Chargers hint strongly at litigation to keep Rams out of L.A.

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Last Monday, Rams owner Stan Kroenke broke years of silence regarding the future of his franchise by saying that he’ll be building a stadium in L.A.  Which means he’ll be moving the Rams there.  If he can.

The Chargers believe Kroenke shouldn’t be allowed to move the Rams to L.A.  They haven’t reiterated that position publicly since last Monday, but someone from the organization has said so privately.

“The Rams voluntarily left the Los Angeles and Orange County markets, and some owners may question whether they deserve to return — especially if it means that the stadium situations of the two California teams remain unresolved,” an unnamed team official told Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal.

That won’t matter if Kroenke eventually can get 24 total votes supporting a move.  Or whether he decides to defy his partners and move without the NFL’s blessing, sparking a potential legal challenge to the obvious antitrust implications that arise when few as nine distinct businesses try to restrict the activities of another separate business.

“The Chargers are continuing to work hard to find a solution in San Diego, but the team also has a close eye on developments in L.A.,” the unnamed team official said.  “It would be irresponsible for the Chargers not to be taking every possible step to protect the future of the franchise.”

“Every possible step” potentially encompasses a wide variety of strategies and tactics.  And litigation could be inevitable.

The unnamed Chargers official also “went there” regarding the potential impact of a legal battle over relocation on the currently-embattled league office.

“A move by the Rams would generate significant political and legal controversy for an NFL Commissioner [Roger Goodell] who is already bedraggled and besieged on various fronts,” the unnamed Chargers official said.

Whether a threat or a promise, the Chargers have made it clear that they won’t go quietly if the Rams are permitted to go back to L.A.  And that once the pin is pulled, the shrapnel could fly all the way to 345 Park Avenue.

103 responses to “Chargers hint strongly at litigation to keep Rams out of L.A.

  1. ““The Rams voluntarily left the Los Angeles and Orange County markets, and some owners may question whether they deserve to return — especially if it means that the stadium situations of the two California teams remain unresolved,”

    The Chargers also left LA many years ago as well (to be fair i dont know the story behind that) so didnt they ‘voluntarily’ leave LA as well and do they deserve to return ?

  2. I was listening to interesting piece on this. Rams owner Stan Kroenke has not complied with the NFL rules on owning teams from different sports like he said he would. Would NFL try to make him sell the Rams because he did not complete the terms agreed when he bought them. The NFL likes that Kroenk is doing by opening the LA market but other teams are getting hot.

    Get your popcorn ready.

  3. Hey take care of your own house. You guys are building a new sucky stadium but lack fans. Its too expensive to live in SD and have tickets to football too. Besides its more fun in the bars watching the game.
    You guys should blackout all the home games if you want to fill the stands. Your team is going nowwhere anyways.

    Can you will in all with your QB. No he is an also ran for life.
    Ditto Romo, RGIII, Stafford, Dalton. These guys will never get you to the big dance.

  4. Doesnt make sense because the chargers would alienate the 30 % fanbase they have in LA area if they block LA from getting the rams.bottom line the chargers largest fanbase is in san diego pediod..only reason chagers want LA market empty is for leverage on the new stadium in san diego they will eventually get.

  5. Of course theyre against it. How can the Chargers bluff the city of San Diego into building a new stadium if someone actually moves to LA?

  6. Ironically, the Chargers themselves moved out of LA.

    Stan doesn’t seem to really care what anyone thinks… “he gone”.

    A California team relocating within the state made more sense, but the Chargers and Raiders just dragged this out long enough to leave the door open for the Rams, Jags, Bills, and Vikings with the Rams seeming intent on the move.

    No matter who moves there, just get it done and end the LA chatter once and for all. It’s not fair to all the mid and small market teams to be held hostage by the LA threat that never materializes. It’s one of the largest markets in the United States (and the World economically) so it should have a team without expansion.

    Rams, Chargers, or Raiders make the most sense.

  7. It’s not the Rams fault that the Chargers should have straightened out their stadium and location situation years ago.

    Kroenke is doing this in a manner that is as above board as you can do something like this.

    It’s not his fault that the Chargers ownership can;t afford to build a new stadium. If the Chargers owners can’t afford to do it, I am sure Steve Ballmer will pay a cool billion or two for that privelege.

  8. St. Louis, NFL and Chargers vs. Stan (Rams)

    I could go into extensive detail about why the Rams need to stay in STL but I’ll sum it up with. “It’s the right thing to do.”

    C’mon Goodell, don’t let this billionaire tell you how to run your league.
    You allow him to own the Nuggets/Avalanche while owning the Rams = rule breaker.
    If you let him bully his way to LA what are you telling the league?
    Make an example of him Roger, do your job.

  9. So the Chargers won’t update their 40 year old stadium, and won’t move to LA, but they somehow think they’re entitled to LA fans? You got to be kidding.

  10. Kroenke can buy and sell the Spanos family many times over. Litigation will not dissuade him.
    The Spanos family could have built a stadium themselves over a decade ago but have been too cheap to pull the trigger. Snooze you lose.

  11. The NFL will is going to control who get to LA and when they do, the need to use LA as threat to force every city to build a new stadium or lose the team to LA, nobody is going there until NFL gets what is wants from other cities with NFL teams.

  12. Um, no.

    The league is not impressed by your lawyers. They would only be impressed by your money. As in, stop settling for playing in the worst stadium in the NFL (outside of the Raiders) and either spend some money to build a stadium in San Diego, or build a stadium in LA.

    As for the Rams not deserving to have the chance to go back to LA, totally irrelevant. Different owner, different time.

  13. LOL, why fight over a city that has shown it can’t support an NFL team and has remained vacant for 20 years?

    But before I keep laughing, I should bear in mind that Son-of-Al may also repeat the Raiders’ previous crazy decision to move there.

  14. Ahh, you gotta love the NFL. A group of 32 different owners and a league office where they all have a hold of the golden goose, and each is trying to rip it apart, feather by feather until there is nothing left…

  15. Qualcomm stadium makes the Edward Jones dome look a brand new state of the art stadium by comparison. It’s the only stadium where you can feel rain drops hit your head….when your in the snack bar line under the concrete concourse. And no, I’m not joking either.

  16. That’s because a third of their fanbase lives there. Why don’t the chargers finally fix their stadium

  17. So the Chargers want to have their cake and eat it too — even though they have yet to buy the ingredients or even turn on the oven in LA. Yeah, that makes complete sense . . . . .

  18. Fan loyalty is a thing of the past. Luxury suites account for up to 20% of a teams revenue now a days. A move to LA would mean over a hundred million in suite sales the first season. This is a money driven entertainment, not a father son sport. Businesses will buy the suites and be able to right off 50% as a business expence.

  19. “The Rams voluntarily left the Los Angeles and Orange County markets, and some owners may question whether they deserve to return — especially if it means that the stadium situations of the two California teams remain unresolved,”

    Isn’t Kroenke financing the stadium without public money?

    Does Spanos expect another owner to build a stadium for him?

  20. Kroenke can’t lose. If absolutely nothing happened he can still play out the greatest lease in sports one year at a time for 10 years (at $20,000 per game rent and all the profits as well as dictating what other events can be held at the dome) or he can build his joint venture and move the Rams to LA, or he can let St. Louis build him a fantastic stadium with yet another insanely great lease, keep the Rams there and be the co-owner of the complex in LA where possibly two other NFL franchises as well as/and/or The Trojans will play. Money, money, money.

  21. The best weather, but the worst stadium in the league in San Diego. Get with the program San Diego.

  22. Because lord knows teams can’t exist within 2.5 hours of each other (like the east coast).

  23. I’m a Chargers fan here in LA, but they need to go sit down somewhere! They have had every opportunity to get their acts together and all they do is sit and wait. They belong in San Diego. And they have NO RIGHT to deny a larger city like LA the right to a team. Give me a break!

    They have fans here, but the Raiders and Rams still have fans here too. In fact, the Rams have more roots here than the Chargers and Raiders combined!

    The Rams should come back home and their owner should defy the Chargers and the NFL and come back in 2015! The man is willing to build his own stadium, while the Chargers and Raiders are looking for taxpayer corporate welfare checks!

    I hated the Rams when I was growing up a Saints fan in Louisiana, mainly because they used to beat the Saints all the time, but if I had to choose between them, the Raiders and Chargers, I’d vote for the Rams. No contest! And I’m a Chargers fan!

    Enough of this waffling with the Chargers. They are reactionary and not proactive. You missed your opportunity. And as we say in the Navy, you missed ship’s movement. Now, the Ram’ ship is underway. Next port-of-call: Inglewood!

    Welcome home L.A. Rams!

  24. Easy solution for the Chargers, Spanos pays and builds his own stadium in L.A. and then moves.
    Money talks.

  25. What the hell? On the East Coast there are Six teams within the same distance as San Diego is to Los Angeles!!! What possible claim can the Chargers have to land so far away from them that East Coast teams have no problem with???? Up north in the Bay area there are two teams within 20 miles of each other!!!! This has zero chance of stopping Kroenke.

  26. San Diego doesn’t have an argument.

    Their market is SanDiego and they benefit from their being no team in LA but can’t claim it as their own.
    There are two team in the San Francisco Bay area and the NY/Northern NJ area as well as DC/Baltimore.
    Southern California can easily support two NFL franchises (as it does hockey, baseball, and basketball) as long as it has a new stadium.
    The Chargers have had the open opportunity to leave their lease for years but would only go for a sweetheart stadium deal.
    Kronke is willing to put up his own money to build the stadium in LA required to get a team in that market.
    The Chargers should put up or shut up.

  27. This is just a step to make sure that the Chargers will be the other team to use that LA stadium instead of the Raiders. That’s all it is.

  28. As a Niner fan we want the Rams back for that rivalry we used to have . I would love to do roadies down to LA and have half the stadium Niner fans like it used to be . As long as the stench of the Raiders don’t end up in LA ….I’m good

  29. Personally, I don’t believe the Chargers have a worthy legal case for a number of reasons. First, the Rams were in L.A. when the Chargers were already in existence so it’s not like the Chargers were incapable of existing back then. Second, the NFL wants a team in L.A. and has stated that. It’s going to be an existing NFL team. Why not the Rams? Third, the Rams left L.A. with an entirely different ownership group. Can’t penalize L.A. or current ownership for a decision by a past ownership group. Lastly, the Chargers argument can be applied to the Raiders. You think the NFL owners want a legal precedent that would potentially hamstrung their own organization in the future?

  30. An unnamed team official told this to Daniel Kaplan in order to keep the Rams out???

    Could this be more biased???

    After all, he wants LA fans at Qualcomm and he’s forgetting about one other person … Georgia Frontiere.

    Isn’t there new ownership now???

    Why make a new person guilty for someone else’s “mistake”?

  31. And, what does Mark Davis have to say about this?

    Just move the Raiders to LA, and the Rams to Jacksonville, when the Jaguars move to London.

  32. You write: deserve to return — especially if it means that the stadium situations of the two California teams remain unresolved”

    I ask: since Kroenke did not leave LA, but Georgia Frontiere did, how does this make any sense?

  33. Typical Charger propaganda. Your team name is the San Diego chargers, you have no legal right to los Angeles. Worry about your city and your fair weather fans. L.a. is not your market, get over yourselves. If you think it’s bad now that Raider fans take over your stadium in SD then how bad will it be if you dare move to L.A. Bunch crybabies.

  34. It seems as though Spanos wants to have his cake and eat it, too. He’s had 14 years to move to LA, and has so far done nothing.

    It’s understandable if he’s loyal to his market and wants to work it out there; but Los Angeles and San Diego are not the same market!

    At one point, the Rams and Raiders both shared LA and the Chargers didn’t seem to have a problem then. One or both might come back in the near future, so I don’t see his problem now!

  35. I love my Chargers, but the Spanos’ act is getting old. Dump for a stadium, ticket prices way above market value… I’m all for making as much money as you can – we all try to – but this is turning fans away.
    Plus, they’re crazy if they think 30% of their fan base comes from L.A. No-one in Los Angeles gives a sh#t about the Chargers. It’s all posturing.

  36. It’s never been clear to me how one city can claim another city as ‘their’ territory. LA is the #2 media market in the US, while SD is only #28. Since when does #28 control #2?

  37. The Chargers play in San Diego but want to go to court to prevent a team coming to another city. Just silly. They will be wasting their money on lawyers.

  38. codiablo says:

    4 teams in California would be absusrd

    California is, by far, the most populous state.

    One in every 8.2 people in the U.S. lives in California.

  39. The Chargers organization seems like a group of whiners on this issue. They can’t fill their stadium as it is, and their afraid of competition in their market area. What a joke that is. Back when there were four teams in Cali, they all seemed to do well, that is make money.

  40. Los Angeles already has 2 professional team who would outdraw the Chargers or Rams.

    1. USC
    2. UCLA

    I don’t understand why the Chargers don’t relocate 50 miles north and be a Southern California regional team. They would be between San Diego and LA . The train could bring fans in and out from both cities, much like they do for Giants Stadium in SF.

    Regional has worked well for the New England Patriots.

    Who would want to be called The LA anything these days.

  41. The Chargers know that if/when the Rams move to LA, they will lose whatever few fans they have left. Perhaps they’re jealous because they want to move back to LA and the Rams beat them to it?

  42. Once again, I feel the need to reply to all of the people saying that LA has shown it can’t support a team.

    That’s complete and utter nonsense. No team has ever left LA because they weren’t supported. They have left because of terrible stadiums and terrible stadium deals.

    And one of the owners that left consulted an astrologist when making business decisions, so I hardly think we can draw many conclusions from anything she did.

    Do you think the NFL hasn’t spent thousands of hours on business cases to prove it would work? Build a new stadium with several hundred luxury suites and the NFL will do just fine in LA.

  43. Nah. San Diegans will be the first to scream “bro bro bro, San Diego is NOT LA”. What’s BS is that the NFL, in it’s infinite greed, blacks out San Diego games even in LA. The Chargers are taking a page from Al Davis who STILL claimed LA even when the Raiders moved back to Oakland.

    We need a new team in LA, but with ZERO taxpayer money to build a stadium for billionaires. Shame on any community who gives in to blackmail by gifting a multibillionaire a brand new work place.

  44. I’ve had 50 yard line seats for the St. Louis Rams for all these crappy years. But since Kronke is such a douche bag, I’m giving them up. Good luck LA with silent Sam you can have him and the Lambs.

  45. giantsfanlewis says:
    Jan 12, 2015 10:34 AM
    One thing the NFL doesn’t need is 4 teams in one state. Especially when many states still don’t even have one
    10% of all US residents live in California. Why wouldn’t it make sense for California to have four teams? I suppose I could see an argument saying SF and Oakland should share a team because they are so close, but excluding LA makes no sense.

  46. fanasaurus says:
    Jan 12, 2015 12:45 PM
    The Chargers organization seems like a group of whiners on this issue. They can’t fill their stadium as it is, and their afraid of competition in their market area. What a joke that is. Back when there were four teams in Cali, they all seemed to do well, that is make money.
    Completely agree, but worth remembering that the reason we have a very rare blackout (none this year) is that we literally have the worst stadium in the league. There is ZERO joy seeing a game in that cement dump.

  47. Sitting in an NFL stadium and watching people stand around waiting for television commercials isn’t really that much fun. There are much better things to do in California. This is why San Diego has trouble filling up, we go to the beach. The scenery is much better, and its free. The notion of driving and parking for an NFL game in Englewood? That’s gonna get old real fast folks.

    So yeah, we got the population, but almost half of it is on Medicaid and couldn’t afford a game more than once in a lifetime in the first place, of the rest, most have better things to do. (It ain’t twelve degrees out here in December)

  48. codiablo says:
    Jan 12, 2015 10:33 AM
    4 teams in California would be absusrd

    giantsfanlewis says:
    Jan 12, 2015 10:34 AM
    One thing the NFL doesn’t need is 4 teams in one state. Especially when many states still don’t even have one

    Why would four teams being in one state matter? Have you people ever looked at a map? Take the size of California and put it on the east coast. In that same space you would have:


    That’s SEVEN teams in the same space and for some reason that doesn’t matter? But four teams on the west coast in that same space is too much? Hate California much?

  49. None of you seem to realize why they’re threatening this lawsuit. It’s all about creating delays and making time. They don’t care about LA at all because they’ve been trying to get a new stadium for 15 years and if they were going to leave, they would have done so. Unless they have to move, they don’t want to. Kroenke is doing all of this quickly because the NFL has put him off for far too long and its now very advantageous to push hard. Being first in the gate gets you the best deal and the most love from the new fans and the pressure of LA hasn’t worked enough to get Oakland and San Diego their new digs. If the Raiders or Chargers throw in the towel on their new city and jump first, the Rams plans go up in smoke. Until then, they can fake that they’re still working with their current cities to get the best deal, which is what SD are actually doing because there’s a better shot for them then the Raiders.

    So the issue is that the Chargers need the continued leverage on San Diego. The mayor has been very vocal about the plans in the works and that he doesn’t want to be the mayor that let the Chargers leave. But before any deal can be cut, the taxpayers have to vote on it. Which means the fans need to believe that it’ll happen.

    The city of San Diego is making their proposal for a new stadium and potentially expanded convention center this year. All so that it can be voted on in 2016. So if the Rams move before 2016, they lose all of the tension because an “imminent” move no longer makes sense. LA wants a team or two, but it isn’t the Chargers that most people want. And it sure as hell is going to be paid for by the good people of LA if the Chargers go there. That’ll be a tough sell, because we all know the Spanos family has far less money than then Kroenke who intends to pay the bill himself (supposedly). Either way, there’s a reason the Raiders haven’t moved also, because the Rams are the only one of the 3 that wants to pay for it. California is still pretty broke and real estate is down, but still nearly as ridiculous as ever. So one team is ready to go, and two aren’t, so the NFL has held them back while they squeeze the current cities. But it appears that the Rams are tired of waiting and Kroenke won’t do it anymore if it’ll cost him the fan base when one of the other two jump first.

    So heres’s the play because the Rams are all but gone: Because the Rams are speeding up the timetable too quickly, the Chargers need a pending lawsuit to file an injunction that would halt the Rams moving until the lawsuit concludes (or is dismissed). As long as they can prove they’re being financially harmed if the Rams come into “their” territory (very easy to prove, I imagine), the court would hold the Rams from moving. With some delays, this could be a few years barring the Rams from moving to LA which gives the Chargers time to work it out with SD for once last shot at a stadium deal with the maximum force applied, or it busts and they jump to LA first as they drop the suit.

    The Rams are almost certainly already gone. It’s just a matter of keeping the pressure on so San Diego to buys the new house, or keeping the Rams out long enough for the Chargers to jump in first. It’s juggling, plain and simple.

  50. What does “could be inevitable” mean ? It’s either inevitable or it’s not. Do you mean “is a possibility” ? If so, there are a heck of a lot of things that “could be inevitable”.

  51. No one north of Camp Pendleton goes to their games anyway. So I don’t know why they are sweating it.

  52. Next the Chargers will be going after USC for stealing their market share. Of course if the Chargers payroll was higher then USC’s …

  53. The Raiders wanted Eli, so the Chargers drafted him. The Raiders want to go back to L.A., now the Chargers want to be in L.A.
    How bout you pay less attention to what the Raiders want and focus on winning games.

  54. There’s a real easy way to resolve “the stadium situations of the two California teams”. They can build their damn stadiums themselves. Last time I checked, NFL franchise owners are making money hand of fist. Professional football has never been more profitable or popular. Why should taxpayers be on the hook for the only significant depreciating asset they have to worry about? I love football as much as the next guy, but come on… Enough is enough.

  55. Of course they filed a lawsuit. That is the way things are done in this day and age. File first and ask questions later. The total cost of the suit up to this point is probably less than $50,000. Chump change to an NFL owner.

    Will a court uphold the “rights” of a team trying to extort a new stadium paid for by public funding by threatening to move? Highly doubtful. Will the courts give Spanos some sort of bone for losing a big part of his TV audience? No, because he gets a 1/32 share regardless of who is playing there. This isn’t baseball. All the money, except ticket revenue goes into one big pot and is evenly divided.

  56. San Diego has trouble funding with a new stadium because I’m pretty sure the city got shafted when they built the Padres stadium(which no one goes to see games by the way). When you can get on your yacht, go to the zoo, and see the beach why bother going and seeing a subpar team in the Chargers in a dump of a stadium? And this is coming from a life long San Diego fan. That stadium hasn’t been filled with actual Chargers fans since LT was there. A nice location for the other 31 teams to vacation when their team plays since every Chargers game seems like a road game.

  57. The San Diego Chargers need to worry about winning an AFC title game and making a Super Bowl appearance while Phillip Rivers can still play. Winning a road game in Miami would be another task to accomplish since they haven’t won there. Worry about winning first. When you win a Lombardi trophy, you might be able to say something. Until then, leave the LOS ANGELES RAMS alone! By the way, the RAMS have a Lombardi trophy in their trophy case.

  58. The Chargers argument here has got to be one of the lamest and unreasonable in sports history. Spanos believes his business has an enforceable right to keep any other team out of LA, because the existence of an LA team would prevent him from using the threat of relocation to extort SD fans into paying for a new Charger stadium.

    That kind of “litigation” isn’t going to get past an initial Motion to Dismiss. The argument doesn’t pass the laugh test legally, ethically, or politically.

  59. I think you buried the lead, an NFL official trashed Roger? He’s “besieged”? So, what exactly, that means he won’t do his job correctly?

  60. I feel for St Louis fans, but it’s bizarre to hear some of them pretend they have a moral right to keep the Rams. You used public funds to lure the Rams into abandoning LA, a move which made no sense at the time to anyone except Georgia Frontieri. Now you are angry that a new Rams owner has found a better deal – by returning to LA.

    What goes around comes around.

  61. Screw Spanos. Nobody in LA cares about the Chargers or wants them here. We want our Rams and thats it. BTW Kroenke will smear that joker in court, like no problem bozo.

  62. The Chargers organization are some whiny little bitches when it comes to the L.A. territory. For years now the Raiders have had their preseason games aired on a local L.A. channel (KTLA) but when a Chargers preseason game is on at the same time, they will bitch and moan to the NFL to get KTLA to tape-delay the Raider game so it won’t “interfere” with their game on a different channel.

  63. Why the Rams should move back to L.A.

    The Ram’s should be allowed to move back to Los Angeles because that’s where they belong, they were there for 47 years, and just look at the achievements they’ve acquired while in Los Angeles compared to what they’ve done while in St. Louis, and it’s within their rights/contract to move if they so choose to if the stadium their in now has not been or is not now being brought up to the standards of the other stadiums in the league, or if the city of St. Louis can build them a new stadium. And now this deal with the Chargers owners wanting to try to stop the Rams from moving to Los Angeles, just because Kroenke has found some investors to build a brand-new sports stadium complex there’s billions to be made in the deal so now the Chargers owners ( Who don’t have as much money as Kroenke ) wants a piece of it, but it’s Stan “The Man” Kroenke who’s been getting the investors together to help put the deal all together.

  64. rohlo says: Jan 12, 2015 10:33 AM

    Doesnt make sense because the chargers would alienate the 30 % fanbase they have in LA area if they block LA from getting the rams.


    Wow, you set the bar rather high there. The Chargers would be lucky to have 10% of the fan base in L.A.

  65. The Chargers have no case whatsoever. The NFL has no anti-trust exemption and LA is an open market by any legal definition. Any suit they filed would be tossed out

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