The Chargers Are Reportedly Set To Announce Their Move To L.A.
Congratulations, Los Angeles. If a report from ESPN is true, L.A. will be home to two NFL franchises, after a 20 year period in which our fair city had no NFL teams.
A source told the New York Times that team owner Dean Spanos is expected to announce Thursday that the Chargers will be relocating to L.A. for the 2017-2018 season. It should be noted, though, that sources also told ESPN that Spanos has yet to send a formal letter to NFL bigwigs to inform them of the team's relocation, so the deal isn't technically finalized.
As we'd reported before, this has been in the works for some time. Spanos had been looking for a new stadium for his team, but couldn't make it happen in San Diego; for one thing, San Diegan voters rejected a couple of ballot measures in 2016 that would have implemented a hotel tax hike to fund a new facility.
Spanos' other option was to move the team to L.A., where they would be playing at the upcoming Inglewood stadium that's being built for the Rams. This option was struck up in January of 2016 during a meeting between NFL team owners. It was agreed that the Chargers would have until January 15, 2017 to decide if they wanted to move into the new Inglewood stadium with the Rams. If they declined, the option would then fall to the Oakland Raiders (who are reportedly gearing up for a move to Las Vegas).
If the Chargers are indeed coming to L.A., there will be several questions to address. For one thing, the Inglewood stadium won't be completed until 2019, so they'll have to find a temporary home in L.A. to play in. According to another ESPN report, the Chargers are considering either the Memorial Coliseum (where the Rams are housed) or the StubHub Center in Carson (where the L.A. Galaxy play). The StubHub Center, though, is possibly the unlikelier of the picks, as the soccer-specific stadium seats only 27,000 people. This is a pretty paltry number when you consider the fact that the smallest NFL stadium (Oakland's Alameda County Coliseum) can seat at least 55,000.
As for where the Chargers will practice, ESPN reports that the team has leased space in Costa Mesa to establish their headquarters and training facility.
The move to L.A. is actually a homecoming of sorts for the Chargers. In 1960, the team had spent their first season of the American Football League in L.A. as the Los Angeles Chargers (the AFL would merge with the NFL in 1970). The Chargers played at, where else, the Coliseum.