The Chargers officially filed for relocation on Monday, and Chairman of the Board Dean Spanos explained what went into the decision and what to expect in the coming weeks.
Question: Why have the Chargers filed for relocation, and why hasn’t it worked in San Diego?
Spanos: “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. I promise you, it wasn’t an easy decision to come to. I’ve lived here 31 years of my life, and that is almost half of my life. I have all my friends here, and a lot of great memories. Not just with the football team, but with the rest of my life how it all played out here. So it was very difficult to come to this decision. It’s been 14 years that we’ve been working very hard to try and get something done here. We’ve had nine different proposals that we’ve made, and all of them were basically rejected by the city. Over 25% of our business comes from Riverside County, Orange County and the Los Angeles County area. Another team or teams going in there would have a huge impact on that. I think that is what really was the catalyst that got this whole thing going because 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.”
Question: How tough of a decision has this been for you?
Spanos: “I’ve said all along, and I still say this; we have never wanted to leave. Why would you want to leave San Diego? It’s a great city with great people. And surely, this decision to file has nothing to do with the fans. They have been great and they’ve been supportive. It’s really been the inability of the city at the political level to get any kind of public funding or any kind of a vote to help subsidize a stadium. This current process that’s proposed by the mayor, it runs past the time frames where you need to have an answer. It really puts the burden on the team if you are not successful in having a positive vote. It’s not because you didn’t try, but at the end of the day there may not be, and probably most likely would not be, an alternative for the team.”
Question: What’s going to happen over the next coming weeks?
Spanos: “This week on Wednesday there are some more updates for the committees that we will be presenting to. But the following week on the 12th and 13th of January, the owners will come together and come to some resolve. There is no certainty on anything. As I sit here, this is a very fluid situation. You read all this stuff in the paper and everybody is tallying votes, but nobody knows anything for sure. But as we’ve said all along, whatever the decision of the owners is, we will abide by.”
Question: Can you take us through what you see some of the things could come out of these meetings?
Spanos: “It could be the Carson site is approved, it could be that the Inglewood site is approved and it could be that neither site is approved. Those are the three possibilities.”
*Question: If the Chargers are not going to move to Los Angeles, what happens here in San Diego moving forward? *
Spanos: “We’ll be back here, and we’ll be here for the next year for sure. We’ll look at all the possibilities obviously with the city, and see what our alternatives could be.”