The National Football League’s Los Angeles Chargers are eyeing a potential relocation to London, according to league sources cited by The Athletic.
The site reported a potential move from southern California to the United Kingdom has been broached among league personnel, and that discussion of the idea has been fueled by the team’s difficult move thus far to Los Angeles from its prior home in San Diego.
The Chargers are currently committed to move next year into the forthcoming SoFi Stadium with their crosstown NFL colleagues, the Los Angeles Rams. But the Rams, coming off a run to the Super Bowl last season, are much more popular in the market and will be the primary equity partner in the new stadium.
The Chargers, meanwhile, are currently playing in Dignity Health Sports Park, primarily the home for Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy, to by far the lowest attendance in the NFL at just over 25,000 per game, less than half the league average. And those smaller crowds are often populated heavily by fans of the visiting team.
If a move were to happen, The Athletic reported the Chargers would likely play in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which has housed several NFL games this season.
“Some [owners] would be happy,” said a league official to The Athletic about the Chargers. “But all of them [are concerned] about them in LA. So I think they would get [support].”
Chargers owner Dean Spanos told The Athletic the club is still set on moving to SoFi Stadium.
“We are fully committed and focused and Los Angeles and look forward to continuing to build our fanbase as we transition to our new stadium,” Spanos said. “We’re seeing progress every day, and we look forward to building on that.”
While fan interest in the NFL in the UK continues to steadily grow across a variety of measures, permanently placing a franchise there will present a wide array of logistical issues that would need to be addressed including immigration and work visas for team personnel, taxation, and harmonizing game times for US broadcast windows. The Chargers would also have to negotiate an exit from their SoFi Stadium lease with Rams owner Stan Kroenke, something that likely would be quite costly to the Chargers.