Voters in San Diego on Tuesday rejected a ballot proposal to provide public funds to build the Chargers a new stadium, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the team will leave town.
Chargers owner Dean Spanos has said he is committed to keeping the team in San Diego. While Proposition C, which would have raised hotel taxes and contribute public money and land toward a downtown stadium and convention center, did not pass, Spanos is reportedly open to building a new stadium in Mission Valley, where Qualcomm Stadium currently sits.
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Even though Spanos had been told by advisers that Prop C would not pass — and its sound defeat was by 61 percent to 39 percent — Spanos spent more than $10 million of his own money to promote it prior to Tuesday’s election.
Spanos had options prior to this season. He could have agreed to join the Rams in Los Angeles, but according to Pro Football Weekly, Spanos did not want to be a “tenant” of Rams owner Stan Kroenke at the Rams’ future Inglewood stadium.
The Chargers’ lease at Qualcomm runs through 2020, and breaking it with a move north would have cost the team $15 million this year, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The NFL would also charge a relocation fee of up to $650 million.
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Instead of a difficult move to Los Angeles or even downtown San Diego, Spanos may now focus on trying to keep the team in Mission Valley, near Qualcomm’s current location. He has previously been opposed to building a new stadium in Mission Valley, but it may now be on a short list of options in San Diego. Instead of paying the relocation fee, Spanos would rather use a sum that large to remain in “America’s Finest City.”
“He obviously wants to stay in San Diego,” Marc Ganis, a consultant who worked with the Rams and Raiders when they left Los Angeles in 1995, told the Union-Tribune.
The NFL doesn’t exactly want to lose the San Diego market and Spanos doesn’t want to move the team. It’s now up to the city, Spanos and the league to find some middle ground.