The Los Angeles Chargers issued a strong denial on Tuesday of a report that team executives would consider relocating the franchise to London despite their commitment to share a $4.5 billion stadium with the Los Angeles Rams starting next season.
The NFL has long eyed overseas expansion and played a slate of four games in London during the 2019 season. Citing NFL sources, The Athletic reported that the idea of moving the Chargers to London on a full-time basis “has been broached among league personnel,” adding that the sources indicated Chargers leadership “would at least listen” if the league suggested relocation.
Chargers owner Dean Spanos said the franchise’s reported interest in a potential move to London was “a lot of crap.”
“We’re not going to London,” Spanos told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re not going anywhere. We plan to be in L.A. for a long [expletive] time. That was [expletive], that story.”
The Chargers also disputed the report on the team’s official Twitter account, sharing a video of a scene from “The Wolf of Wall Street” in which actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s character gives a speech saying he’s “not leaving.”
The Chargers relocated from San Diego to Los Angeles ahead of the 2017 season. The team is playing its home games at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles until construction on SoFi Stadium, the facility they will share with the Rams, is complete.
The franchise has struggled to draw fans to its home games during the interim period, sparking concerns about its long-term prospects in the Los Angeles market. Concern among NFL owners about the Chargers’ ability to catch on in Los Angeles was reportedly a driving force behind support for relocation to London, according to The Athletic.