Oh boy. There was a storm brewing while we all slept, cozy in our beds, over a potential move to Los Angeles for the Chargers.
Don't look at me as a source of information, I intend on keeping this an opinion piece based in layman's terms. Here are the most recent developments:
- Magic Johnson, the Hall of Fame NBA player, has sold his ownership stake of the Los Angeles Lakers and announced a partnership with Phil Anschutz (who owns/runs AEG) to help bring the NFL to Los Angeles (and most specifically, downtown L.A.). Anschutz already has ownership stakes in the Lakers, L.A. Kings, the Staples Center and the Home Depot Center. Basically, if you're looking to move to L.A. and gain an owner who could help you get a new stadium....Anschutz is your guy.
- It would appear San Diego has gone quiet on the Chargers options here. There was much conversation about the city making room in the budget to help finance a downtown stadium, and that the team was also looking into the cost of renovating Qualcomm Stadium, and then.....nothing. I imagine there's a chance this conversation comes back around, but there must be some reason it went so quiet. Last we heard, Fabiani was saying that even with the help of the city that the Chargers would need a loan from the NFL (who was saying they couldn't afford another loan) to put a stadium in San Diego.
- Overnight, a radio station in Toronto reported that 35% of the Chargers was sold to Anschutz and AEG. Mark Fabiani, the Chargers special counsel for new stadium discussions, has said in the past that if AEG were to buy Alex Spanos' share of the team (36%) that San Diegans should be worried about the team moving to L.A. Fabiani is not one to make those statements likely, so let me translate: "If AEG owns 35% of the Chargers, they are or soon will be the Los Angeles Chargers".
- Fabiani is the only one who has responded to the report thusfar, saying in a statement "There is no truth to the rumor out of Toronto that the Chargers have agreed to sell a portion of the team to Mr. Anschutz." Whew, that was a close one. Just kidding, I am not that naive. Basically, what Fabiani just said is "We haven't had a Press Conference yet." He neither confirmed nor denied anything.
So, what should Charger fans take from all of this? Well, understand two things. One, where there is smoke there is fire. If somebody got this report in Toronto, there's a good chance that discussions are nearing the point of a final sale. What was probably passed along is "Things are going smoothly, the sale will be final soon", and someone ran with it. Two, the sale is not final. San Diego still has time, and a chance, to give the Chargers something to make them walk away from that negotiating table. What that is, I have no idea, but a chance is a chance and I'm sure San Diego's best are brainstorming this issue right now.
I don't want to go off on too much of a tangent about this, but there is no reason for anger here. The team really has been patient in trying to work things out with the city, but unfortunately all of this has come to a head in a time of bad economy. The Chargers and their owners seem to be doing what any good business owner would do by taking the best offer and the best opportunity to grow themselves from just another football team into one of the league's biggest brands. It's just business.