San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos didn’t get what he wanted out of Tuesday’s all-day NFL negotiations and 30-2 vote. However, he does have four options when it comes to the team's future.
NFL owners decided the Rams will leave St. Louis for Los Angeles and they gave the Chargers the option to go as a second L.A.-based team.
The NFL gave the framework for an agreement that includes options for the Chargers to play in Rams' owner Stan Kroenke’s new stadium, including both lease and equity possibilities. The Bolts will have to negotiate the terms.
So, now what?
At a news conference Wednesday, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and County Supervisor Ron Roberts framed the NFL’s rejection of the Chargers’ Carson stadium plan as “an opportunity for a fresh start” on San Diego stadium negotiations. City and county leaders even appear to be backing-off their previous stance that they’d need some type of substantial commitment from the Chargers to stay in San Diego before further exploring a downtown stadium option.
That leaves Spanos son A.G. Spanos, the Chargers’ president of business operations, crunching numbers and weighing their options. In the simplest terms, what are those options?
The Chargers could go to L.A. as partners. This is a costly option but probably closest to what Spanos wanted in the first place. If the team moves now, the relocation fee are about $550 million. Plus, the team would have to factor in the cost of actually moving, and loss of revenue until the Inglewood stadium is complete. They could go now or in 2017, but if they wait, that leaves the Rams time to gain fans, corporate deals, sponsors, etc. (Not to mention another awkward season before San Diegans.)
The Chargers could go to L.A. as tenants. This gives the Rams an advantage on fans, corporate deals, sponsors and media deals. Spanos would have to negotiate terms with Kroenke, who clearly has the upper-hand because of his wealth and business experience.
The Chargers could go “all in” on a San Diego stadium initiative. This is the riskiest option for the Chargers. If the ballot measure fails, there may not be time to still cut a deal with the Rams to share the Inglewood stadium. The Raiders might jump at the chance to go to L.A., so that would leave the Chargers hanging without many options left. The NFL is offering $100 million to the team (the Chargers or the Raiders or both) that will stay in their home market.
Chargers wait and see how a stadium initiative goes, and in the meantime, negotiate L.A. as a back-up plan. The dilemma for the Chargers here is that their leverage is waning. They haven’t been talking with city and county officials because they want a downtown location and the city is pushing the idea to build a new stadium on the Mission Valley site where Qualcomm now sits. The city will be unlikely to abandon that position unless they get a better sense of commitment to stay from the Chargers.
The Chargers met with the NFL late Tuesday night, to go over details of their option to move to Inglewood with the Rams. After that meeting, and a follow-up meeting early Wednesday morning Spanos says he still doesn’t know what he’s going to do.
In the light of day, there are still no clear answers on which way the Spanos are leaning. Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani sent NBC 7 the following statement after the mayor’s news conference today:
“The Chargers have been approved by the NFL to relocate to Los Angeles, and now that the NFL meetings are over Dean is going to take a few days to evaluate the franchise's new options.”
That clear things up?
The only certainty in this week’s news is that after telling San Diego they’re leaving for 14 years, the Chargers are still here.