The NFL owners’ decision to move the Rams to Los Angeles provides the City of San Diego and the San Diego Chargers “an opportunity for a fresh start”, officials said Wednesday.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and County Supervisor Ron Roberts addressed the NFL's rejection of the Carson stadium plan.
In selecting the Rams as the new LA-based team, the owners also offered Chargers owner Dean Spanos the option to move to Los Angeles as a second team.
Spanos has told NBC 7 he plans to take a few weeks to look at all the options before making a decision. Chargers officials will consider if having a home base in the Los Angeles market and paying the expected $550 million relocation fee is more lucrative than staying in San Diego and trying to get a new facility built there.
Of course, Roberts and Faulconer have said they will negotiate with the Chargers but only if they abandon any plans to move to Los Angeles.
The Chargers broke off talks with the city after two brief sessions in June. But Faulconer and Roberts said they are willing to go back to the table. They say the City would even consider building an NFL stadium downtown - something that was not in the plans last year.
“Today isn’t about the past. It’s about the future," Faulconer said. "It’s about the opportunity that we have, if San Diego and the Chargers can work together as a team."
Roberts described himself as an optimistic person saying, "It is a new day. Think of how much this playing field has changed in the last 24 hours."
After Tuesday night's announcement by the NFL, a spokesman for City Councilman Scott Sherman, in whose district Qualcomm Stadium is located, told NBC 7 San Diego that the city’s message to the Chargers would be along the lines of: “The negotiating table is always open.”
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said there is still time to reach a deal with the team if the team wants to stay.
"A legitimate, financed, agreed-upon plan can be presented to the voters within the time-frame that the NFL has given us," he said.
If the team opts to leave, its annual window to give notice of intention to end its lease runs for three months beginning Feb. 1.
If notice is given, the franchise will be on the hook to pay the city $15 million left on a $50 million bond debt stemming from the 1997-98 renovation of the stadium, after which Qualcomm assumed naming rights for filling an $18 million funding gap.
Chargers Park, the team’s Murphy Canyon headquarters and training facility, would revert back to the city, which undertook construction as part of the renovation arrangement.