Thursday January 14th, 2016

The Rams are moving from St. Louis to Los Angeles, but will the San Diego Chargers join them?

The Chargers and Rams have started negotiating on a possible shared stadium in Inglewood, Calif. But how the Chargers will proceed—whether to move to Los Angeles or remain in San Diego—remains uncertain.

As the Chargers edge toward possible relocation, here’s a look at how the relocation process could unfold. 

When would the Chargers have to decide on relocation?

The NFL has given the Chargers until March 23 to decide whether they want to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season. But the city wants to hold a public referendum in June that would allow voters to decide whether to give the team $350 million in public funding for a new stadium in San Diego. If the Chargers choose to bolt for the 2016 season—if they can work out a stadium deal with the Rams—then the team will not know whether they would have received the funding.

The NFL's timeline gives the Chargers until January 16, 2017 to decide if they want to join the Rams in its Inglewood stadium project, meaning that the team could play the 2016 season in San Diego and then choose to leave. 

The Chargers applied to trademark “Los Angeles Chargers” and “LA Chargers” two days after the the Rams’ relocation was approved by the league’s owners, according to The Los Angeles Times.

If the Chargers decide against relocating, the NFL will give the Raiders the option to move to Los Angeles. 

The rise, fall and return of the NFL in Los Angeles

Is sharing their only option in L.A.?

For now, the Chargers essentially have to choose whether they want to take a deal from Rams owner Stan Kroenke or from public officials in San Diego. The NFL has given the Chargers until January 2017 to negotiate a partnership with the Rams in Inglewood to possibly share a facility. 

Where would they play before the Inglewood Stadium is built?

Until a new stadium is built, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum would reportedly be open to hosting both the Rams and the Chargers while the Inglewood stadium is constructed. 

Would they share a stadium with the Rams forever?

The Jets and Giants worked together to privately finance their shared stadium. The Chargers’ initial plan was to build a joint stadium with the Raiders in Carson, Calif. That proposal was rejected by the league’s owners. Kroenke plans on building a stadium in Inglewood, which is projected to open in 2019. The Chargers would join the Rams in the Inglewood stadium under the new deal, but for now, it is unclear what role Chargers ownership would play in the stadium project in this scenario.

The Inglewood stadium project is being privately financed and will receive no public funding, though there are tax breaks built into the plan. It is estimated that Kroenke will spend more than $800 million on the Inglewood project. 

Why don’t they just build a new stadium in San Diego?

There is a proposal for a $1.1 billion stadium in San Diego that would require $121 million in contributions from both county and city taxpayers. The city would also fund an addition $242 million by selling land around Qualcomm Stadium. The funding would need to be approved by San Diego taxpayers in a vote, which the city wants to hold in June.

The NFL contributes up to $200 million to help teams build new stadiums, and the league said it would throw in $100 million more as an extra incentive for San Diego. 

The big problem: The city of San Diego and the Chargers broke off negotiations over the summer. But San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer said last week that the city was open to “good faith” negotiations with the team. 

Could the Raiders and Chargers have shared a stadium?

The Raiders and Chargers proposed a plan to share a new stadium in Carson, but it did not get the 24 votes needed for approval, with the NFL instead deciding to green–light the Rams' relocation plan.

So what about the Raiders?

The Raiders will play the 2016 season in Oakland, but if the Chargers decline to relocate to Los Angeles, the NFL would give the Raiders the option to move back to L.A. The Raiders have also publicly flirted with San Antonio.

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