Chargers bolt San Diego to become second NFL team in Los Angeles
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The San Diego Chargers said on Thursday they will move to Los Angeles this upcoming NFL season, ending sometimes tense negotiations for a new stadium in the city where the sports franchise has played for more than five decades.
Starting this fall, the Los Angeles area will have two National Football League teams in a potential boost to the region's leisure and tourism industry. The nation's second-largest city had no NFL team from 1994 until the St. Louis Rams moved and began playing there last year.
The Chargers played their first season in Los Angeles in 1960 before moving to San Diego the following year. Team owner Dean Spanos said in an open letter on the team's website San Diego had shaped the team's identity.
"But today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers," Spanos wrote.
In November, San Diego voters rejected a ballot measure that would have raised hotel occupancy taxes to help pay for a proposed $1.8 billion downtown stadium project.
The team and its supporters have actively sought a new stadium for about a decade and Spanos for a time negotiated with city officials over the proposal. But talks between the team and city officials appeared to hit a standstill in 2015.
"As difficult as the news is for Charger fans, I know Dean Spanos and his family did everything they could to try to find a viable solution in San Diego," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.
The Chargers will pay the NFL a relocation fee of $550 million upfront or $650 million if paid over 10 years, team spokeswoman Jennifer Rojas said. Continued...