San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos informed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and some fellow owners Wednesday he intends to move the franchise to Los Angeles, abandoning the team’s home of 56 years to start over in a new market and share a futuristic new stadium with the Los Angeles Rams, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
The person requested anonymity because Spanos had not yet told the team’s staff or San Diego officials about his decision, which was first reported Wednesday night by ESPN. A staff meeting was scheduled for Thursday morning at Chargers headquarters, another person told USA TODAY Sports.
The Chargers have until Tuesday to notify the NFL officially if they plan to share the stadium with the Rams in Inglewood, near the L.A. airport.
The mayor of Inglewood, James Butts, told USA TODAY Sports late Wednesday that he is scheduled to talk with Spanos Thursday about possibly holding a news conference in Inglewood next week. The new stadium is scheduled to open there in 2019. In the meantime, the person with knowledge of the situation said the Chargers have an agreement to play at least the next two seasons in the StubHub Center in nearby Carson.
“I haven’t received 100-percent word they will be moving, but I’m going to be told (Thursday),” Mayor Butts said. “All I know is I’m supposed to speak with him sometime (Thursday).”
In recent months, Spanos came to believe he had no other viable business choice. If the Chargers didn’t take this opportunity in L.A., their only other certain option in San Diego was to keep playing indefinitely at Qualcomm Stadium, which opened in 1967.
The latter is one of the oldest and worst stadiums in the NFL, and the Chargers have been trying for 15 years to replace it with a modern, lucrative new facility. But they never could reach a deal on how to pay for it with the city of San Diego, leading the team to look 120 miles north for alternatives while also trying to protect its turf in Southern California.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Brent Schrotenboer and Tom Pelissero