Los Angeles Chargers  

 

Chargers owner still weighing options tied to potential relocation

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Chargers owner Dean Spanos and other team executives have a meeting scheduled for later this week with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other San Diego business leaders, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation. These meetings likely will continue until the January 15 deadline to decide whether to move in with the Rams in Los Angeles.

Spanos has not made a firm decision on what he'll do and if he'll move. He's gathering information, keeping an open mind, and going over what scenarios might work.

Several sources believe, a month out, that the Chargers are leaning toward moving to L.A. However, negotiations often do not really heat up until closer to the deadline, so it's hard to imagine San Diego has put forward its best proposal to keep the team from moving.

A source informed of the process said the Chargers and Rams have had a deal since January -- what was presented in Houston -- for what would happen if the Chargers joined them. It's simply a matter of the Chargers deciding whether to do it.

People who are in regular contact with Spanos believe he would like to stay in San Diego if possible. That is not new or surprising. Spanos is tired of the uncertainty and would like more answers about the situation. Both sides are frustrated with the back-and-forth uncertainty.

Perhaps this week will answer the question, does San Diego have something actionable and concrete, as opposed to the stadium referendum that failed? The question was asked of people involved in this situation: What could city officials in San Diego do to convince the Chargers to stay?

One option is to make a commitment to show some real support for a new stadium for the Chargers with no referendum attached and no contingencies. The city could also make a proposal on another site, which wouldn't be ideal but perhaps better than the alternative of moving to L.A. They could show they are committed to something and that there is an end in sight.

There are things to like regarding a possible move to L.A. -- the franchise value would likely double. They wouldn't have the risk of building a stadium. Staying in San Diego with no answers could get complicated, with their lease expiring in 2020.

That said, San Diego is home to the Spanos family and the Chargers. There is a lot to like in their current home, as well, including the fact that their fan base is there.

There are two primary options for Spanos: Move to L.A. to play alongside the Rams, who have been welcoming, or turn down the L.A. option and make the best of the situation in San Diego. That might not lead to immediate answers. The idea of extending the L.A. option did not come up in recent discussions, a source said.

As for the referendum that did not pass, it was disappointing that it only garnered 43 percent of the vote. They could have extended their L.A. option if the vote had passed, and now it can't be automatically extended. Plus, if Spanos delays the move to L.A. for two years to try to work something out in San Diego, people informed of the situation say, what will change in 24 months?

That said, the Raiders give the Chargers some breathing room. They could change things a bit regarding a possible move to Las Vegas.

Last week, the Raiders presented a plan for a possible Vegas stadium to a small group of owners that would include them working with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and Las Vegas Sands Corp. With the help of Goldman Sachs advisors, they also presented a plan without Sands -- if they can't do a deal with Adelson (as the two sides are currently negotiating).

A source informed of the situation said the Raiders are confident a deal gets done with Adelson and his group.

If the Raiders do their Vegas deal, there is no longer urgency for the Chargers to make a decision on Los Angeles. Spanos won't need to ask for an extension for their L.A. option because, presumably, the Rams won't yank it away. Owner Stan Kroenke is building a stadium for two teams and that won't change.

If the Raiders take themselves out of the L.A. picture, the next deadline for the Chargers may be when they sell tickets. That's in the spring. Not that anyone would want more time, but they'll have it.

In other words, so much is left to happen -- which explains why Spanos has said he won't address the team's future until after the season.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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