Chargers slam London move report

NFL American football franchise the Los Angeles Chargers has categorically dismissed a story that it is considering giving up its place in the new SoFi Stadium in favour of moving to London.

Chargers owner and chairman Dean Spanos spoke out in a strongly-worded statement to reporters yesterday (Tuesday) following the report that emerged on The Athletic website. The story, citing NFL sources, said that “the possibility of the Chargers moving to London has been broached among league personnel.”

It added that “the Chargers would at least listen if the NFL approached them about London as a possible option.” The Athletic said that if the move were to happen, the Chargers would likely call Tottenham Hotspur Stadium home. The venue last month staged its first two NFL regular season games as part of a 10-year contract with the League.

Responding to the report, Spanos said: “It’s total f*****g bull****, OK? We’re not going to London. We’re not going anywhere. We’re playing in Los Angeles. This is our home, and this where we’re planning to be for a long f*****g time. Period. OK? And if you want me to say it again, I’ll say it again. F*****g bull****, that story.”

The team’s official Twitter account followed up Spanos’ comments by tweeting a scene from film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ in which actor Leonardo DiCaprio delivers an expletive-laden speech about not leaving a company.

The NFL also moved to deny the report. A League statement read: “There is no substance whatsoever to this report. No consideration has been given to the Chargers playing anywhere other than Los Angeles at the new stadium in Hollywood Park next season and beyond. There have been no discussions of any kind between the NFL and the Chargers regarding moving to London. Both our office and the Chargers are entirely focused on the success of the team in Los Angeles.”

The Chargers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles ahead of the 2017 season and have been playing their home games at Dignity Health Sports Park, home of Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise the L.A. Galaxy. The Chargers have been averaging attendances of just over 25,000 at the stadium, which has often seen home fans significantly outnumbered by visiting supporters, most recently for the Green Bay Packers’ 26-11 victory on Sunday.

These issues have cast doubt over the long-term viability of the Chargers franchise in Los Angeles as they prepare to attempt to fill the 70,000-seat SoFi Stadium, which the team will share with the Los Angeles Rams from the 2020 season.

In September, the Chargers claimed a first with the launch of a premium membership programme for the new stadium. Chargers LUX promises suite owners at SoFi Stadium at Hollywood Park an experience unlike anything previously offered in professional sports. Chargers LUX will connect suite owners to the Los Angeles lifestyle through exclusive access to best-in-class hospitality, business and entertainment benefits year-round, at no additional cost.

Membership includes access to Spring Place, The Private Suite terminal at LAX airport and a Digital Lifestyle Assistant offered by members club Velocity Black. Additional partners are set to be added to the programme.

The latest news emerged as a group of Chargers and Rams season-ticket holders were yesterday afforded the opportunity to venture into SoFi Stadium for the first time. The stadium is currently at more than 80% completion.

Image: SoFi Stadium