SBD/January 16, 2013/Franchises

Chargers Decline Annual Option To Leave Qualcomm, Will Not File L.A. Application

Chargers will stay at Qualcomm "despite empty seats, TV blackouts, falling revenue"
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner yesterday said that the Chargers "would not exercise their annual option to leave Qualcomm Stadium," according to a front-page piece by Craig Gustafson of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Filner added that he would "do everything in his power to keep the NFL team, which is seeking a new stadium, from leaving San Diego." Gustafson writes Filner's announcement "was not unexpected" (SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, 1/16). Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani confirmed that the team will not "file an application to explore a move to Los Angeles." The announcement, coming on the same day the Chargers introduced new coach Mike McCoy, "was expected despite empty seats, TV blackouts, falling revenue and thus-far failed efforts toward a new downtown stadium." The move is "a blow to the NFL hopes of Los Angeles, which is looking to lure a team to town immediately but has no realistic suitors." The Chargers were "at the top of many lists of likely LA franchises given their proximity and stadium struggles." Filner said, "I'm going to do everything I can to make sure our Bolts don't bolt" (AP, 1/15). In L.A., Sam Farmer writes Filner's announcement "is not a guarantee that there will be no NFL in L.A. next season ... nor is it a guarantee the Chargers will never relocate." The Chargers "have to make the same decision whether to stay next season, and each year after unless there’s a change in their lease terms." L.A. at the moment is a "back-burner issue for the league, and probably will continue to be at least until there’s some resolution to the AEG sale" (L.A. TIMES, 1/16). 

IN NEED OF A RE-CHARGE: Chargers President & Chair Dean Spanos said of McCoy and GM Tom Telesco, "We needed change. The dynamic of the two individuals we got is perfect for the change I want." In San Diego, Kevin Acee writes neither McCoy nor Telesco have "held a top job before," so "we don’t know how they’ll do." Spanos, who "seems energized by the process of change, acknowledged he doesn’t know." Acee: "Folks, this is change. And it does seem right." During their respective introductory press conferences, it was "obvious this is without a doubt a different duo." Telesco is "engaging," while McCoy "seizes a room" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/16).
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