The Chargers will not be joining the Rams in Los Angeles after all – at least not yet.
Dean Spanos, owner and chairman of the San Diego NFL team, announced Friday that the Chargers will play in San Diego next season.
In an open letter addressed to Chargers fans posted on the team’s website, Spanos said he plans to keep his team in the city it has called home for 55 years.
But while Spanos has promised the team won’t bolt to Los Angeles this year, the owner added he has reached an agreement with Stan Kroenke and his L.A. Rams that would allow the Chargers to relocate in 2017 if the franchise can’t reach a stadium deal in San Diego.
“My focus is on San Diego,” Spanos added. “I want to keep the team here and provide the world-class stadium experience you deserve.”
The National Football League granted permission earlier this month for the Rams to relocate from St. Louis for the 2016 season. The Rams seized the opportunity, and the team has already begun accepting $100 deposits for season tickets.
The Rams will play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum until their $1.8 billion-plus stadium in Inglewood is completed in time for the 2019 season.
As part of the NFL’s approval, the Chargers – which had proposed a stadium in Carson that the team planned to share with the Oakland Raiders – were given the option to join the Rams in Los Angeles. However, the NFL also offered both the Chargers and Raiders $100 million to stay put.
The Chargers’ decision could hinge on a June vote in which San Diego residents will decide whether or not to contribute $350 million in public financing toward a new stadium.
“Everyone on both sides of the table in San Diego must now determine the best next steps and how to deploy the additional resources provided by the NFL,” Spanos said. “I am committed to looking at this with a fresh perspective and new sense of possibility.”