NFL’S Charg­ers leav­ing San Diego for Los An­ge­les

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - SPORTS - Bernie Wil­son

san diego — 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.

Team chair­man dean spanos made the an­nounce­ment that the Charg­ers will re­lo­cate to l.a. for the 2017 sea­son in a let­ter posted Thurs­day on the Charg­ers’ Twit­ter ac­count, which was re­branded as the los an­ge­les Charg­ers.

“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.

The Charg­ers’ de­ci­sion to move comes less than three months af­ter san diego vot­ers re­sound­ingly re­jected a team-spon­sored mea­sure ask­ing for $1.15 bil­lion in in­creased ho­tel oc­cu­pancy taxes to help fund a $1.8 bil­lion down­town sta­dium and con­ven­tion cen­tre.

They’re 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, and for Ju­nior seau, stan humphries and na­trone Means on the Charg­ers’ only su­per Bowl team in 1994.

“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 l.a. 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.”

san diego would 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.

“The ex­pe­ri­ence for our fans at stubhub Cen­ter will be fun and en­ter­tain­ing, and ev­ery seat will feel close to the ac­tion,” said a.g. spanos, pres­i­dent of busi­ness op­er­a­tions for the Charg­ers. “This is a unique op­por­tu­nity to see nfl ac­tion in such an in­ti­mate set­ting.”

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.

Mayor Kevin 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.

san diego was given the op­tion to move to l.a. af­ter nfl own­ers re­jected a pro­posed shared sta­dium for the Charg­ers and the Oak­land raiders in Car­son, and ac­cepted the rams’ plans for in­gle­wood. The own­ers gave the Charg­ers and raiders each an ad­di­tional $100 mil­lion to try to make sta­dium deals in their home mar­kets.

The nfl’s sta­dium and fi­nance com­mit­tees met Wed­nes­day for about three-and-a-half hours to dis­cuss relocation of the Charg­ers and raiders. The fact-find­ing meet­ings mostly cen­tred on the raiders’ plan for a po­ten­tial move to las Ve­gas. no fil­ings for relocation were made; Oak­land has un­til Feb. 15.

De­nis POROY/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Former San Diego Charg­ers fans throw down Charg­ers jer­seys in front of Charg­ers head­quar­ters af­ter the team an­nounced Thurs­day that it will move to Los An­ge­les.

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