The Chargers quest to move to Los Angeles has reportedly hit another roadblock—negotiations between the two sides has halted, permanently, and it appears, at least for now, the Chargers will play next season back in San Diego at Qaulcomm Stadium.
XTRA Sports 1360 radio personality Steve Hartman was first to report the story, saying he spoke to a Rams official who filled him in as to the impasse in talks between the two teams. The two teams have been trying to find a middle-ground as co-tenants in Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke’s new football palace to be constructed in Inglewood—the NFL owners approved the two teams’ request to move to Los Angeles during a vote at a meeting in Houston earlier this month.
According to Hartman’s source, the biggest issue between the two clubs has been developing a business relationship that works for both teams—Chargers owner Dean Spanos had originally wished to partner with Raiders owner Mark Davis in the move, saying bluntly he didn’t trust Kroenke enough to do business with him. Kroenke has offered Spanos a lease agreement, or an equity partnership in the new stadium, according to multiple reports, which would shoulder some of the construction costs. But Spanos’ distrust of Kroenke is becoming more readily apparent—during the aforementioned owners meetings, he added that Kroenke “doesn’t play by the rules.”
The NFL has given the Chargers a March 23 deadline to declare where they will play next season, so that the league can finalize its schedule for next season—before that could happen, however, the Spanos’ could have to take another seat at the negotiating table with the City of San Diego; their lease is currently expired at Qualcomm Stadium. Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani has maintained the Bolts preference is to play in Los Angeles, but the team has not ruled out a return to San Diego, if even for just one season.
Further, the NFL has imposed a January 17, 2017 date on the Chargers to submit a final decision on whether or not they will move to Los Angeles. They also have the option of declining the move completely, and re-visiting the idea of building a new facility in San Diego. That could be the most difficult option for the team—San Diego City and County officials have made it clear they will do no such business with Spanos unless they see more than legitimate effort from his camp to stay in the city.
If negotiations with the city weren’t enough, before the owners meetings, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement which opined the San Diego proposal to build a new stadium was not a viable project. The project was referred to as “unsatisfactory and inadequate,” in Goodell’s report, which was sent to all 32 NFL owners.
The Rams, who played in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994, are facing a bit of trouble on the move front of their own—a group of Rams PSL holders, north of 50,000. have filed a class-action lawsuit against the team, claiming they should have the right to transfer their seat licenses to Los Angeles.
David Barclay is an NFL Insider for byteclay.com. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DJamesIII