A year ago, Los Angeles didn’t have any NFL teams — now it will have two.
San Diego Chargers chairman Dean Spanos on Thursday announced plans to move north to the City of Angels in 2017 in a letter posted to the team’s Twitter account — which already bills the team as “Los Angeles Chargers.”
The team’s decision comes less than three months after San Diego voters rejected a team-sponsored ballot measure seeking a hotel tax increase of $1.15 billion to help fund a $1.8 billion stadium and convention center in the city, according to the Associated Press.
“San Diego has been our home for 56 years,” Spanos said in the letter. “It will always be part of our identity, and my family and I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the support and passion our fans have shared with us over the years. But today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers.”
A letter from Dean Spanos pic.twitter.com/rTNIvrsN1A
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) January 12, 2017
Spanos had been trying to negotiate with the City of San Diego for a new playing venue to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium, but the deal appears to have hit a stalemate.
The Chargers finished the 2016 season with an average of 57,024 fans per game — an NFL-worst 80 percent attendance, according to SB Nation, but it was the struggle to fund a new home that spurred the move. On the field, the team finished with a 5-11 record, landing at the bottom of the AFC West.
The Chargers first began life in Los Angeles in 1959 as part of the American Football League, under original owner hotel heir Barron Hilton, son of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton.
The team only spent one season in L.A., before moving south to play at Balboa Stadium in Balboa Park, and eventually settled in the then-newly constructed Qualcomm Stadium in 1967.
Now they’re set to join the ailing Rams as the second team in Los Angeles. It is expected that they will eventually share the $2.6 billion stadium that Rams owner Stan Kroenke is currently building in Inglewood, which is scheduled to open in 2019.