SBD/Issue 55/Franchises

Will Chargers Make Great Escape From San Diego To L.A.?

Beginning yesterday, the Chargers have 60 days to "trigger an escape clause in their Qualcomm Stadium lease, the first step toward potential relocation," according to Sam Farmer of the L.A. TIMES, who cited sources as saying that the team will activate the clause once "certain financial conditions are met." Farmer: "Further complicating matters, San Diego is hosting the Super Bowl on Jan. 26, leading some people to believe the Chargers will wait until a day after the game to activate their out clause." Upon activating the escape clause, the Chargers are "free to shop around for offers from other cities. When the clause is triggered, the clock starts ticking on a 90-day negotiating period between the Chargers and San Diego. But if plans for a new stadium are not already in the pipeline, it's unlikely much will be accomplished during that three-month span." Chargers stadium consultant Mark Fabiani: "Our basic position is we need to start talking soon." San Diego Super Bowl Host Committee Chair Ron Fowler said, "About 20% of the people here really want to keep the Chargers, and another 20% would really like to see them go. The other 60%, the silent majority, is on the fence about the whole thing" (L.A. TIMES, 12/1). More Fabiani: "We believe we have tried everything possible to avoid being in the trigger situation, but the mayor's response has been to defer completely to his task force, which from the beginning was not scheduled to finish its work until after the trigger period." In San Diego, Norberto Santana Jr. wrote that the Citizens' Task Force on Chargers Issues "is expected to see a presentation by the Chargers in mid-January on the team's redevelopment options for the city-owned 166-acre Qualcomm Stadium site. The panel is then scheduled to issue a report on its recommendations to the City Council in February" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/1). Meanwhile, in San Diego, Tim Sullivan wrote, "Waiting on a Task Force recommendation is specious. ... What's the problem with seeking a suitable frame for the Task Force's work in progress? What's [San Diego Mayor Dick] Murphy's point in summarily rejecting the Chargers' proposal as 'ridiculous,' without advancing a more palatable plan?" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/30).

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