Jay Bauman, an NFL representative, looks on at left.

Aired 1/5/16 on KPBS News.

The San Diego Chargers have made their home in San Diego since 1961, but Monday night the team released a statement saying the Bolts have officially filed to move to Los Angeles.

The San Diego Chargers have made their home in San Diego since 1961, but Monday night the team released a statement saying the Bolts have officially filed to move to Los Angeles.

The St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders, as expected, also filed to relocate. Monday was the first day the National Football league began taking applications from teams that want to move.

Here's how the Chargers explained their decision:

"We have tried for more than 14 years, through nine separate proposals and seven different mayors, to create a world-class stadium experience for fans in San Diego. Despite these efforts, there is still no certain, actionable solution to the stadium problem. We are sad to have reached this point.

"What happens next is in the hands of the NFL’s owners, who will meet in Houston on January 12-13. The Chargers have pledged from the outset to respect whatever decision the League ownership makes."

San Diego city officials last week gave the NFL their final pitch to keep the Chargers in San Diego. At the center of that proposal backed by Mayor Kevin Faulconer is a new $1.1 billion stadium in Mission Valley funded with $350 million of public money.

Faulconer reacted to the Chargers' decision with a statement issued on Twitter:

"San Diego developed a fair stadium proposal and a plan to hold a special election by the NFL's deadline, but the Chargers' owner walked away from the table. The more San Diego has done the less engaged the Chargers have become. San Diegans deserve better.

"This announcement isn't a surprise, but it's still disappointing for generations of San Diego Chargers fans. Our city is the rightful home to the Bolts. We believe the viable stadium plan we've presented to the NFL should be cause for keeping the Chargers in their hometown."

The NFL reportedly set the relocation fee for each team at $550 million — more than a third of the Chargers' $1.53 billion value, according to an estimate by Forbes made in September. No team would have to pay the fee if its application is rejected.

Jim Lackritz, founder of San Diego State University's sports MBA program, said while the fee was steep, it would still not deter any of the three teams from relocating.

"You can look at it either from the value for the franchise, or you could look at it from a cash return for what they should be able to generate in additional revenues from a Los Angeles market," Lackritz said. Either way, the investment would likely pay off.

The Raiders and Chargers are planning a new stadium in the L.A. suburb of Carson, while the Rams are planning a stadium in nearby Inglewood. The Rams have said they are also open to sharing their stadium with another team.

Seventeen NFL team owners representing the finance, stadium and L.A. committees are hearing detailed pitches on the Carson and Inglewood stadium projects at the NFL headquarters in New York this week. The L.A. committee may choose to make a recommendation on which project should go forward — and that could influence how the full meeting of owners votes next week.

The Raiders issued a brief statement Monday night on their plan to move:

"In accordance with the relocation policies, the Oakland Raiders submitted a relocation package to the NFL. The matter is now in the hands of the NFL’s owners. An owners’ meeting is scheduled to take place in Houston, Texas on January 12 and 13, 2016."

The statement from the Rams on their relocation filing was two sentences and took no shots at St. Louis and Missouri officials who are trying to keep the team there. It said:

“The St. Louis Rams informed the National Football League today that the Rams propose to relocate to the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. The relocation would be effective for the 2016 NFL League Year.”

NFL team owners are expected to vote on which team, or teams, will be allowed to move to the L.A. market at next week's meeting in Houston. The Chargers would need a "yes" from at least 24 of the 32 owners to be allowed to move — a supermajority that insiders have said remains elusive for all three teams.

Former NFL and Chargers executive Jim Steeg said efforts by San Diego civic officials to keep the Chargers were not in vain, and that the city had to show the NFL it was willing to fight for its team.

"I think there's always hope until that point in time (where) there is no more hope," Steeg said. "This is a decision, again, by 32 individuals."

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