Chargers elect to stay in San Diego through at least 2015

Late statement from San Diego Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani:

On February 1st of every year since 2007, the Chargers have been eligible to terminate the team’s lease for Qualcomm Stadium. And each year since 2007, the Chargers have announced that the team will not exercise the termination clause and instead continue to work toward a permanent stadium solution in San Diego.

Today, the Chargers are making the same announcement that the team has made each year since 2007: The team will not be exercising the lease termination clause and will keep working to find a publicly acceptable way to build a Super Bowl-quality stadium in San Diego. Calendar year 2015 will constitute the team’s fourteenth year of work on a San Diego stadium solution.

The Chargers aren’t fundamentally closer to a stadium deal now than they were at this time last year. If they had chosen to terminate the lease, they would’ve had to pay $17.6 million to the City of San Diego to leave. Without clear short-term and long-term stadium solutions in LA, it makes some sense to wait especially if real money is at stake. That isn’t the case for the Rams and Raiders, who face no penalties if they leave their current homes.

On Monday, the New York Times reported that the chances of any team moving to LA were dimming. We’re still a couple months from the window officially opening, and if LA interests such as AEG are truly interested, I imagine they’ll take that time to work out a deal with the NFL (and perhaps Dodger Stadium).

What say you, Rams and Raiders?

39 thoughts on “Chargers elect to stay in San Diego through at least 2015

  1. How much control do the Rose Bowl/Pasadena and USC have over their respective venues? I get that we’re hearing “no” from both of them regarding temporarily housing a team/teams now, but how concrete is that? Could the NFL and/or the teams just throw money at them to get them to open up for 2-3 years?

    • Rose Bowl is autonomous. USC controls the LA Coliseum. They have purportedly shut down any chance of the Raiders playing either venue, leaving the Raiders with only Dodger Stadium as an option. The Rams are welcome at either stadium. Every deal is expected to be worked through the NFL, so I wouldn’t expect anyone to “throw money” at it – except for maybe Stan Kroenke. Even then he’s known as a fairly frugal guy.

      • I don’t understand the logic in their rejections. It seems like it’d be a nice short term revenue booster from rent.

      • SMg, it’s quite simple.. they don’t want the Raiders or their fans visiting their respective venues. And who could blame them, the Raiders fans from SoCal are the ones that earned the fanbase as a whole it’s horrible reputation. And they’re still down there, and still travel to San Diego every year during the Raiders away game.

      • And that has nothing to do with the Rams.

      • SMG, and no one has said they’re not interested in the Rams. The Rose Bowl in particular has approved hosting NFL games. And they’re open to any team… except the Raiders. That would mean the Rams are welcome.

      • Now that they have obtained control of the LA Coliseum, USC has seriously started in on their ideas for updating the Coliseum. No real development has yet begun aside from a few cosmetic/make-do improvements, but alumni and athletic department supporters have received multiple surveys about what they would be interested in from an updated Coliseum experience, and the athletic department has said they are actively engaged with a firm for development.

        I doubt that the trouble of dealing with 8 NFL games in conjunction with the college football season, the (whether deserved or not) reputation of Raider fans, and disruptions to the ultimate USC master plan would be worth the few million $ that the NFL or specific team would provide. USC has an endowment in the $billions, and significant athletic department (i.e., football team) support that will fund Coliseum upgrades, along with the standard stadium naming rights deal, etc.

        The best chance for the Raiders being able to go back to the Coliseum would have been while the state/city/county “owned” the stadium. Now, USC doesn’t need/want the help provided by any Raiders $. Even if Al Davis did attend USC.

  2. Do we know if that $17.6M Chargers penalty for leaving decreases over time? Would the org owe no financial obligation to the city from 2016 onward?

  3. The Chargers do not believe that their decision not to put in a bid to move to Los Angeles for next season would jeopardize in any way their opportunity to move there anytime in the near term future. While nothing is official, the speculation is that the Rams will be the first team to move back to LA, either for the 2015 or 2016 NFL season. While the NFL would very much want two teams for LA, there are many inside and outside the NFL who question whether that market could sufficiently support two teams. As a result, the Chargers could act as a pivotal second team for what would be the Southern California market. In other words, if the chargers are eventually moved to LA, they will be able to retain the territorial rights to San Diego. Likewise, if the Chargers can build their new stadium in San Diego, Los Angeles would not obtain a second team. As for the Raiders, the NFL would prefer for the team to remain in Northern California.

  4. The Chargers have a decreasing penalty every year until I think 2020. Glad to see the Chargers stay another year. The only problem I see w/ Quailcomm is that the sidelines are far from the fans and there are obstructed seats in the first seven or so rows. Other than that I enjoy the stadium. I know they’ll need one in the future.

    • Yeah the fans think its a dump. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the Bay Area with the Coliseum and Candlestick, but Qualcomm never seems as bad to me as the Bay’s long time venues did. But I guess they don’t know any worse so they think they have it bad.

      • Yeah, competitively Qualcomm and the surrounding areas, are much nicer then then what the raiders have, or the 49ers had.

      • True, the Mission Valley area is not too shabby actually having some restaurants and a few bars within easy walking distance. That said, it’s not one of those glamorous new areas and stadiums either so I can see where Bolts fans are coming from even if there are worse locations.

        But yeah they’re light years ahead of where the Niners were and Raiders are. And to an extent I’d argue they’re still in a better overall location than the Niners or teams like the Dolphins even if their stadium is lacking in the newest bells and whistles.

      • @athletics68
        Levi’s definitely has a better location situation than Qualcomm does, especially when you account for planned development around the former. But it’s not by a massive margin or anything.

        On a side note, I honestly don’t see the Chargers getting a new stadium in SD unless they get a slice of relocation fees from 1 or more LA-bound teams. Public money there seems to be a non-starter on the ballot and hotels won’t currently support non-contiguous expansion of the convention center (the proposed downtown stadium would be non-contiguous).

      • I’d take the Coliseum seating-wise over the Q. Sideline seats in SD are way too far away, and the end zone ones are too close, so you can’t see the near end zone (like this if you add people’s head’s to the seats in front of you). The Coliseum’s seating for football is all pretty good except for Mt. Davis (which is comparable with other new stadiums), the midfield seats on the home side (which are comparable to the sideline seats on both sides at the Q), and too many railings in the upper deck.

  5. Retweeted FW (@fairfaxwest):
    @JasonPhilCole @AlbertBreer @bomani_jones and the fact that a football field doesn’t fit Some folks have talked about making the LA Dodgers Stadium a temporary NFL stadium until a permanent NFL stadium built. This graphic shows an NFL field will not fit at Dodgers Stadium. Is this graphic accurate?

    • Not to mention that the majority of the seats, particularly those on the sidelines, would be catastrophically awful for football. I see Dodger Stadium as a non-starter.

    • You really think that’s a problem? The Dodgers spent $100 million to rip out much of the lower deck. The cost to remove some of the bleachers and convert them to demountable rows or sections would be a small fraction of that cost. It’s not an issue if the Dodgers want that football revenue.

  6. The NFL appears to be over-thinking this situation and botching it up, although two NFL teams playing at the Rose Bowl or LA Coliseum (besides USC and UCLA) would be a huge logistics problem – scheduling 3 teams playing at one stadium? It appears that Kroenke desires that the Rams move to Los Angeles A.S.A.P – with Davis and the Raiders possibly not far behind – with the NFL stalling the move(s)

    It’s also likely that the SD mayor and Spanos could find a way to finance a new NFL stadium at San Diego with hotel/tourist taxes only (unlike Oakland) and avoid a 2/3 voter approval requirement to approve taxpayer dollars to fund a new stadium. The Rams and Raiders still appear to be the front runners to Los Angeles.

    Also, the NFL’s desire to build and own a two team stadium and lease it out to two teams is odd and stalling NFL in Los Angeles (why would an owner (besides Davis,) desire to do that ? Also, duplicating a boring, bland two team stadium such as the Giants/Jets stadium appears to be a foolish idea.

    • The hotels already said they won’t support a tax because the downtown stadium would not be contiguous with the rest of the convention center.

    • If the Chargers do get selected as the second LA bound team, they could still temporarily play at their current San Diego venue. It’s quite common for NFL fans to travel at least a 100 plus miles to attend their respective teams’ home games. As an example, look at the Green Bay Packers. The NFL approval of the Chargers to LA would eliminate the need for a second LA temporary venue facility.

      • You don’t know much about San Diego and LA do you? The Chargers fanbase in San Diego would evaporate overnight if hey announced a move to LA. San Diego has as much love for LA, and LA based teams, as Dan Francisco does. And the fact a move such as you describe would once again mistakenly bring up the “not far” or “little brother” fallacy would just throw fuel on that particular.

        The popular sentiment in SD is that if the Chargers move north they can Get Bent.

      • Plus it has the worst traffic! I use to live in LA and OC…driving to SD is not that bad, getting back to LA/OC is a nightmare. It may be 100 miles (give or take) but be prepared for a minimum 3 hour drive each way.

  7. I don’t believe that the NFL would want three teams in Southern California. Especially given the past history of NFL team support from Los Angeles. If the Chargers do get approval to move to LA, the NFL would likely allow the Chargers to retain territorial rights to the San Diego area. Yes, there will be some very provincial fans from San Diego like yourself who will refuse to support the team if it plays in Los Angeles. However, there will be many current game attending Chargers fans who will travel the 100 plus miles to Charger games in LA.. Heck, the NFL is a once per week mainly Sunday event. Whatever the losses from San Diego area fans will more than be picked up with new fans from the LA area.

    • IIpec, if it’s the Rams that move to LA and they do build their Inglewood Stadium, it would actually preclude putting two teams in LA since the Rams have made it clear they’re not going to willingly share the market or their stadium with a second team.

      As for “provincial” fans, fandom is entirely provincial. And I’m not even a Chargers fan. But being in SD I know quite a few, and none will be making the drive to LA. And the popular sentiment goes along with that everywhere you look. 120 miles through LA traffic would be a deal breaker for anyone, nevermind fans from a city that’s always had a chip on its shoulder when it comes to their neighboring metro area to the north. This move from San Diego would be more Cleveland Browns to Baltimore than it would be Niners to Santa Clara.

      • “it would actually preclude putting two teams in LA since the Rams have made it clear they’re not going to willingly share the market or their stadium with a second team.”

        Gonna need a source on that.

        And it’s really not up to them. It’s up to the NFL.

      • @Dan, It’s news to me that the Rams have stipulated that if they are approved to move back to LA and build their own stadium, they would not allow for a second NFL team to share their facility or even the LA market, for that matter. I would think that the NFL would have the final say on these issues. That said, I believe the question of a second team in LA would be moot if the Chargers do remain in San Diego.

  8. @ SMG and IIpec – it’s not up to the league if another team besides the Sheep move into the LAX market, but if Kroenke builds the stadium on his own dime, it sure as hell is up to him whether or not he wants to share it. Kind of the same situation as Al Davis had at the Hollywood Park stadium – he alleges (per the 30-for-30 film) that the NFL wanted him to take a second team at Hollywood, but he wouldn’t, so Davis tanked the deal.

    • The NFL has to approve moves. It’s not a stretch to imagine that refusal to share a stadium in LA would cause them to veto a move by any one team.

  9. Wonder if we’ll see the Raiders move to Levi’s on a year-to-year basis to put pressure on Oakland (a waste of time, of course, since Oakland has no money anyway) and see what might get done in LA or San Antonio? The Raiders get a new facility to play in with no baseball diamond on it, while keeping all options open. If, after a few years what I think will happen happens (as in San Antonio and LA become non-options and Oakland still can’t pay for a stadium), then the Levi’s move becomes permanent.

    • I think it’s more likely they’ll try to work out a year to year deal with the JPA than play at Levi’s.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if the JPA and Oakland agrees to something like this as a way to kick the can down the road, thinking it won’t block potential A’s development if it’s year to year, but still keeps things open for the Raiders.

      From the Raiders perspective, they’ll likely be able to get a much cheaper deal at the Coliseum. I’m also not sure they can fill Levi’s and avoid blackouts without tarping off seats which would add to the price. Plus, 49er ticket holders would have first dibs on tickets, which would piss off Raider fans.

      • Kicking the can down the road has been the strategy for years now. It has resulted in no movement on a new stadium for the Raiders in Oakland…Didn’t know about 49ers ticketholders getting first dibs.For the upcoming Sharks game at Levi’s, 49ers ticketholders shared first dibs with Kings and Sharks ticketholders. They weren’t given any exclusive first access that I’m aware of.

      • @Slacker- Raiders are currently paid to stay n Oakland- they have the sweetheart deal of all deals- question is if Oakland continues to kick the can down the road, in essence telling LW to go pound sand again, and provide the raiders another year lease will this be enough for manfred/MLB to open the market up as it should be.

      • @ GoA’s
        The A’s (Raiders too), are kicking the can down the road, just as much as Oakland is.
        As far as Oakland telling Lew to go pound sand, I don’t know if Oakland is telling him to go do that, or Wolff simply wants to make it look, very much as though Oakland is telling him to do that.
        Dirty hands, on all sides…

      • @LSN- what we don’t know is what LW has submitted to JPA in terms of A’s proposal. End the silliness with the raiders and start negotiating with the A’s or end the silliness with the A’s and finish negotiating with the Raiders- bttm line the charade can’t carry on forever

      • @ GoA’s
        I agree, we don’t know what Lew submitted to the JPA, but we also have no reason to believe Lew is any more serious about whatever he submitted to the JPA, then Davis is about whatever plan he has. (If any)
        I also agree that the charade can’t carry on forever, but whose charade is it? Oakland’s, the Raiders, the A’s, or all three. I would guess it would not have gone on this long, unless all played their parts.

    • @pjk, Regarding the Raiders, your scenario makes the most sense. However, despite Mark Davis’ often stated distaste for having his Raiders continue on playing on a baseball field, he seems to rather prefer his team remain at the Coliseum rather than to share use of Levis Stadium with the 49ers. I still though view Santa Clara as a definite future possibility for the Raiders, at least on a short-term or intermediate-term basis. However, that outcome will likely depend on whether the A’s ultimately get to build their new ballpark at San Jose, or build on the Coliseum property site. If the A’s get approval to move to San Jose, the Raiders will have more leverage with Oakland to get at least a renovated or partially rebuilt Coliseum deal done. At that point, the Raiders will likely be playing at Levis Stadium until the Coliseum project is completed. However, a new A’s ballpark on the Coliseum site would give the Raiders fewer options, leaving a permanent sharing of Levis Stadium with the 49ers a more distinct possibility.

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