The San Diego Chargers are no more. Chairman Dean Spanos announced Thursday the team will move to Los Angeles, ending a stay that began in 1961 as a member of the American Football League:
Los Angeles Chargers @Chargers
A letter from Dean Spanos https://t.co/rTNIvrsN1A2017-1-12 16:04:57
Brian McCarthy @NFLprguy
.@nflcommish statement on Chargers. https://t.co/1Z8KBX0vSm2017-1-12 17:29:53
The team revealed its new logo, as well, per Chris Brown of Bills.com:
Chris Brown @ChrisBrownBills
It's happening fast in SoCal. New logo & everything for Chargers. Kind of like the old AFL logo when they 1st started in LA. https://t.co/feU2bncZv02017-1-12 16:28:42
On Friday, the team revealed changes to the logo multiple times, per Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune:
Michael Gehlken @GehlkenNFL
Chargers have adjusted their social-media logo for third time in two days. Now reads: "Los Angeles Chargers." https://t.co/mpaLcoxWVb2017-1-13 23:57:35
Arash Markazi of ESPN reported the Chargers will have minicamp and OTAs in San Diego until July 1, when they will move north.
Spanos discussed the decision to relocate the team with ESPN, per Jim Trotter and Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com:
I'm looking forward, not backward. I spent half my life here. I leave behind a lot of friends and lot of great memories, but life goes on. There are always a lot of changes in life, and we know this is not going to be easy. But we made a decision, we're committed to it, and our family is 100 percent behind it. What's happened has happened.
"Heard from people from coast to coast today — SD city hall to NFL HQ," Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. "All expressed shock, said there was way for Chargers to stay."
San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer released a statement on the decision:
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport provided a statement from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
The statement from Los Angeles Mayor @ericgarcetti on the #Chargers moving to LA https://t.co/L9jbfl0q6T2017-1-12 16:48:30
We welcome the Chargers and look forward to working with them to provide NFL fans in the region and throughout the world with an unparalleled experience at the LA Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park. Our mission is to create a year-round global sports and entertainment destination and this is another important step in achieving that goal.
Trotter and Williams provided additional insight into the Chargers' move to Los Angeles:
Spanos is expected to pay the $550 million relocation fee over 10 years, rather than extend the payments beyond that for an additional $100 million. The club will pay roughly $12 million to buy out its Qualcomm Stadium lease in San Diego, according to one team source, then relocate its training facility to Orange County sometime before July 1, when the lease on its training complex expires. ...
The Chargers will play their home games the next two seasons at the 30,000-seat StubHub Center in Carson, California. They are promoting it as a "one-of-a-kind product" that gives fans an opportunity to be "up close and personal" with players. There is also the belief that it helps differentiate them from the Rams, who often appeared to be playing before a half-empty stadium at cavernous Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. ...
Spanos is intrigued by the idea of rebranding the team in Los Angeles but currently has no plans to do so. In the meantime, the organization will seek to reach out to fans in San Diego as well as Los Angeles.
"The decision to play at StubHub was made with the fan in mind," team president John Spanos said Tuesday, per Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register.
"More than anything I'm shocked," Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget said, per ESPN's Josina Anderson. "I didn't think it was going to happen. I thought we were going to stay in San Diego. ... I thought something would've got done and worked out. ... So I guess L.A. is our new home then."
The Chargers were given an option to relocate to Los Angeles last year as part of the agreement that sent the Rams franchise to Southern California. Ownership initially had until Jan. 15 to make a decision on relocation, but that date was pushed back to Jan. 17, per Williams.
Gehlken reported the front of Chargers Park was egged amid reports of relocation:
Michael Gehlken @GehlkenNFL
How's San Diego taking news of imminent relocation? Front door of Chargers Park egged tonight. San Diego police monitoring facility now. https://t.co/t0gYwfpauF2017-1-12 06:20:56
The move blocks the Raiders from relocating to Los Angeles. The Raiders franchise would have had the option had the Chargers decided to stay in San Diego.
The Chargers played their inaugural season (1960) in Los Angeles but have been a San Diego staple for the last 55-plus years. They won the 1963 AFL championship and made Super Bowl XXIX, losing to the San Francisco 49ers.
Spanos unsuccessfully tried to land a new stadium with taxpayer funding for the better part of two decades. Qualcomm Stadium, which opened in 1967, was the fifth-oldest NFL stadium in use at the time of the Chargers' announcement. While Soldier Field and Lambeau Field have undergone massive renovations for the sake of modernization, Qualcomm lagged behind.
In November, San Diego citizens voted against funding for a new Chargers stadium.
"We are going to diligently explore and weigh our options, and do what is needed to maintain our options, but no decision will be announced until after the football season concludes and no decision will be made in haste," Spanos wrote in a statement at the time.
Former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon was critical of San Diego and Oakland:
Rich Gannon @RichGannon12
If OAK & SD leave & it looks like they will, both mayors should resign! Embarrassing! I know for a fact how hard both teams worked to stay!2017-1-12 03:22:40
The move to L.A. gives the nation's second-biggest city two teams after going two decades without an NFL franchise. The Rams went a dismal 4-12 during their first campaign back in L.A. and may wind up as a second-tier team in their own city.
The Chargers struggled to a 5-11 record but have a franchise quarterback in Philip Rivers and an exciting young running back in Melvin Gordon, and they are in the midst of hiring a new coach.
A year ago, the Chargers chose to give San Diego one last shot to fund a new stadium. With the Raiders' potentially pouncing, however, economics finally won out, and a relationship of nearly six decades has come to a disappointing close.
Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.