Chargers defend move to Los Angeles to other NFL owners at meetings

A representative of the Chargers addressed the other owners during last week's meetings in New York and defended the short-term economics of the team's move to Los Angeles.

The weak attendance at StubHub Center and the influx of visiting fans at Chargers' home games has been a big topic around the league in the first half of this season, and the optics have certainly been poor. However, the Chargers in addressing the other owners, pointed out that given the price-point of their tickets (among the most expensive in the league) and the amount of season tickets sold, that they are essentially on par with the revenue they would have expected to make had they remained as lame ducks in San Diego for another season.

In the short term, the finances of the move have not been a significant detriment, despite the public appearance, the Chargers said, which is in line with what I've been hearing from league and ownership sources for weeks. Chargers owner Dean Spanos did not convey this directly during Tuesday's meeting himself, sources said, but he was present. Of course, what was not addressed in this relatively brief session is what happens in the next two-to-three years in terms of fan engagement and willingness for fickle LA sports fans to purchase PSLs or support the team through season tickets once the Chargers start sharing a stadium with the Rams in Inglewood.

While the Stubhub model can keep the team afloat for a few years, sources said real problems will set in without a larger base of fans to fill the new stadium, and especially if it is seen as the less-attractive option to the Rams. When that stadium is complete Spanos will have to compete for sponsorships and suites with the Rams, and he will also have to begin making annual payments of $65M a year to the other owners as part of relocation fee. That's when the economics could begin to seriously work against him without big gains -- on field and off -- in the next few years, the sources said.

Much has been written and said about a possible move back to San Diego or elsewhere, but that was never broached in any manner at these meetings, sources said, and isn't something being considered by the Chargers or the NFL. "There is no Plan B right now," said one well-connected ownership source, "and there is no talk about a Plan B. They've got a few years to figure this out before the new stadium is built and that's where all of the energy is focused."

Rams owner Stan Kroenke did address the full ownership at Tuesday's meeting, sources said, giving an update on his situation and assuring owners that, after an initial one-year delay early in construction, that the Inglewood project remains on schedule now.

CBS Sports Insider

Before joining CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora was the Washington Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post for six years and served as NFL Network's insider. The Baltimore native can be seen every Sunday... Full Bio

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