The Chargers remain the team regarded in league circles as most likely to move to Los Angeles. San Diego’s new mayor has the ability to change that perception.
The question is will he?
Elected Tuesday, Democrat Bob Filner has made it clear that there will be no sweetheart deals. As Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today points out, Filner has said he’ll be “the toughest negotiator the Chargers have ever faced.” (Given what they paid David Boston, that’s a high bar.)
Filner’s campaign website contained statements like “our city has been held ransom by our sports teams, a fact we cannot forget,” that “the only deal” he’d make “is one that will give something back to the city and its taxpayers,” and that a deal could include “partial ownership of the team” and “greater involvement and support of our public schools.”
There’s no way partial ownership will happen, given league rules.
Still, Filner can talk tough. But the Chargers ultimately can vote with their feet.
For now, the team that moved from L.A. to San Diego in 1961 remains hopeful. “We look forward to working with Mr. Filner,” Chargers stadium wrangler Mark Fabiani told USA Today. “We have mutual allies in the labor community, and our proposed project would create thousands of jobs and major construction in three separate sections of the city, so we hope to be able to find common ground here.”
If they can’t find common ground, the Chargers will be the team for which AEG or someone else is breaking ground in Los Angeles.