Chargers Owner Dean Spanos Emphatically Denies London Rumors
COSTA MESA, Calif. — Amid a report that the Chargers could abandon Los Angeles after three years and pursue a relocation to London, team owner Dean Spanos emphatically denied the rumors.
"It's total f------ b-------, OK?" Spanos said Tuesday. "We're not going to London. We're not going anywhere. We're playing in Los Angeles. This is our home. This is where we're planning to be for a long f------ time. Period. OK?"
A report published Monday by The Athletic said the Chargers "would at least listen if the NFL approached them about London as a possible option" for relocation, a topic that has surfaced multiple times since the team arrived in Los Angeles in 2017. The lack of support from local fans and an increasingly adversarial atmosphere in the Chargers' home stadium have furthered the narrative.
The NFL has steadily built an international following over the past two decades, playing multiple regular-season games in Europe and Mexico in recent seasons. The success of the international push has raised the possibility of a franchise relocating to London on a permanent basis, a topic commissioner Roger Goodell has broached in the past.
"We're still trying to make sure we can do it from a proper competitive standpoint," Goodell said in 2016. "You don't want to put a team over there and have them at a competitive disadvantage. And then the logistics, how you work that out. That's not easy."
Whether the NFL has worked out the logistics of moving a franchise to London remain unclear. Already, teams participating as part of the International Series have altered schedules before games and receive a bye the following week. That format can prove troublesome when just arranging a handful of contests, all one-off appearances for the clubs involved. It becomes a much larger issue with the same team involved in every game played in London.
And though the league has its eye on the European market, the Chargers have invested considerable resources into their move to Los Angeles. They begin play next season in SoFi Stadium, a state-of-the-air facility that will also serve as the home of the Los Angeles Rams and host Super Bowl LVI in February 2022.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH