According to a number of recent reports, including a story by USA Today, the NFL's San Diego Chargers will officially be moving their team to Los Angeles beginning with the 2017 season.
Chargers' owner Dean Spanos released the following statement regarding the decision:
"San Diego has been our home for 56 years. It will always be part of our identity, and my family and I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the support and passion our fans have shared with us over the years. But today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers ... The Chargers are determined to fight for LA and we are excited to get started.”
Spanos' decision to move the franchise was unpopular with several long-time fans of the organization, as many reportedly began burning or otherwise destroying their San Diego jerseys and other merchandise as a symbol of their frustration.
The Chargers' outdated Qualcomm Stadium was cited as a primary reason for the decision to move the team, as it is regarded as one of the most run-down stadiums in the NFL today.
The Chargers had been attempting to generate funds to construct a new stadium for more than 15 years, but the team had frequent trouble receiving funding from the city of San Diego to do so. As a result, Spanos and other Chargers execs began seeking elsewhere for location alternatives.
At the start of 2016, the franchise attempted to join forces with the Oakland Raiders and share a stadium in Carson, but NFL owners rejected the prospect in favor of the Los Angeles Rams' plan to relocate from St. Louis last year.
After failing to convince the city of San Diego and its residents to pay for a new stadium, Spanos announced on Wednesday that the team would move to Los Angeles. Beginning with the 2017 season, the Los Angeles Chargers will play in the StubHub Center in Carson, California until a new stadium is constructed.
The decision to move will hit the team hard financially, as the Chargers now owe the city of San Diego $12.575 million for the early termination of their lease. Additionally, they owe the NFL a relocation fee of at least $550 million.
As a result of the move, the city of Los Angeles is now home to two NFL franchises after going 21 years without any. As for San Diego, the city has had a bad string of losing teams to other cities recently, including the NBA's Clippers and Rockets.