With Los Angeles moving closer to building an NFL stadium, one of the NFL teams most commonly tied to L.A. is the closest — the San Diego Chargers. Indeed, there’s some talk that the Chargers could move from Qualcomm Stadium to a temporary location (like the Rose Bowl) as soon as next year.
Team counsel Marc Fabiani says that’s highly unlikely.
“I think the downtown L.A. project is years away,” Fabiani said Thursday, per ESPNLosAngeles.com. “I think it would be a miracle like the loaves and the fishes if they could Error: Break shortcode syntax invalid.”
The Chargers have a three-month window every year, from February 1 through May 1, to break their lease with the payment of a fee that reduces every year. In 2012, the numbers drops to $24 million.
And so the Chargers subtly are straddling the fence, never stating unequivocally that the team won’t move to L.A. but holding L.A. at bay while attempting to get a new stadium built in San Diego.
“The downtown L.A. project still needs a final agreement with the city,” Fabiani said. “What they have now is a non-binding agreement and the devil is in the details with these things, so they first need a binding contract. Second, they need to finish their environmental impact report and get it certified by the city. Third, they need to be able to survive the lawsuits, and they’re not going to get an exemption like Ed Roski got. Fourth, they need an agreement with the NFL on a relocation fee because that is going to be a huge number. And fifth, they need to have a deal with a team. If you don’t have every one of those things you’re not going to start digging in the ground.”
For now, Fabiani is saying only that the Chargers wouldn’t leave next year unless AEG can break ground on a stadium, and Fabiani used his New Testament metaphor to illustrate his belief that it won’t happen next year. As to the next year, getting the Chargers to Los Angeles could be a lot easier than getting a camel through the eye of a needle.
Fabiani also hinted that the Chargers have been wooed by the group that has a stadium project ready to go in the City of Industry. “Ed Roski is a billionaire and one of the most respected people in Los Angeles and one of the most respected developers in the country,” Fabiani said. “He’s had a shovel-ready project for over two years. He’s got support from the city and money from the city. He has his EIR done and he’s got the exemption from the lawsuits. He has everything and he hasn’t turned over a single shovel full of dirt because he doesn’t have a team, and it’s not from a lack of trying.”
In the end, it’s all about leverage. The question of whether the Chargers “want” to play in San Diego or Los Angeles doesn’t matter. The Chargers “want” the best deal, and the best way to get it is to flirt with as many Mary Magdalenes as possible.