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Chargers Are Staying in San Diego: L.A. Fan’s View
I was sure it was going to happen. With trouble getting a new stadium built and a three-month window each year when they can terminate their stadium lease, I thought the San Diego Chargers were the perfect team to move to Los Angeles.
I thought the team would announce the move right after the 2011 regular season ended and move to L.A. immediately, probably playing in the Rose Bowl while the new stadium is constructed. Well it's not happening, in 2012 at least. They're making an announcement all right, but it's the wrong one. The team is expected to make a statement on January 9, along with the mayor of San Diego, letting fans know the team is staying put (for now).
With two potential stadiums competing for the Chargers, I really don't understand why they would stay in San Diego to continue fighting with the citizens and various local governments to build a new stadium. There are two projects here in Los Angeles, Farmers Field and Los Angeles Stadium at Grand Crossing that are ready to begin construction, just as soon as they secure a team.
Moving to Los Angeles, especially to the Los Angeles Stadium at Grand Crossing, would still put the Chargers within a 2.5 hour drive from San Diego, yet also give them a Los Angeles fanbase. The Chargers have been trying for years to get a new facility built with no success. I don't know what's different about this time.
The new plan is to build in downtown San Diego, after failing to build one in Oceanside, Escondido, Mission Valley, Chula Vista and National City, all smaller cities around San Diego. Like any large public / private project, it will require support from the local government and the team wants a public vote on the issue by the November 2012 election, and would know by May 2012 if that's even possible.
The Chargers' stadium deal extends to 2020 and the current stadium lease gives them an option every year to terminate the lease and leave. The team must notify the city between February 1, 2012 and May 1, 2012 and pay a termination fee, which would be $24 million next season. The fee is based on the current bond debt.
Although born and raised with Eagles fans in Philadelphia, Freddy Sherman has always been a citizen of Raider Nation at heart. Since his dad got him a signed George Blanda football as child, to meeting Lyle Alzado in the 1980s, he hasn't looked back. Follow him on twitter @thefredsherman and read his blog, fredsport.com.
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