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Analysis: The buzz surrounding a new Chargers stadium intensified this week after Fanhouse.com reported that Alex Spanos has hired Goldman Sachs to sell a minority share in the team. Spanos now owns 36 percent of the team while his four children split another 60 percent.
Spanos had been reportedly pitching the share to wealthy individuals in Los Angeles, where developers have recently increased their efforts to relocate an NFL team.
The Chargers are among several NFL teams viewed as potential candidates for Los Angeles, Fanhouse noted, because it could easily end its stadium deal with the city of San Diego.
The Chargers are literally just a check away from leaving Qualcomm Stadium: between February 1 and April 30 of every year from now through 2020, the Chargers can get out of their lease by writing a check to the city of San Diego — this year, the amount is about $26 million, and it decreases annually.
And in fact, that’s true.
If the team wants to leave, it must notify the city during the three-month period between February and May and pay the city for breaking the lease. The next period begins February 2011 and the cost of breaking the lease would be $25.8 million.
This graphic shows how the cost of breaking the lease decreases each year through 2020.
Essentially, yes, the Chargers are one check away from leaving Qualcomm Stadium.
But there’s still a major hurdle that the team would have to overcome before moving to Los Angeles or any other city. The National Football League requires the approval of at least three-fourths of the other teams in order for a team to relocate.
Before transferring a franchise to another city, teams must provide audited financial reports, explain efforts to improve the current stadium and describe how the stadium doesn’t meet its needs.
Weighing whether to approve transfers, the league looks at factors like fan loyalty, the willingness to remedy stadium deficiencies, the team’s finances, any change in ownership, other teams’ locations and whether the stadium owner opposes the transfer.
Since the city owns Qualcomm Stadium, it would be able to advise the league on whether to allow the Chargers to leave town. So while the Chargers could simply write a check and leave the stadium, that wouldn’t automatically cut the team’s ties to San Diego.
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