SAN DIEGO (CN) – In an expected move, the San Diego Chargers have formally filed to relocate their football franchise to Los Angeles, along with the St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders.
The NFL announced Monday night all three teams filed on the first day they were able to do so to relocate to Los Angeles beginning with the 2016 season.
The moves, which were expected, makes it more probable that Los Angeles will be home to an NFL team next season, but the question as to which team or teams will call the City of Angels home remains. The NFL has publicly stated that it wants at most two teams in Los Angeles.
The applications will be reviewed this week by NFL staff and three committees – the Los Angeles Opportunities, Stadium and Finance committees – who will meet in New York on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of the NFL owners’ meeting in Houston on January 12-13. A decision on moving one or more teams could be decided as early as next Wednesday.
The NFL is expected to approve at least one move, to fatten the profits of an estimated $12 billion business by returning to the United States’ second-largest television market, after more than a 20-year absence.
In an official statement released by the Chargers, the team said they have tried for more than a decade to work with the city to replace the aging Qualcomm Stadium.
“We have tried for more than 14 years, through nine separate proposals and seven different mayors, to create a world-class stadium experience for fans in San Diego,” according to the team’s statement.
“Despite these efforts, there is still no certain, actionable solution to the stadium problem. We are sad to have reached this point.”
Chargers owner Dean Spanos has lived in San Diego for more than 31 years and attempted to explain how tough the decision was to his team’s fans.
“I just want to say that this has been probably the single most difficult decision that I have ever made, and our family has ever made, in business,” Spanos said in an interview with the team’s website.
Spanos said when the Rams announced their plan to move to L.A. last January, it forced the Chargers to take action on moving to L.A. Spanos said 25 percent of the team’s profits come from the Los Angeles area including Riverside County, Orange County and L.A.
“I think that is what really was the catalyst that got this whole thing going,” Spanos said.
“When the Rams decided to make their move there, this was a move to protect our business more than anything. So we find ourselves where we do right now.”
In February, Spanos and Raiders owner Mark Davis announced a joint partnership in Carson, Calif., between Los Angeles and Long Beach. The teams would share the stadium and divide the construction costs in the privately financed stadium.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced via Twitter his disappointment with the Chargers attempt to move.
“San Diego developed a fair stadium proposal and a plan to hold a special election by the NFL’s deadline, but the Chargers’ owner walked away from the table,” Faulconer said.
“The more San Diego has done, the less engaged the Chargers have become. San Diegans deserve better. This announcement isn’t a surprise, but it’s still disappointing for generations of San Diego Chargers fans. Our city is the rightful home to the Bolts. We believe the viable stadium plan we’ve presented to the NFL should be cause for keeping the Chargers in their hometown.”
Both the Chargers’ and Raiders’ attempts to work out a deal with their cities stretch back 15 years. California has said it will not provide public money to fund stadiums for privately owned sports teams, and the state’s ever-changing political landscape has complicated the teams’ efforts.
Neither San Diego nor Oakland has offered a viable stadium plan for their own cities, and both of their home fields are considered to be worse than the Rams’.
Unlike Spanos, who attempted to explain the move to fans through almost a four minute long interview on the Chargers’ website, both the Raiders and Rams made brief, formal statements on their respective websites.
“In accordance with the relocation policies, the Oakland Raiders submitted a relocation package to the NFL,” the team announced late Monday. “The matter is now in the hands of the NFL’s owners. An owners’ meeting is scheduled to take place in Houston, Texas on January 12 and 13, 2016.”
The Rams also submitted their bid for a stadium in Inglewood, despite the city of St. Louis having the most developed new stadium plan of the three cities. Last month, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave final approval to help fund construction of a new riverfront stadium to keep the team in Missouri.
The team, which has not publicly commented on its hometown efforts to keep the franchise, offered a simple 33-word statement.
“The St. Louis Rams informed the National Football League today that the Rams propose to relocate to the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area,” the team said. “The relocation would be effective for the 2016 NFL League Year.”The relocation of one or more franchises requires a three-quarters vote of the league’s owners – at least 24 of 32 owners, according to the NFL. A vote is expected to come during the NFL owners meetings next week in Houston. Relocation to Los Angeles is the only item on the agenda for the meetings.
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