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Chargers Announce They're Moving To Los Angeles

Fans toss their Chargers gear and memorabilia in front of the Chargers Team Headquarters, Jan. 12, 2017.
Susan Murphy
Fans toss their Chargers gear and memorabilia in front of the Chargers Team Headquarters, Jan. 12, 2017.
Chargers Announce They're Moving To Los Angeles
Chargers Announce They're Moving To Los Angeles GUEST:Jay Paris, sports columnist, Mighty 1090

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer says it is a move they will regret. The Chargers make it official they are moving to Los Angeles. This is KPBS Midday Edition . I am Maureen Cavanaugh it is Thursday, January 12. Our top story on KPBS Midday Edition after years of threats planning group's proposals and please charges owner Dean Spanos announced today that the team will be leaving for Los Angeles. The team now brands itself as the LA Chargers and is set to relocate to Inglewood. In a news conference broadcast live on KPBS maven -- Mayor Kevin Faulconer expressed his dissatisfaction with the team and said they will regret the move. What was the general theme of this news conference? That came across very clearly. I think that although people in attendance the mayor the supervisor Elliott Hirschman from San Diego State and the Chamber of Commerce representative all set pretty much the same thing that the city and county and regional leaders have done everything they felt was possible in an effort to get the Chargers to stay in the never felt that the effort was encouraged or enhanced or paid off. What were some of the notable comments? There was an atmosphere of real sadness in that room. Yes I think the Mayor captured it pretty well with the things he had to say specifically about the news. We are going to be fine and the Chargers made the wrong choice. San Diego is a great city and I am certain that they will come to regret this decision. The mayor saying that the Chargers will regret their decision to leave San Diego behind the move to lungs -- Los Angeles. Even talked about a newspaper headline in the Los Angeles market that said we don't want you. He was trying to point out to the Chargers that they were making a bad call. For others in the room this was a very personal moment and it really touched a nerve with him and he said that he hated to see them go. It's a big thing. For so many people -- not even people that go to the stadium but people that watch them on TV. People are tooting their horns and they have their crazy little flags at the window. The County puts up a big banner there is a sense of community and that is what is so disappointing. That was an emotional comment from Rob Robert saying I hate this day. What is next for the city now that the Chargers are gone? The Mayor was optimistic. That was his job to be positive about the future. He said look the coalition that had formed in an effort to keep the Chargers here is a coalition that will continue to move forward. There are some decisions that need to be made about what happens with the welcome stadium site, whether or not it will be redeveloped. He said all those people that got together to try to keep the Chargers here in San Diego will continue to work together to help improve the future of the city. He also gave indication that we may hear more about this tonight in his State of the city address. He said he was going to talk about it but he also talked about the things that he thinks are also important for the city, things like fixing infrastructure, addressing the homeless problem etc. Thank you so much Eric Anderson. Thinks a lot. My pleasure. I spoke with Jay who is a sports columnist for the mighty 1090 and author of game of my life. Here is what he had to say. The writing was on the wall after San Diego voters turned down the stadium proposal last November wasn't it? Pretty much. It was so poorly written and that was just not a consensus behind it. The chances of it passing were not good to start with and this all started a couple years ago when they flirted with moving to Carson and joining up with the Raiders. We cannot say we are blindsided by this but it does not make the pain any less that is for sure. Didn't NFL owners meet New York this week to make a final pitch to get the Chargers to stay in San Diego They met Wednesday and there are also other items on their agenda with the Raiders trying to make the Las Vegas and I think maybe Mr. Spence other -- Spano saw the last effort to bridge this financing gap for the new stadium. The other owners were not interested. To look at San Diego they love San Diego but why are you able to do that like all these other owners. California is a different animal if you will. That was kind of the last ditch attempt to see if he could find some more support in the room and the room said you did not get it done had to LA. This is not a popular move in the league though is it? No because they are leaving a market that is established for almost 6 decades. It is one of the greatest cities in the world. It is an NFL destination city. It is a perfect city who has already three superballs the NFL always talks about growing the pie. That means the international pipe. The Mexican border is right there. All the things that have wanted another cities it had in the city but because the organization was so poorly run and the teams were so bad for so long the fans grew tired of paying top dollar for an and area product. If you are charging $10 for a cup of coffee it better be pretty good cup of coffee. The coffee has been pretty bad over there for quite some time. Los Angeles is not too pleased about the Chargers committee there. They are not. This is the crux of the whole thing. When a team does move the other city is ecstatic and that having parades and confetti we have a team look at us we are big-league. Ali it's a shrug of the shoulders. We talk about Kevin Faulconer how this might hurt the mayor in this city it will hurt him and the other city as well. The city that does not want the team that is getting them and the city that once the team and is losing them they are going to be mad as well. It will be interesting to see how this plans out. It's a crowded landscape in LA but let's be clear here this is a private business. If he feels he's got a better chance of success in LA that is his right. It's also true that the emotional and financial impact of that the charger fans have given this organization for 10 -- six decades the bottom line is you guys weren't good enough later. What was the final thing that made Dean Spano's decide to move? This is really what gets me. Nothing has changed. The appetite for San Diego voters to give money for anything is tough. But to subsidize a $15 billion industry in the NFL is a tough sell. He finally realized that but I think people could have gotten creative. He could've sold part of the team are gone into a partnership with somebody. He could have given somebody an equity stake in the investment to payoff down the line maybe he was not creative enough and you have to remember this gentleman is in the construction business. If he could not figure out a way to get it done and still protect his stake and his business it is kind of baffling. It seems like something could have worked out. It seems like there are things going on all over town with equity firms and partnerships but if you don't want to sell or look at other ways to raise money without fleecing the taxpayers if you will then we have come to this conclusion. The Chargers were just given an extension to make this decision next week if they wanted to yet Dean Spanos decides to make the announcement that the team is leaving the same day Mayor Kevin Faulconer's state of the city address is coming up. Is a final slap to San Diego's mayor? I think through this whole process -- I have been disappointed that every time the city try to offer and all it branch or try to negotiate that whenever some good news with them out or something you can sink your teeth and as and urging the Chargers with County that with a leaked story or statement and it never seemed like they would try to build the momentum. Let's remember the Chargers walked away from the negotiating table for almost half a year. They would not even talk to the city. It does not really surprise me. It's surprising about their strategy. You can go about it in the realm a couple different ways but it always seemed like the strategy in this was to antagonize and to get under people's skin and to threaten them and say here is what we are going to do instead of pain let's get in and do all of this together. The perfect example was in measure C. One city councilperson was on board when that was presented. The mayor was not on board the hotel years were not on board the tax organizations were not onboard. Even to some degree the fans were on board who wanted to go to Mission Valley where everybody likes to go to charger games. Chargers insisted on downtown where the path was much tougher than Mission Valley. Here we are and let's remember the citizens group that put all that working to find a way to make this happen and all indication at all arrows pointed to building it in Mission Valley and the charger said that was not good enough. I have been speaking with Jay Paris sports columnist for mighty 1090 and author of him of my life San Diego Chargers. Thank you. Joining me now Chargers executive who was also an -- a member of Mayor Faulkner's stadium task force. Welcome to the program. I guess so. I hate to be talking to you on a day like this. After all the work you and the task horse put in and I remember talking to you about it now did you ever think it was come to this? I did. When he as the formation of the tax course they announced that they were going to go to Carson and when we announced the findings were making other announcements to do that and my wife wrote an editorial for the UT that basically said let's face it they've got long denies for LA and that's where they want to go in there going to try to get there in some way shape or form and they were shut out last year by their fellow owners and they made every effort at this point in time to continue down that process. Somebody will write a book I'm sure talking about what really transpired in all these meetings. My guess is you are going to find out that there was not a lot that transpired Are you surprised at the antagonistic way that this was done X that's how it's been characterized by some people. When you look at Mike Fabiani that's how it's been all the way. You hire a crisis manager PR guy in charge of crisis management with clients like Lance Armstrong and the wife of the owner of the Dodgers and things like that to all the sudden be a guy building consensus to try to build a stadium. Wrong decision. That is not his skill set. They let it leak out -- it is not surprising.'s neck the NFL apparently it seems would like to have a franchise in San Diego so can we look at this as the first effort to bring another team to San Diego I think as we said it is a $9 million -- 9 million population region between San Diego County Tijuana and the South side of Orange County. For the F -- NFL or anyone to pass on that are be submitted -- dismisses above it is a mistake. San Diego will be the only major league baseball's town without another major leak sport and it. That says something right there. I think the opportunity will be there but in order to do it you have to get leadership develop to play. Thank you so much. Glad to do it. Thank you. There are a number of San Diego fans, perhaps that is an understatement, who are professing real sorrow and anger over the Chargers decision to move. Susan Murphy is here with us. Welcome.'s Thank you for having me. Tell us what you saw today. I saw emotional Chargers fan at headquarters there was a steady flow of people that were dropping off all of their memorabilia. Some people were bringing in wagons full of jerseys, jackets, flags, hat, this pile just grew throughout the morning. Fans were -- there were grown men crying and very emotional. Somewhere angry and shouting thinking that Dean Spanos might be in the building shouting obscenities at such. It's a very hard day. And actual outpouring of all this memorabilia that people had collected for years right in front of -- where was this? This was at the Murphy Canyon team headquarters. Just right there in the driveway in front of the building people would walk up and they would take the jackets off of their backs and throw it down. Some spit on it summer stomping. One person had their dog walk over the pile. Very disheartened fans. Some angry. A lot of emotion here. Did you speak with any of the people who brought this stuff and were so upset? I did and I spoke with some fans that I will share some of those reactions with your. Let me tell you who we are listening to. The first one is Tyler Robinson. He has been a season ticket holder for 17 years. He was very emotional and could not hold back his tears. Peggy Baker another season ticket holder very distraught and finally Daniel Garcia a lifelong fan. Take a listen. I am just heartbroken. I'm a loss for words right now because I am still in shock. I love the Chargers I wish they would've just stayed here. You cannot just blame everything on Spano's it is the city as well. In between sad and really mad that he just discounted the fan base here. I will not buy anything with the new label or the new logo on it. I will cherish my memories. The San Diego Chargers are why I fell in love with the NFL. It hurts. I have San Diego chargers tattooed on my arm. I've been watching games since I was eight years old and still remember the Super Bowl. For him to do that is just wrong. Everything that has San Diego Chargers on I just threw it away. It is like a breakup. Fans are angry. Some told me that they will no longer consider themselves Chargers fans. I actually heard a person that you said earlier tried to set fire to his jacket. Is that right? There was one person who did light his jacket on fire and it kind of smoldered out. Another man came up and let a newspaper that was a full display of Chargers -- one of the playoffs headlines. He lit the newspaper -- was going to and then the police warned him there will be action taken I warn you not to do this. There were more and more police who came on site to keep things under control but definitely a very emotional day for fans. Thank you for bringing that to us. I have been speaking with Susan Murphy. Thank you. It has been a hard pill for some we will have more on the Chargers decision to leave later in the show.

Chargers Announce They’re Moving To Los Angeles
The San Diego Chargers are moving to Los Angeles, where they will join the recently relocated Rams in giving the nation's second-largest media market two NFL teams for the first time in decades.

As angry fans gathered outside to say goodbye to the franchise they've loved for decades, Chargers chairman Dean Spanos announced to his employees that the team is moving to Los Angeles, where it will join the recently relocated Rams to give the nation's second-largest media market two NFL teams for the first time since 1994.

Spanos told his employees Thursday morning that the team will relocate for the 2017 season. The team posted a letter Thursday on its Twitter account, which was rebranded as the Los Angeles Chargers.

Chargers Announce They're Moving To Los Angeles

"San Diego has been our home for 56 years. It will always be part of our identity, and my family and I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the support and passion our fans have shared with us over the years. But today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers," Spanos said in the letter.

LETTER FROM DEAN SPANOS:

After much deliberation, I have made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2017 NFL season.

San Diego has been our home for 56 years. It will always be part of our identity, and my family and I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the support and passion our fans have shared with us over the years.

But today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers.

LA is a remarkable place, and while we played our first season there in 1960 and have had fans there ever since, our entire organization knows that we have a tremendous amount of work to do. We must earn the respect and support of LA football fans. We must get back to winning. And, we must make a meaningful contribution, not just on the field, but off the field as a leader and champion for the community.

The Chargers are determined to fight for LA and we are excited to get started.

Dean
The team has already introduced
a new Twitter account.
The Los Angeles Chargers Twitter account homepage, Jan. 12, 2017.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers Twitter account homepage, Jan. 12, 2017.

The San Diego Padres shared the team's thoughts on the move in this tweet:

The move had been in the works for years, as a long, bitter saga failed to result in a new stadium to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium.

The San Diego Chargers play against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Nov. 16, 2014.
Associated Press
The San Diego Chargers play against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Nov. 16, 2014.

Still, the final blow was hard for some fans to take. While they supported the team itself, many are angry at Spanos for his scorched-earth tactics the last two years.

As Spanos was driven to the airport to fly to Los Angeles to meet with civic officials, fan Chuck Homenick got close to the SUV and yelled an obscenity.

"Pretty horrible. Born and raised here in San Diego and been going to these games, and just can't believe they're leaving," Homenick said. "I knew the decision was coming up soon and I was hoping they were going to stay. Business decision, but when it comes to fan support and loyalty, they're not going to have much support, fans."

Joseph MacRae held a sign that read, "Alex Spanos would never leave SD! You failed us Dean." Chargers owner Alex Spanos turned over control to son Dean years ago.

"It's really a dark day in San Diego sports history," said MacRae, 30, who wore a Chargers jacket. He said he'd been going to Chargers games since he was 7. "That's what it was all about, September through December, football on Sundays."

The Chargers are leaving behind a loyal fan base that cheered for Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner and Kellen Winslow during the Air Coryell years in the 1970s and early 1980s; for Junior Seau, Stan Humphries and Natrone Means on the Chargers' only Super Bowl team in 1994; and in recent seasons, Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates.

The Chargers' decision to move comes less than three months after San Diego voters resoundingly rejected team-sponsored Measure C asking for $1.15 billion in increased hotel occupancy taxes to help fund a $1.8 billion downtown stadium and convention center.

The Chargers privately admitted they believed Measure C wouldn't pass. Spanos had spent 2015 trying to get approval for a stadium in Carson near Los Angeles that the Chargers would share with the rival Oakland Raiders. That plan was voted down by fellow owners, but the Chargers were then granted the option to move to LA.

"For more than a decade, the San Diego Chargers have worked diligently toward finding a local stadium solution, which all sides agreed was required," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement Thursday, pointing out that the Chargers delayed exercising the option to move to LA that was granted a year ago. "The Chargers worked tirelessly this past year with local officials and community leaders on a ballot initiative that fell short on election day. That work — and the years of effort that preceded it — reflects our strongly held belief we always should do everything we can to keep a franchise in its community. That's why we have a deliberate and thoughtful process for making these decisions.

"Relocation is painful for teams and communities. It is especially painful for fans, and the fans in San Diego have given the Chargers strong and loyal support for more than 50 years, which makes it even more disappointing that we could not solve the stadium issue. As difficult as the news is for Charger fans, I know Dean Spanos and his family did everything they could to try to find a viable solution in San Diego."

However, the Chargers didn't work with City Hall and the city's powerful tourism industry in writing Measure C. Mayor Kevin Faulconer endorsed the measure a month before election day, only after Spanos agreed to certain conditions that weren't legally binding.

The Chargers will become a tenant in the stadium being built in Inglewood for the Rams. Before then, the Chargers will make their temporary home at the 27,000-seat StubHub Center in Carson.

Relations have been strained for years between the Chargers, who've sought a big public subsidy to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium, and City Hall, which has been beset by scandals and various economic crises.

Faulconer formed a task force in 2015 to try to find a stadium solution, but the Chargers didn't like its recommendation and walked away from negotiations with the city and county. Faulconer recently met with Spanos, and helped cobble together a $375 million package from the city, county and San Diego State, which also plays football at Qualcomm Stadium.

Lifelong Chargers fan Daniel Garcia displays his Chargers tattoos on Jan. 12, 2017
Susan Murphy
Lifelong Chargers fan Daniel Garcia displays his Chargers tattoos on Jan. 12, 2017
Mercury Hornbeek and "Turi" at Chargers HQ on Jan. 12, 2017
Susan Murphy
Mercury Hornbeek and "Turi" at Chargers HQ on Jan. 12, 2017
Madra Dog donning a Chargers jersey and the mask from Edvard Munch’s “Scream” in Del Cerro, Jan. 13, 2017.
KPBS Staff
Madra Dog donning a Chargers jersey and the mask from Edvard Munch’s “Scream” in Del Cerro, Jan. 13, 2017.
Chargers fans donated unwanted jerseys and clothing to the Alpha project at Valley View Casino to help the homeless, Jan. 13, 2017.
Steve Walsh
Chargers fans donated unwanted jerseys and clothing to the Alpha project at Valley View Casino to help the homeless, Jan. 13, 2017.

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