LOS ANGELES—The Chargers are moving to Los Angeles after 56 years in San Diego, team owner Dean Spanos announced on the team’s website, Chargers.com, on Thursday, January 12.
“After much deliberation, I have made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2017 NFL season,” Spanos wrote. “San Diego has been our home for 56 years. It will always be part of our identity, and my family and I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the support and passion our fans have shared with us over the years.”
The Chargers will join the Los Angeles Rams in a $2.66 billion stadium that is currently being constructed in Inglewood. The team must pay a $550 million relocation fee for the move.
Spanos stressed that the Chargers must find success in order to earn the support of a Los Angeles community that already boasts several high-profile collegiate and professional teams.
“LA is a remarkable place, and while we played our first season there in 1960 and have had fans there ever since, our entire organization knows that we have a tremendous amount of work to do,” he wrote. “We must earn the respect and support of LA football fans. We must get back to winning. And, we must make a meaningful contribution, not just on the field, but off the field as a leader and champion for the community.”
County Supervisor Ron Roberts had worked to keep the Chargers in San Diego for the last two years, and was critical of the team’s departure.
“The Chargers will stand next to Donald Sterling in the Hall of Shame,” said Roberts, comparing the team to the former owner of the Clippers that moved the NBA franchise from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1984. Sterling was eventually banned from the NBA after being recorded making racist comments.
“It hurts, but we will move on without them. San Diego is a great community and we are not dependent on the Chargers,” added Roberts.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell empathized with Chargers fans in a statement, but insisted that the team did everything it could to find a new stadium in San Diego.
“For more than a decade, the San Diego Chargers have worked diligently toward finding a local stadium solution, which all sides agreed was required,” Goodell said. “Relocation is painful for teams and communities. It is especially painful for fans, and the fans in San Diego have given the Chargers strong and loyal support for more than 50 years, which makes it even more disappointing that we could not solve the stadium issue.”
San Diego voters rejected a proposed tax increase in 2016 for a combined stadium and convention center in downtown, which would have presumably kept the Chargers in San Diego.
The Chargers have already released a new logo that features the letters “L” and “A,” and loosely resembles the Los Angeles Dodgers renowned logo.