LOS ANGELES — The California pro football shuffle continues, as the Chargers have exercised their option to abandon San Diego in favor of Los Angeles.
"After much deliberation, I have made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2017 NFL season," Dean Spanos, the team's owner, said in a prepared statement.
The team has been talking about relocating for 16 years even as it tried to come up with a workable plan for a new stadium in San Diego.
San Diego voters in November rejected a tax measure to provide more than $1 billion of subsidies for a downtown Chargers stadium.
A Chargers proposal to share a stadium with the Oakland Raiders in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson was shot down by the National Football League last year.
Instead, the NFL team owners approved plans by Rams owner Stan Kroenke to build a $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood and offered the Chargers a one-year option to co-locate there with the Rams, who moved from St. Louis for the 2016 season.
If the Chargers didn't exercise the option, the Oakland Raiders would have received a one-year option to move to L.A., but the Raiders have been exploring a move from Oakland to Las Vegas.
Until the new stadium is finished, the Rams are sharing the Los Angeles Coliseum with the University of Southern California football team.
The Chargers are planning to play in StubHub Center, a 27,000-seat soccer stadium in Carson that is less than half the 72,000 capacity of Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, until the Inglewood stadium is ready.
The team wants to begin fighting for the Los Angeles market as soon as possible, said Mark Fabiani, special counsel to the Chargers, of the decision to move to Carson.
"LA is a remarkable place, and while we played our first season there in 1960 and have had fans there ever since, our entire organization knows that we have a tremendous amount of work to do," Spanos said. "We must earn the respect and support of LA football fans."
After playing in San Diego for 56 years, Spanos said the city will always be part of the team's identity, "but today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers."
The team will have to pay San Diego a $12 million lease termination fee to relocate.