Dean Spanos, owner of NFL American football team the San Diego Chargers, has decided to move the franchise to Los Angeles, according to multiple reports.
Spanos (pictured) will reportedly brief Chargers staff of his decision later today (Thursday), with the team set to join rival franchise the Rams in Los Angeles. NFL.com, citing several sources informed of the team’s plans, said Spanos told NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, other league officials and a few fellow owners of his intentions following committee meetings held yesterday (Wednesday).
The move would take place for the 2017 season and return the Chargers to the market in which it played its inaugural campaign in 1960 before moving to San Diego the year after. Earlier on Wednesday, the NFL extended the Chargers’ deadline to take up the option to join the Rams in Los Angeles from January 15 to January 17.
However, Spanos has yet to file a formal relocation letter or inform city officials in either San Diego or Los Angeles. NFL.com said a move would give the Chargers a deadline of May 1 to terminate its lease with Qualcomm Stadium and with its training facility. This would involve a $12m (€11.5m) termination fee payable to the city of San Diego.
The Chargers last month took a step closer to a potential relocation to Los Angeles after fellow franchise owners unanimously approved the move. In January 2016, the Chargers signed a preliminary tenant-lease contract with the Los Angeles Rams to share a new stadium that is being developed in the Inglewood area of the city.
The team has been seeking to develop a new stadium in San Diego to replace its existing Qualcomm Stadium, with initial plans setting out a project worth $1.8bn. However, in November city voters overwhelmingly rejected a funding package measure, which included a proposal to increase hotel taxes from 12.5 per cent to 16.5 per cent in order to secure $1.15bn in bonds to help finance the development.
Should the Los Angeles move go ahead, the Chargers would need to identify a temporary home while the Inglewood stadium is being built. The Rams relocated to Los Angeles ahead of the ongoing 2016 season and will play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum until the new venue opens in 2019.
ESPN.com added that a news conference to announce the Chargers’ move is tentatively scheduled for next Wednesday in Los Angeles.