Field of Schemes
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September 07, 2011

L.A. Times: Chargers! Chargers! Chargers! Wooooot!

It looks like the Los Angeles Times has declared this to be "When are the San Diego Chargers moving to L.A. already?" week:

  • On Monday, it was an article speculating (with no specific evidence) that the Chargers are soon to move north to a new L.A. stadium, complete with an over-the-top metaphor about how going to L.A. is like being deployed to Afghanistan. (And this from the hometown paper.)
  • Yesterday, the intent to move was apparently a fait accompli, with the headline reading, "San Diego divided on whether to fight Chargers run to Los Angeles." Included were quotes from the same two stadium proponents as in Monday's article, City Club of San Diego president George Mitrovich and San Diego Mesa College professor Carl Luna, the latter of whom intoned doomfully, "The Chargers' leaving town will be another sign that America's Finest City just might not be so fine anymore."
  • Today, it's just a throwaway line from columnist T.J. Simers: "You're going to love General Manager A.J. Smith when he brings his Chargers to Los Angeles next year."

Not that it's exactly unprecedented for a newspaper's sports section to become a booster of bringing a team to town — it guarantees them more readers, after all, not to mention more jobs for gameday reporters — but this is still pretty remarkable, especially when the Chargers' official stance is still that they're planning to get a new stadium built in or around San Diego. It'll be interesting to see what shows up in tomorrow's paper — you have to figure their reporter has a couple more Mitrovich or Luna quotes in his notebook that he still has to burn off...


The article from Monday was pretty much on point. San Diego residents generally speaking do view LA with a mix of disgust and trepidation.

Posted by Dan on September 7, 2011 11:10 AM

Is this rumor coming from the website? They've ranked the teams likely to move to an LA stadium, and make no secret of the fact that they support having the NFL in LA:

This is the same website that has 3 times hinted that the Yorks are looking to sell the 49ers.
Here's what they say:
"Several times we have speculated that the Yorks are having difficulty financing a new NFL stadium. After our analyses this weekend, we continue to believe that this is the case. The Santa Clara project has made progress at the legislative level but faces difficulty at the financing level, both via the municipality and Yorks. The Yorks supposedly lack the deep pockets needed to finance the stadium and are relying on the NFL to step in. The 49ers are another of the ´┐Żbelles at the ball´┐Ż in the event that the Chargers transaction gets derailed. We believe that the Yorks will eventually sell the 49ers."

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on September 7, 2011 11:55 AM

Yup. Amazing what kind of "credibility" having a website seems to garner for a site like that which is sourced only from the author's own opinions.

Posted by Dan on September 7, 2011 12:20 PM


I am overjoyed to read that. I know, as well as you do, that this Santa Clara boondoggle will fail. I sincerely hope that the Yorks sell the team AND that the new ownership, whoever they may be, will take the 49ers to Los Angeles and away from the Bay Area.

Posted by John on September 7, 2011 02:25 PM

Don't get too excited John. That website is about as well connected and informed as the typical 13 year old playing World of Warcraft.

Posted by Dan on September 7, 2011 03:23 PM

Here's another blog to check out:

49ers season ticket holders who have decided to not renew their tickets (and there are many, judging from the comment boards and blogs) worry me, because who will want to spend thousands of dollars to buy personal seat licenses to then pay for the privilege of buying season tickets (which will be at prices higher than at Candlestick, no doubt)?

Will people who do not now buy season tickets be willing to pay up to $20K for a seat license (see prices for Cowboys/Giants/Jets seat licenses)?
In this economy??

Santa Clara's Stadium Authority is on the hook to sell the seat licenses to pay off stadium construction debt. There will, no doubt, be fan pressure to not have the seal license prices be too high, competing with Santa Clara's need to make lots of money from seat license sales. No one will say what will happen if the dollar amount for selling seat licenses doesn't turn out to be what our city needs it to be. (Note that it's a neat trick to have municipalities sell the seat licenses - then sales tax doesn't have to be paid and the risk is on the municipality, not the team).

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on September 7, 2011 03:43 PM

Did the LAT indicate what they actually meant by "soon"?

Posted by John Bladen on September 7, 2011 07:20 PM

"...The 49ers are another of the "belles at the ball"..."

Yee-yuck. FootballFudds and their purple prose. The San Francisco 49ers are more like an ugly bride with a daddy who's going broke.

The problem here is that, if the rumors turn out to be true, the Yorks are using the ripoff stadium deal to pump up the 'ask' for the team.

The loser will be the city of Santa Clara. Always.

Bill Bailey, Treasurer,


Posted by Bill Bailey on September 8, 2011 02:34 AM

I've been of the opinion since the York's took over the Niners that they will move to LA once a stadium is built. Candlestick is a dump and the parking lot floods in the winter rains. The York's have no real loyalty to SF and the Bay Area, unlike Eddie De Bartolo. The Santa Clara stadium is having funding issues and may never get built. As a Raider fan I say "good riddance" to the Niners, once they leave.

Posted by Joe on September 8, 2011 04:44 AM

Good editorial in the SF Chronicle today on 'political football'. They point out that 2 years ago there was rush legislation put through to move the City of Industry CEQA process forward, and here we are, 2 years later, with no stadium there.

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on September 8, 2011 09:36 AM

Well Industry has a different issue than most stadiums. They have the funding, they have the approvals, they're ready to build starting today... they just have no team. No one in the NFL old boys lodge wanted to sell a majority stake of their team to Ed Roski for the opportunity to play in a boonies town like Industry.

On the other hand someone will want to sell a minority stake to Phil Anschutz for the opportunity to play in downtown LA. It's just a question of who gets their first after being unable to leverage the move threat against their current home city.

Posted by Dan on September 8, 2011 12:49 PM

Joe and Dan - interesting comments.
Note that although Santa Clara's Measure J stadium election took place in June 2010, on the ballot was a non-binding Term Sheet. The binding contract (called the DDA for Disposition and Development Agreement) was due in July 2010, and we still don't have it in Sept. 2011. They've promised it for this fall.

There are good reasons for the 49ers to stall signing the contract:
1) possible LA stadium option
2) possible stadium options in SF or Oakland
3) the longer they stall, the more the stadium price goes up and the price increases aren't considered 'cost overruns' because the contract isn't signed yet. The 49ers promised to cover all cost overruns. The longer the contract is delayed, the greater the amount of the price increase for which that Santa Clara's Stadium Authority is responsible.
4) If the DDA terms are too different from what we voted on (and the latest documentation from the city indicates that the risks for Santa Clara's Stadium Authority have really increased) then people could go for a referendum on the DDA.
5) Cedar Fair amusement park's legal challenge was dismissed in part because there is no binding contract between the city and the 49ers. They could go for another legal challenge once the contract is signed (note that the stadium is supposed to be built in a parking lot that is leased by Cedar Fair. How can the city double-lease a piece of property?)

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on September 8, 2011 02:20 PM

Footballphds likes to speculate a lot when it comes to NFL expansion or which team(s) relocates to Farmers Field and when it comes to that, they don't know what they're talking about because they don't have NFL sources. They do however have the connects in the city when it comes to the stadium at LA Live. They've been right on pretty much everything when it comes to that matter. As for the Niners, the NFL will never let them leave the Bay Area. According to recent Forbes valuation they are about to crack the billion dollar mark and with a new stadium in Santa Clara they will probably be the 2nd most valued franchise in NFL. The Niners brand is way too strong to let them leave. Raiders on the other hand are barely passed the Jaguars who are last in valuation. But any of you tax-hack advocates that think the Niners are leaving are sorely mistaken. When a team that's been a loser pretty much since their last Super Bowl in maybe the worst NFL stadium currently and still a few million away in breaking the billion dollar valuation mark just shows how strong the 49ers brand really is and then combine that with winning and a new stadium... They could challenge the Cowboys as the most valued franchise in the NFL.

Posted by NFL in LA on September 8, 2011 04:30 PM

I thought Al Davis settled that pesky "the NFL can't make me stay" issue years ago when he moved the Raiders to LA in the first place. So, NFL in LA, what exactly can the NFL do to prevent the York's from moving the Niners anywhere they want to?
I'm not a "tax hack" advocate, whatever that is. I live in the East Bay so I don't have a dog in the chase concerning a Niners stadium in Santa Clara. I work for the local fishwrap, so if it would help sell more papers and keep me employed I'm all for a move to SC.
I think that its not out of the question for the Niners to go to LA and a new stadium.

Posted by Joe on September 9, 2011 04:44 AM


You're correct that the "make me stay" issue was decided decades ago in a bruising battle the NFL fought and lost again Al Davis. The story of it is chronicled in great detail in "The League" by David Harris.

The 49ers will be free to go where they chose--which is as a private business their right.

Posted by santa clara jay on September 9, 2011 02:24 PM

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