Chargers announce they’re staying in San Diego for 2016 (but leave LA option open)

Where will the Chargers end up hanging their helmets?

Aaron Doster

The Chargers are staying in San Diego for the 2016 season – even if they continue to flirt with the Rams about possibly moving to Los Angeles and sharing a stadium.

Chargers chairman Dean Spanos announced on Friday that the team will stay put for now, and in a statement, said he hopes to keep the team there. 

Today I decided our team will stay in San Diego for the 2016 season and I hope for the long term in a new stadium.

I have met with Mayor Faulconer and Supervisor Roberts and I look forward to working closely with them and the business community to resolve our stadium dilemma. We have an option and an agreement with the Los Angeles Rams to go to Inglewood in the next year, but my focus is on San Diego. 

This has been our home for 55 years, and I want to keep the team here and provide the world-class stadium experience you deserve. 

Earlier on Friday the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the Chargers and Rams have agreed in principle to a deal that would allow them to share a stadium in Inglewood.

The Rams also released a statement on Friday.

"We look forward to partnering with the Chargers in Inglewood, but the decision of course is Dean's to make," it read in part.

The Chargers have the option to join the Rams, who are returning to the West Coast after leaving the City of Angels in 1995. Despite the announcement by Spanos, the Chargers can decide by Jan. 15, 2017 to leave San Diego for the subsequent season.

From the SDUT:

The next step is for Chargers chairman Dean Spanos to announce his decision about whether he will give his adopted hometown another try. Two sources indicated Friday that announcement is imminent, but they did not provide specifics.

In other words, this could just be more posturing to get a new stadium deal out of the city of San Diego, which is still likely being bandied about. 

Spanos' announcement came more than two weeks after NFL owners voted to approve Rams owner Stan Kroenke's plans to build a stadium in Inglewood. A competing proposal by Spanos and Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis to build a stadium in Carson was defeated.

While the owners gave Spanos the option to relocate to Los Angeles, the league said the Chargers and Raiders would each get an additional $100 million to try to get new stadium deals in their home markets. That money is in addition to a $200 million loan from the league available to each team.

"We are very supportive of the decision by Dean Spanos to continue his efforts in San Diego and work with local leaders to develop a permanent stadium solution," Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "NFL ownership has committed $300 million to assist in the cost of building a new stadium in San Diego. I have pledged the league's full support in helping Dean to fulfill his goal."

The next steps are uncertain. Faulconer has insisted a stadium measure be put on the ballot. Faulconer and Roberts said earlier this month that a November ballot issue is more realistic than trying to rush one onto the June ballot.

They have also held firm on their offers of public money: $200 million from the city and $150 million from the county. Their proposal calls for the Chargers to contribute $353 million, which could be defrayed by the additional $100 million from the NFL and a naming rights deal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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