The San Diego Chargers have become the first team to officially seek relocation to Los Angeles.
The Chargers filed for relocation to Los Angeles on Monday night. The team announced the action on their website with owner Dean Spanos offering an explanation for the team’s course of action.
“I just want to say that this has been probably the single most difficult decision I’ve ever made, that our family has ever made in business,” Spanos said. “I promise you it wasn’t an easy decision to come to but I’ve lived here 31 years of my life. That’s almost half my life. I have all my friends here. I have a lot of great memories, not just with the football team but the rest of my life and how it all played out here. So it was very difficult to come to this decision but it’s been 14 years that we’ve been working very hard to try to get something done here. We’ve had nine different proposals that we’ve made that all of were basically rejected by the city. Over 25 percent of our business comes from Riverside County, Orange County and the Los Angeles County area. And another team or teams going in that area would have a huge impact on that. I think that’s what really was the catalyst that got this whole thing going because when the Rams decided to make their move there, this was a move to protect our business more than anything. And so we find ourselves where we do right now.”
“I’ve said all along and I still say this, we have never wanted to leave,” he continued. “Why would you want to leave San Diego? It’s a great city with great people and surely this decision to file has had nothing to do with the fans. The fans have been great. They’ve been supportive. It’s really been the inability of the city at the political level to get any kind of public funding or any kind of a vote to have subsidize a stadium. This current process that’s proposed by the mayor, it just runs past the time frames where you need to have an answer and it really puts the burden on the team if you’re not successful in having a positive vote, it’s not because you didn’t try but at the end of the day there may be, and probably most likely would not be, an alternative for the team.”
Ultimately, the decision to move doesn’t lie with Spanos and the Chargers, but the collective whims of the league’s 32 owners.
“There’s no certainty on anything,” Spanos said. “This is a very fluid situation. You read all this stuff in the paper and everybody is tallying votes, but nobody knows for sure. But as we’ve said all along, whatever the decision of the owners is, we’ll abide by.”
So what happened if the Chargers don’t move to Los Angeles?
“We’re back here and we’re going to be here for the next year for sure,” Spanos said. “We’ll look at all the possibilities are, obviously, with the city and see what our alternatives could be.”