Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos has declined interviews with most San Diego media outlets. But he is really making the rounds up in Los Angeles.
Spanos fired off a prepared statement, via the team’s website, before boarding a plane to L.A. to start trying to earn favor in the team’s new market.
In an interview with KNBC’s Fred Roggin on AM 570, Spanos outlined his thought process and how he landed on finally moving the Chargers to L.A.
“It was an emotional decision,” said Spanos, “but we’ve been working for 15 years to try and get something done in San Diego. This last year we had a big initiative and we were unsuccessful. We only got 43% of the vote. At the end of the day it was the right decision to make.”
The Chargers can claim they’ve worked for 15 years to try and get something done but the reality is they only actually put together a stadium proposal for the first time in 2015 (the unsuccessful Measure C that received that 43% vote).
As for the fan base they are leaving behind? The one that supported it for 55 years?
“We’re looking forward,” said Spanos. “We’re happy to be here. We’re excited to be here. My wife’s from here. My sons went to school here. We’ve been a part of L.A. in a small way for the last 40 years.”
When asked if the lack of stadium progress in San Diego led him to the point that moving to a facility in Los Angeles was the only remedy and that’s why he had to make the decision Spanos again went to the talking points.
“I didn’t have to do anything. I thought it was the right decision for a lot of different reasons. It was difficult but at the end of the day you’ve got to look forward.”
Spanos also talked about the new stadium that Stan Kroenke is building in Inglewood … the one where the Chargers will be renters … and said it is a great economic opportunity for them. He also acknowledged the team has an “uphill battle” when it comes to building a fan base in Los Angeles.
“I’m not expecting anything Day 1. I think this is going to take two or three years to really build up the respect of the fans. It’s a work in progress but come the opening of the stadium in 2019 we’ll be ready.”
They are off to a rocky start. The team’s new Los Angeles Chargers logo has been met with mostly negative reaction.
It was brought up to Spanos, who tried to be neutral.
"Yeah, I think I heard something about that. I don't know if this is going to be permanent or if it's going to be the introductory logo into the marketplace. My son is handling all that so I'd have to defer to him on all that."
Oh, and if you think they are going to rebrand and start fresh in their new home, you would be incorrect.
“We are heading in the direction definitively to be the Los Angeles Chargers.”
So he is taking the name from the city, too. Not the best of days for San Diego football fans.