NFL AM: Chargers And Raiders Flexing Their Leverage


While the proverbial race to Los Angeles is on for the Chargers and Raiders, they are using agreements and speculation to potentially leverage their current cities into new stadium deals.

Chargers’ owner Dean Spanos issued a statement on Friday after agreeing to a deal with the Rams to join them in Inglewood in 2017.

“Today I decided our team will stay in San Diego for the 2016 season and I hope for the long term in a new stadium,” Spanos said.

“I have met with Mayor Faulconer and Supervisor Roberts and I look forward to working closely with them and the business community to resolve our stadium dilemma. We have an option and an agreement with the Los Angeles Rams to go to Inglewood in the next year, but my focus is on San Diego.”

Is there anyone better at sitting at both sides of the fence than Spanos?

He’s pandering to the San Diego community to build him a new stadium while simultaneously working out a backup primary plan to move to Los Angeles, which was the play from the start.

Still, it makes the most sense for Spanos to stay in the nation’s finest city.  The NFL has pledged $300 million in financial assistance and the city has already agreed to roughly $350 million toward a new facility.  The amount remaining for the Chargers owner to come up with would be roughly the same as a relocation fee to Los Angeles or anywhere else.  Not to mention the money he would have to come up with to buy into Stan Kroenke’s vision in Inglewood, only to be the red-headed step child in a city where the team isn’t welcomed.

Spanos’ pledge to play in San Diego in 2016 is the best move he could’ve made to try and leverage the city into a new facility.  With a one year option to Los Angeles, the move also doesn’t hurt them at all in negotiating with Kroenke.

As for the Raiders, owner Mark Davis is exploring his options outside of the Bay Area.  The flirting began with San Antonio and now we’re on to Las Vegas, who is willing to build Davis a billion dollar facility.

Would the NFL allow a team in “Sin City?”

There’s nothing in the rule book against a move to any city as long as the owners agree upon it, but we know that Roger Goodell is an influential force and he could skew a vote to the desert.

Would it make sense for the Raiders to reside in Vegas?

Very much so.  This appears to be the only option available where Davis wouldn’t have to contribute to a new facility, something that would make each of the owner’s jealous.  They would also be in a city that is thirsty for a professional sports franchise, and the fact that there’s only eight home dates on Sunday’s would almost guarantee sell-outs.  Las Vegas is also very corporate, and there shouldn’t be too much of an issue selling luxury suites which would give Davis even more revenue.

What would be the negatives of being in Las Vegas?

The first would be convincing the rest of the NFL that it’s safe to have a team in the entertainment capital of the United States.  Assuming that they cleared that hurdle, the Raiders would have a significant number of visiting fans for all of their home games, because if you’re a fan of a team, the weekend that your team visits would be a perfect time to go to Sin City.

With Oakland’s attendance nearing the bottom of the league every year, having a few more visiting fans shouldn’t be much of an issue, or all that uncommon.

The one thing we know for certain is that Davis will try and use the threat of moving to San Antonio and Las Vegas to try and leverage the city of Oakland into building a new stadium.  It hasn’t worked yet, but he will certainly keep the pressure on and possibly add a few more cities to the wish list if the Alamo and/or Sin City doesn’t convince them.

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.