By Will Brinson
The Chargers have an awkward termination clause in their stadium lease: for three months each year, they have an option to terminate the lease in full, owing $20-some million in bonds depending on what year they decide to terminate the lease. Last year, they announced in December that they wouldn't exercise the option.
This year, they waited until January, but the Chargers and the City of San Diego announced on Monday that football in San Diego is safe for 2012 as well.
"The City of San Diego and the Chargers continue to work closely together to explore publicly acceptable ways to build a Super Bowl-quality stadium on the bus maintenance yard site in the East Village of downtown San Diego," San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Chargers Owner Dean Spanos said in a joint statement. "To give this ongoing process every chance to succeed, the Chargers have announced that the team will not trigger the lease’s termination clause in 2012.
"Both the Mayor’s Office and the Chargers look forward to continuing their joint efforts to build a multi-use stadium that will benefit the entire region."
The Chargers lease doesn't actually expire until 2020, but the three-month window, which occurs between February and April, offers the Chargers a chance to ... bolt. They won't be doing that this year, despite increased speculation that the Chargers would be a perfect fit for football in Los Angeles.
"It’s nothing new," Chargers general counsel Mark Fabiani said. "We made it clear to AEG long ago that we’re not interested in their site. We’ve had a contentious relationship with them since we said we didn’t believe they could get it done, and it certainly appears there’s no chance they can get any construction started in 2012."
And there's the catch: there's no stadium in Los Angeles. There's not even ground broken on a stadium in Los Angeles. Even if the Chargers wanted to move, they couldn't be assured that there would be a new stadium ready for them and thus it makes little sense to move. Hence why they're already locked in to keeping the lease intact, before the expiration window even opens.
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