The San Diego Chargers announced today that they will not be using their option to break their lease with Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers' lease at Qualcomm Stadium runs through 2020, but they have an option every year to break the lease during a three month window starting February 1st. The agreement means the Chargers could decide to move in that window, after paying off existing bonds, but it appears this won't be the year the Chargers exercise that option.
From the statement:
"The City of San Diego and the Chargers continue to work closely together to explore publicly acceptable ways to build a Super Bowl-quality stadium on the bus maintenance yard site in the East Village of downtown San Diego. To give this ongoing process every chance to succeed, the Chargers have announced that the team will not trigger the lease's termination clause in 2012. Both the Mayor’s Office and the Chargers look forward to continuing their joint efforts to build a multi-use stadium that will benefit the entire region."
According to the LA Times, the Chargers would have owed $23.98 million on existing bonds had they chosen to break the lease. They will owe $22.015 million in 2013. While there is growing speculation that the Chargers would be a perfect fit in Los Angeles, paying an extra million to play in the aging Coliseum for a year assuming Farmer's Field is finished on time is not an easy sell.
For the time being, this makes the Minnesota Vikings the front runner for teams potentially moving to Los Angeles, with the St. Louis Rams as a dark horse. Should the Vikings chose to stick with the twin cities for another year, and the Rams receive a proposal for stadium upgrades that opens the field up once again. And in 2013, the Oakland Raiders would be a player as well.