Rams To Move To L.A.; Chargers May Join Them
Chargers, Raiders, Rams Owners Pitch L.A. Projects To NFL Colleagues
UPDATE: 8:30 p.m., Jan. 12, 2016
After a day of meetings in Houston, a deal was struck Tuesday among the NFL’s 32 owners to let the St. Louis Rams move to Inglewood — and the San Diego Chargers will be given an option to join them, according to NFL.com. The vote was 30-2.
The Chargers had wanted to build a stadium in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson and share it with their rivals, the Oakland Raiders. But the team’s president and CEO, Dean Spanos, wasn’t able to get the two-thirds vote needed from his fellow owners to make that move possible.
For San Diego, that means the Chargers, which have called San Diego home since 1961, will likely be leaving.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer has pushed since last year to get the team to negotiate on a proposed $1.1 billion stadium at the city-owned Qualcomm Stadium site. Spanos has rebuffed those efforts, saying it’s tied to a public vote and has too many other variables to make it viable.
The vote by the NFL owners gives the Chargers one year to negotiate with the Rams for joint use of the $1.8 billion stadium that Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to build in Inglewood. If they don’t reach a deal, the Raiders could negotiate with Kroenke for a joint-use agreement.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday night that the league would give $100 million each to the Chargers and Raiders if they stay put, “which would be our hope.”
Here's the statement from Spanos about what unfolded in Houston:
"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."
Faulconer and San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Roberts plan to hold a news conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday to talk about the NFL vote and the next steps. In the meantime, they issued a joint statement:
"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."
San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman represents Mission Valley, where the aging Qualcomm Stadium sits. It opened in 1967. Here's his statement:
"The San Diego Chargers are an important part of our cultural fabric. If the organization is willing, the door has always been open to come back to the table."
UPDATED: 2:15 p.m., Jan. 12, 2016, from the Associated Press in Houston:
A person with knowledge of the vote says an NFL committee exploring moving teams to Los Angeles has recommended the combined stadium proposal involving Oakland and San Diego over St. Louis owner Stan Kroenke's ambitious plan for another venue.
League owners meeting Tuesday in Houston will use that nonbinding recommendation as they consider whether to end a two-decade hiatus in the nation's second-largest media market. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the NFL hasn't announced the committee's vote, first reported by Sports Business Daily.
The Raiders and Chargers have agreed to share a stadium in Carson, while Kroenke wants to build a $1.8 billion showplace in Inglewood, closer to downtown L.A.
No NFL franchise has moved since the Houston Oilers went to Tennessee in 1997. The Raiders and Rams both left Los Angeles after the 1994 season. The Rams had been in the L.A. area since 1946.
Original post from City News Service:
The owners of the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams Tuesday made final pitches on their proposed Los Angeles-area stadium projects to their National Football League colleagues, who could decide at a meeting in Houston which among them get to move away from their current city.
Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos, Raiders owner Mark Davis and Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke out on behalf of their shared stadium proposal in Carson.
"Dean Spanos, Marc Davis and I spoke of our passion in bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles, talked about the wonderful attributes of the Carson project, and spoke from our hearts," Iger told Chargers.com. "I think our comments resonated."
He said Carson's central location in Southern California was one of the major benefits over the plan by Rams owner Stan Kroenke to build a stadium in Inglewood, on the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack.
Spanos has wanted a replacement for San Diego's aging Qualcomm Stadium for around 15 years, a quest stymied thus far by the city's fiscal problems of a decade ago, the recession and difficulty in finding a suitable site.
When Kroenke about a year ago proposed building the Inglewood stadium, the Chargers and Raiders responded by announcing plans to construct the Carson facility. The Chargers, who have played in San Diego for 55 years, contend that 25 percent of their business comes from Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.
It remains unclear whether any decisions made by the owners this week will be final, and speculation has swirled regarding various scenarios. The owners began arriving at their hotel Monday amid reports that a consensus was developing within the league for the Chargers and St. Louis Rams to share the Inglewood stadium — not the arrangement Chargers management has been pushing.
A committee of six owners studying how to relocate a team to Los Angeles voted 5-1 in favor the Carson project, according to KPBS media partner 10News.
Spanos has stood by his partnership with Davis. He rejected a partnership with Kroenke in a letter to Goodell last month, and reiterated his support for the Carson project.
League officials and owners who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Los Angeles Times that Spanos doesn't want to be seen as turning his back on a partner, making the path to what had been emerging as the preferred pairing more difficult.
It has long been believed that while neither the Inglewood nor Carson projects had the 24 votes needed for approval by the NFL owners, league officials are committed to a return to Los Angeles this year. That situation led to recent talks among the owners and league executives to establish a consensus in time for the Houston meeting.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer established a task force that has recommended building a new facility next to Qualcomm Stadium, but the Chargers broke off negotiations on the proposal lastJune. The team's refusal to restart talks prevented what could have been a citywide vote on the proposal this month.
On Saturday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell distributed a report to owners that said plans by San Diego, Oakland and St. Louis are "unsatisfactory and inadequate." Among other things, the league objects to uncertainty created by San Diego's demand that plans for a stadium project be put before voters — something the Chargers once supported.
Chris Melvin, an attorney and lead negotiator for the city and county of San Diego, said Sunday that the Chargers created their own uncertainty.
"We could have already gained voter approval of a stadium under the plan laid out this summer by the city and county," Melvin said. "But the Chargers stonewalled, rebuffed attempts to negotiate a term sheet, and refused to act. Despite all this, San Diego has proven that it's a region that supports its major league teams."
As the owners deliberated how to facilitate a move to Los Angeles, a handful of Raiders fans gathered outside their hotel in Houston — along with one Chargers fan who traveled from La Jolla.
Richard Farley told 10News it would hurt if the Chargers were given the go-ahead to move after a 55-year stay in San Diego.
"It would be like a shot to the heart," Farley said. "As far as going up to Carson, I would probably stop being a fan. It just would not be the same."