San Diego could explore suing NFL over Los Angeles Chargers relocation – Sportsnaut

Los Angeles Chargers, San Diego NFL lawsuit

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

After seeing St. Louis receive a $790 million settlement following an NFL lawsuit, San Diego could reportedly begin exploring similar actions against the NFL because of the Los Angeles Chargers relocation.

The Chargers played in San Diego from 1961-2016, winning 10 AFC West titles and making 13 playoff appearances. But after spending 40 years in Qualcomm Stadium, franchise owner Dean Spanos announced the team’s relocation on Jan. 12, 2017.

Following the league’s $790 million settlement with St. Louis, after a prolonged legal battle that threatened to reveal communications between Los Angeles Rams owner Stam Kroenke and his peers, a similar lawsuit is being brought up in San Diego.

Jeff McDonald of the San Diego Union-Tribune spoke to former City Attorney Michael Aguirre, who is leading the push for an NFL lawsuit. Aguirre is also pushing San Diego’s mayor to pursue a legal complaint against Spanos and the National Football League.

“There is established legal precedent for the city of San Diego to recover taxpayer losses from the NFL and the Chargers, as was done under similar circumstances by the city of St. Louis and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority,

Former San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre, via The San Diego Union-Tribune

Before Spanos relocated the Chargers to Los Angeles, now sharing SoFi Stadium with the Rams, San Diego debated numerous proposals to keep the team in the region. But Spanos saw a better opportunity in Los Angeles. But since moving to Los Angeles, the Chargers haven’t built a fan base with their stadium being dominated by fans of opposing teams.

  • Los Angeles Chargers attendance: 71,598 per game, 100.1% stadium capacity

Can San Diego sue the NFL for the Chargers leaving?

While Aguirre believes there is an opportunity to sue the NFL, potentially bringing in upwards of $600-plus million for San Diego, there seems to be no legal avenue for a lawsuit. As the San Diego Union-Tribune found in a response from the Mayor’s Office to an email, the city doesn’t have the ability to go after Spanos nor the NFL.

“Unfortunately, previous administrations in the city of San Diego twice waived the city’s rights to any claim against the NFL and the Chargers for relocation after the 2008 NFL season.”

San Diego Mayor’s Office on why the city can’t sue NFL, Los Angeles Chargers

Even if the city didn’t waive those legal rights, it would likely not be allowed to pursue legal action in the state. According to California law, the statute of limitations for legal action against a party who breaches a contract expires after four years. As of 2021, San Diego couldn’t sue the Los Angeles Chargers.

Ultimately, San Diego is likely out of options. Snapdragon Stadium, built for the San Diego State Aztecs football team, proved that the city can build a new football stadium. But unless the NFL is open to relocation and wants another team in California, San Diego is out of luck.