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Chargers move to L.A. looks more likely: Local’s look
I'm not sure what the odds are on various existing NFL teams moving to Los Angeles, but I think the chances are getting better and better we will see the San Diego Chargers here sooner rather than later.
Although on Aug. 30 the Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani shot down the rumor of a move with a simple statement—"never gonna happen"—he was referring specifically to speculation the team would be sold outright, or at least a majority interest. In what sure seems to me like a contradiction, the team has expressed interest in selling a minority share in the Chargers. I think it's just a bargaining chip to get a higher price and the Spanos family who own the team will end up selling most of it.
Downtown Los Angeles has a proposed NFL stadium project, Farmers Field, which seems to be moving forward, but in the best case scenario won't be ready for play until 2015. I think we will see a team here much sooner, playing for a few years in the Rose Bowl.
There are other factors I think contribute to an imminent move by the Chargers. The Chargers play in San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium. While Qualcomm is a brand that signifies the future and modern technology, the stadium is the opposite. NFL fans will remember the stadium as Jack Murphy Stadium, a facility which broke ground in 1965. It's an old stadium and team can't make as much revenue as they could in a new facility.
The team has been trying to build a new stadium without success and is now trying for a plan 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 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 possible.
The Chargers' current lease gives them the option every year to terminate the lease and leave the city. The team must notify the city betweem February 1, 2012 and May 1, 2012 and pay a termination fee, which would be $24 million next season. AEG, the developer of the Farmers Field project has already said they would pay the fee, and also want to buy the team outright or at least part of it. The Chargers are owned by the 88 year old Alex Spanos and the team has already expressed an interest in selling a minority share in the team.
When I also consider the fact that Chargers attendance has been dismal, with many games blacked out, it just make sense to move the team. If San Diego isn't supporting the team, why should they stay?
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
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