Chargers scramble to defuse perception of a possible move to L.A.
With two potentially viable stadium projects in L.A. (all the better to leverage one against the other with), the Chargers have found themselves at the top of the Relocation Speculation list.
And for good reason. The Chargers can’t get no satisfaction when it comes to getting a new stadium in San Diego and, more recently, word has emerged that a chunk of the team is for sale.
Though the official line is that the transaction would be made for estate planning purposes, a valid concern with the so-called “death tax” returning in 2011, the circumstances are creating circumstantial evidence (which is why they call it “circumstantial evidence”) of a possible move.
“We are concerned,” said Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani, according to Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “There’s been a confluence, a merging of several different stories, and we’re going to have to work hard to see that people know the real facts.”
Fabiani says there’s no connection between the sale and a possible move to L.A. Unless, of course, there is.
“Selling a minor share has absolutely nothing to do with the location of this football team or a new stadium,” Fabiani said, per Canepa. “They’re two entirely different things, but AEG is promoting a new downtown stadium in L.A., and we understand people are going to merge the stories.”
And Fabiani recognizes that the stories could merge.
“If AEG buys a piece of this team, then people have a right to be concerned,” Fabiani said. “But it’s totally hypothetical at this point. Goldman Sachs has talked to people all over the country, all over the world, not just in L.A. It’s all rumors.”
Frankly, we’re confused by Fabiani’s position that the rumors are unwelcome. The Chargers haven’t been able to get a new stadium by not applying leverage. If the circumstances naturally apply leverage, the folks in San Diego may decide to take the situation seriously.
Indeed, as our pal Brooks of SportsByBrooks recently pointed out, San Diego officials recently arranged for a spending cap on downtown development to be lifted, which removes one of the various hurdles to building a new home for the Chargers, in their current home.
Then again, maybe the Chargers want to apply leverage without overtly creating the impression that they’re applying leverage. Indeed, all the team has to say is that they won’t sell all or part of the team to AEG. Until that happens, an L.A. move is in play.