Election Day may have sealed the fate of the Chargers and booked them a one-way ticket to Los Angeles.
According to the San Diego Tribune, San Diego residents on Tuesday voted 60% against Measure C, a ballot initiative that proposed an increased hotel tax and the allocation of public funds toward a new football stadium and convention center downtown.
From the time the ballot was proposed, polling showed it had almost no chance to pass. Franchise owner Dean Spanos still reportedly spent $10 million lobbying residents in favour of it, but now that it has failed it seems hard to imagine any scenario other than the Chargers moving to LA.
On Tuesday, Spanos released a statement thanking fans for their support. Aside from saying that he would continue to explore every possible option to keep the team in San Diego, he did not say what was next for the team.
Here’s the statement (via ProFootballTalk):
“Despite the fact that Measure C failed to receive a two-thirds majority, I wanted to reach out right away with a very sincere thank you for your loyal support as a fan and for considering our initiative.
There is much we can be proud of tonight: the 110,000 residents who qualified the measure in just six short weeks; the vocal and passionate support from our fan groups and corporate partners; the strong endorsements and hard work of numerous civic, business, and labour leaders; and the heartfelt efforts of our alumni and players.
In terms of what comes next for the Chargers, it’s just too early to give you an answer. 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.
The outpouring of support from friends like you, and so many others, has been heartwarming throughout the campaign and I will continue to be mindful of that in the weeks ahead.
Thank you, again, for believing in the Chargers. Everyone on the team and in my family appreciates your loyal support and continued patience, and we look forward to an exciting rest of the season.”
When NFL owners approved the Rams’ relocation to Los Angeles, the Chargers had the first rights to join them. Spanos maintained his desire to keep the team in San Diego, and the team does have its lease at the Qualcomm Center until 2020. But San Diego voters did the team no favours at the polls on Tuesday.
The one-year offer to join the Rams will expire January, meaning Spanos has the next few months to decide his team’s fate. According to Bleacher Report, Las Vegas is also an option.
The Chargers have played in San Diego since 1961, after just one year in LA.
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