Tag:NFL Los Angeles
Posted on: January 9, 2012 12:54 pm

Chargers won't bolt on stadium lease in 2012

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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Posted on: January 19, 2011 11:35 pm

Chargers no longer selling Spanos' minority share

Posted by Will Brinson

The notion that the San Diego Chargers could be bolting for the bright lights of Los Angeles got a boost when the Chargers decided to sell owner Alex Spanos' 35 percent minority share of the team.

So Bolts fans should be pleased to hear the news that our Chargers Rapid Reporter Dan McLellan is dropping -- the team is no longer seeking a buyer for that minority share.

McLellan cites Mark Fabiani, the special counsel to team president Dean Spanos, as the source of the information, and notes that "the decision not to seek a buyer at this time is in large part due to the two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts."

Fans should also be pleased that it's a two-year period as well; if the Spanos family is dead set on keeping the Chargers in San Diego, that's an additional year that they're less likely to break the lease with the city on the stadium. (They have an option to not renew each year, according to earlier reports.)

It's not great news for Magic Johnson and the rest of the "bring football back to LA" contingent, but they've got a stadium to get in place first anyway.

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Posted on: December 16, 2010 8:43 am

New CBA primary obstacle to NFL in Los Angeles

Posted by Will Brinson

FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- The chatter surrounding an NFL team moving to Los Angeles has been heavy in recent months.

Magic Johnson is on board with bringing football back to the City of Angels, Bob Kraft's waxed optimistic about the move, and at least two NFL teams (the Chargers and the Vikings) have suspect stadium situations that make them prime candidates to move.

However, don't expect news on the LaLa front any time too soon -- Roger Goodell stated in his press conference following the owners' meetings that the primary obstacle to professional football in Los Angeles is currently the lack of a labor deal.

"I've said the No. 1 thing to make the economics work in Los Angeles is a new collective bargaining agreement," Goodell said. "I don't think it's a coincidence that we have not had a new stadium built since we entered into this collective bargaining agreement in 2006.

"The Giants and Jets stadium, the Dallas stadium and Kansas City were all far along in the process or at least along in the process that it couldn't be reversed. The economics of trying to build a stadium in the Los Angeles market are challenging and part of that challenge is the collective bargaining agreement so we have to get that resolved."

Goodell makes a salient point -- it's often assumed that once a group can find the funding there will eventually be a team that wants to jump into the nation's second-largest market.

But with the possibility of no football at all looming large in 2011, can it be assumed that there'll be football in Los Angeles soon? Of course not.

In fact, Goodell's words may serve as a nice (albeit not direct in any way) warning to any groups that want to try and pack up a club and drag them into downtown L.A. -- it's not going to be as easy as it looks, unless the relationship between a city and a club just completely dissolve in a quick fashion.

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Posted on: November 16, 2010 9:05 pm

Could minority sale of Chargers mean L.A. move?

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL returning to Los Angeles seems almost as foregone a conclusion as an 18-game schedule (although at least the latter is up for negotiation). To speed up the process, though, there would probably need to be some instability in ownership, which, apparently might be coming to San Diego.

According to Jon Weinbach of FanHouse, Chargers owner Alex Spanos is in poor health and his family has hired Goldman Sachs to sell a minority share of the team.

Each of his kids own 15 percent of the Chargers, while Spanos and his wife own 36 percent -- the section up for grabs is purportedly (according to what Mark Fabiani, the leader in trying to secure the Bolts a new stadium) only for "estate-planning purposes."

However, Weinbach reports that reps from Goldman have "recently met with several wealthy individuals" in Los Angeles about the minority stake up for sale.

Of course, if people with vested interest in the L.A. community suddenly owned part of a football team in San Diego, things could get a little spicy, especially since the Chargers can, ahem, bolt from their deal with Qualcomm Stadium via a buyout with the city of San Diego that's available, according to Weinbach, once a year.

These rumors stem from the recent Anschutz Entertainment Group plan to build a $725 million stadium near Staples Center and L.A. Live, a thriving entertainment section in downtown Los Angeles.

Someone from San Diego can certainly buy the stake, but it would take a pretty wealthy individual with a vested interest in helping the community, making some money and NFL football. So, I'm gonna lob someone out that could help keep the Chargers in place: Phil Mickelson.

The multiple Masters winner is a huge NFL fan, he's from San Diego, he has plenty of money and he's shown an affinity for smart business investments (see him owning all the Southern California franchise rights to Five Guys).

That's absolute conjecture (although I'm more than willing to play a round with Phil and discuss the matter, if he's free) but the point still remains -- while people around the Chargers will say that they don't have to get a non-L.A. investor to buy the minority share, it would certainly help keep the team in place.

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Posted on: October 21, 2010 9:37 pm

Kraft thinks NFL in LA 'in the next 5 years'

Posted by Will Brinson

The "NFL returns to Los Angeles" got a swift kick in the rumor mill butt Thursday, when Magic Johnson decided to let the world know that he would be very interested in bringing the sport back to the second biggest television market in the country.

Johnson, who recently sold a his share of the Los Angeles Lakers, told the Los Angeles Times that he'd be interested in bringing the sport back.

"Would I be interested? Of course I would be interested," Johnson said. "Have I talked to anybody about it? No. But I would love ... I would do that in two seconds."

And who can blame him? Bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles is a gold mine for anyone with the cash to pony up for it (Johnson qualifies), and plus, they talked about it in "Entourage," so it has to make sense from a business perspective!

Actually, someone equally as biz-savvy as Ari Gold agrees -- Patriots owner Bob Kraft told USA Today that he'd be surprised if the NFL didn't return to LA within the next five years.

"I'd be very surprised if it doesn't happen in the next five years," Kraft said Thursday. "We have to be in L.A. How can we not be in the second-largest city in America, which is a gateway to Asia and Mexico?"

Well, I'm not a geography major, but it sure seems like "Phoenix" and "Texas" are as nice of a gateway to Mexico as Los Angeles, but Kraft's point is a salient one -- the NFL could use a team in Los Angeles, if only because it's good for the business and good for the country.

After all, it's not fun to root against the Jaguars; a team in Los Angeles, though, reeks of a front-runner you can pull against.

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