Newly elected Mayor Bob Filner said in his first State of the City address Tuesday night that the Chargers will not opt out of their lease at Qualcomm Stadium in 2013, nor will they file an application to explore a move to Los Angeles. Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani later confirmed the decisions.
“We informed Mayor Filner that we would not be exercising our lease’s termination clause in 2013, nor would we be filing an application with the NFL to relocate to Los Angeles in 2013,” Fabiani told The Associated Press in an email.
The announcement, coming on the same day the Chargers introduced new coach Mike McCoy, was expected despite empty seats, TV blackouts, falling revenue and thus-far failed efforts toward a new downtown stadium.
The move is a blow to the NFL hopes of Los Angeles, which is looking to lure a team to town immediately but has no realistic suitors with Anschutz Entertainment Group, the company behind the proposed Farmers Field in downtown L.A., up for sale.
The Chargers were at the top of many lists of likely L.A. franchises given their proximity and stadium struggles.
Filner gave no particulars on his stadium plans, saying only that he looks forward to working with the team and keeping the Chargers in San Diego.
“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that our Bolts don’t bolt,” Filner said.
The team will revisit the decision in 2014. Each year through 2020, the Chargers can announce intentions to leave San Diego on condition they pay off bonds that were sold to expand Qualcomm Stadium in 1997.
“We have been working for more than 10 years, doing everything possible to find a permanent stadium solution here in San Diego,” Fabiani said, “and we are going to continue that work.”