San Diego city officials met with key NFL executives multiple times in recent weeks to discuss progress on a new stadium for the Chargers in their current market, a media report said Saturday. NFL execs will mull over the Chargers’ potential relocation to Los Angeles when the league’s 32 owners hold their annual meeting in New York this week.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer spoke several times with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other prominent league representatives, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, the Los Angeles Times reported. “There’s no substitute for face-to-face conversation, and this was an opportunity to let the league and other team owners know that San Diego is absolutely an NFL city,” Faulconer said.
City officials remain adamant that their plan for a new stadium near Qualcomm Stadium, the Chargers’ current venue, is the best option to keep the franchise local. But the Chargers ownership is skeptical about the project. Last month, the NFL announced San Diego city officials would not be invited to make a presentation at the owner’s meeting in October.
The Chargers are on a year-to-year lease at Qualcomm Stadium, and team executives have repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the stadium’s amenities. The franchise said this year it would relocate unless San Diego delivered an upgraded facility.
The Chargers are one of three NFL franchises currently lobbying for a move to Los Angeles. The Chargers and the Oakland Raiders have plans to share a new NFL stadium in Carson, California, while St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is attempting to rally support for a one-team venue in Inglewood, California.
As many as 10 NFL owners, including Kraft, reportedly support Kroenke’s plan for the Rams to relocate to Los Angeles, but neither the Inglewood project nor the Carson project has enough owner support to amass the three-quarters vote needed to secure relocation. League executives are also considering alternative options, such as sending the Chargers to Los Angeles without the Raiders.
The Chargers are reportedly considered the most likely franchise to move, because the franchise already draws a large portion of its fan base from the greater Los Angeles area, Pro Football Talk reported. League owners aren’t expected to make a formal decision on any Los Angeles relocation at the meeting in New York this Wednesday.