Sportswriter with history of citing unsourced rumors says Chargers are moving to L.A., maybe

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, who two weeks ago wrote that San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos had little choice but to share digs with the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood now that his request for $1.1 billion in public funds for a new stadium-convention center complex was crushed at the polls, is doubling down on that assertion, saying talks between the two teams are continuing to “improve in tenor.” His source? “League sources.”

La Canfora has a bit of a track record now of making anonymously sources predictions on NFL stadium deals, so let’s see how well he’s done in the past:

  • October 2012: NFL would rather have stadium built at Dodger Stadium than either City of Industry or the downtown “Farmers Field” site. Verdict: Hard to say, as none of the three sites ended up being approved.
  • September 2015: NFL owners can’t agree on whether to approve the Inglewood or Carson stadium plans. Verdict: Maybe at the time, though they did end up coming to an agreement just four months later.
  • October 2015: Rams owner Stan Kroenke would be willing to share his Inglewood stadium with another team. Verdict: True! Though how willing, we’re still waiting to see.
  • October 2015: St. Louis could come up with a stadium plan good enough to keep the league from approving a Rams move, but not so good that Kroenke wouldn’t refuse to take it and then move somewhere else, like maybe London. Verdict: Yeah, that didn’t happen.
  • December 2015: If denied the chance to move to L.A., Kroenke could sell the Rams to someone in St. Louis and buy the Denver Broncos instead. Verdict: We’ll never know.

Add it all up, and you get a reporter with lots of insider league contacts, and the willingness to run with any rumor that they’re telling him. Which doesn’t make the rumors wrong, necessarily, but it also doesn’t give them much predictive power.

So while it’s probably true that somebody has heard that the Spanos-Kroenke talks are going well, or at least proceeding apace, that doesn’t tell us much about whether they’ll actually come to an agreement. Or about La Canfora’s other predictions (similarly cited to “sources”) that there’s a “strong chance” the league could reduce the Chargers’ relocation fee (from what, he didn’t say) and that the Chargers “continue to investigate possibly” playing at the Los Angeles Galaxy‘s StubHub Center in Carson for two years while waiting for the Inglewood stadium to be built. La Canfora also said that Spanos asking for an extension on his January deadline to make a decision on an L.A. move “is not expected,” which is as close to a solid prediction as he gets in this article — mark it down, and we can add it to his scorecard in another few weeks.


19 comments on “Sportswriter with history of citing unsourced rumors says Chargers are moving to L.A., maybe

  1. Los Angeles Galaxy‘s StubHub Center has a seating capacity of 27,000. An NFL team would actually play in such a small stadium, even temporarily?

    • Hard to imagine that happening. I’d think it’d be far easier to just play out the string in San Diego before any move. It’d be ugly with some but they’d still outdraw 27,000 per game. And how ugly would it be from the people who actually attend the games? Maybe not as bad as you think. At one time the Chargers said 1/4 of their season ticket base was from the LA area. Those people would be all for the move. A good chunk of others might fault their fellow voters more than the Chargers given there is no debate over that current stadium being a dump.

      • You make up for the 50% reduced capacity by doubling the per ticket price, and then marketing is as “The NFL Experience in an intimate environment.” Which would counter the Rams offering the “NFL Experience in a 1930’s Olympic environment.” Not that I’m angling for a marketing job with the Chargers, oh wait, did I accidentally post my resume? how did that happen?

        • Got to admit, two seasons of NFL football at StubHub Center would be a pretty cool. Like seeing the biggest music acts in the world play the Wiltern week after week.

          Chargers are supposed to host the Cowboys next year. If that’s in Carson, I think it could shatter the NFL record for average ticket resale prices.

      • I always doubt “dump” claims; at some point our standards got so high. To be fair, I’ve never been to San Diego’s football stadium, but I know I’d rather watch football at the University of Colorado’s old stadium than the 15 year-old, generic NFL stadium in Denver.

        • I agree with you there. There’s alway’s going to be a “worst stadium in the league,” even if they’re all pretty nice. I used to go to the Rams games at what was then the “worst stadium in the league.” It was drab, but loud, and had great sight lines, plenty of restrooms, replay screens, concessions, and an exciting team. Everyone was happy. But then new stadiums with new expensive toys that owners can monetize came on line, and suddenly it was terrible. Would anyone who went to a game at Fulton County Stadium call the Georgia Dome terrible?

        • I met a guy at the Air Force-Boise State game last week who does advance work for the Mountain West Conference. He said Qualcomm is only surpassed by Hawaii’s stadium in terms of crappiness. Literally, doing anything there is a chore with Internet and even basic electrical being a total crapshoot. The part that amazed me is he said that Air Force’s 60-year old stadium that has had very few updates is miles ahead of Qualcomm in terms of the basics.

          • Never said it justified tearing it down but it does say something when a service academy with an extremely tight athletic budget can outscore the home to an NFL team in ANYTHING. Between the Chargers and San Diego that stadium was allowed to just sit for so long it became a laughingstock. It became a game of chicken to see if the Chargers actually would leave town.

          • In my couple experiences in going to Qualcomm (now something like 10 years ago), the place was a dump (stadium and bathrooms were dingy, and the food was god awful (we still joke about how dry the burritos were). I doubt it’s improved in the interim.

            They still shouldn’t get any public money.

  2. With the crushing defeat of the San Diego stadium referendum, and the 9-2 Raiders bandwagon in full effect, I predict Spanos will take that Inglewood deal as soon as the season ends, rather than see the offer revert to the suddenly resurgent Raiders.

    And while NFL football at StubHub Center would be very cool, I think they’ll work out a deal with the Coliseum for 2017 and 2018.

  3. He’ll take the LA deal to increase the value of the team…and then sell.

    The Spanos family is arguably the worst owners in the league. They spend no money on players or staff. They have a reputation for holding out on player contracts. They don’t care about the fans. They don’t care about the fan experience. The family has no say, pull or clout within the owners circle of the NFL. Their reputation in SD has been 100% destroyed.

    As a season ticket holder since the 1960’s, I’m all but finished with the Spanos family. They hide behind a curtain and rarely engage the community, fan-base or media. I can’t tell you the last time Alex Spanos was on the field in the 4th quarter. In fact, I can’t recall the last time a camera cut to him or the rest of their family cheering, throwing high fives or nervously watching the game…like so many other owners in the league.

    If the Spanos family cared (at all) about the fan experience, they could have rented a new score board (like they do for concerts), dropped the price of beers, arranged halftime shows and made at least an attempt to keep the season ticket holders coming back. We all know they’re in a dispute with the city to build a new facility…but in the meantime, how about a little investment in your faithful. They just don’t care.

    The Murph…i mean the Q, is not a great place for watching football. However, the fans are still showing up and paying to be there. The owner of the team has turned his back on this community.

    La Confora should stick to reporting facts. His articles are nothing more than opinions and his track record is far from accurate. Los Angeles (community/fan base) want nothing to do with the Chargers. The only motivation for Spanos to move the team is to increase the teams value.

    Hear me now, believe me later. If you’re in the market to purchase an NFL team, give Alex Spanos a call sometime around Jan 2017.

    • The magic words: “fans are still showing up and paying to be there. ”

      As long as that happens, the Spanos team will maintain the status quo.

  4. In other boondogle NFL Stadium news….

    Officials Behind $500 Million Vikings’ Stadium Subsidy Get Free Luxury Box Tickets for Family and Friends

    http://m.startribune.com/work-or-perk-u-s-bank-stadium-executives-have-free-access-to-luxury-suite-seats/403153766/

  5. If I understand this correctly, Mr. Canfora is a journalist employed by CBS (an NFL rights holder) who spends his days writing columns based on alleged comments from NFL insiders (sorry “League Sources with knowledge of the situation speaking on condition of anonymity”) that promote the league’s position and views, generally.

    Pretty much the definition of a tout IMO.

    What he thinks appears to be what people tell him to think. Those people either sign his checks or sign the checks of the people who sign his checks.

    I’m not clear why anyone would consider his information meaningful, even discounting his poor track record.

  6. $33m to reconfigure Anaheim Stadium for the LA RAMS…LA RAMS move to St.Louis…$100-$110million to reconfigure Anaheim Stadium for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim…wonder why sports are pissed off? LA enjoy the DEADBOLTS (Chargers). Bring on the CFL/an MLS.

  7. Dean has been up shit creek since the day we screwed him over at Stan’s behest. Every move he makes now stinks of desperation.

    As for LaCanfora, he’s a good tool, er, reporter. Quit pickin’ on the poor guy, sheesh!