Are NFL's Chargers Coming To L.A? Rumors Abound That Staples Center Owner Phil Anschutz Has Taken A Stake In The San Diego Team
Laker legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson announced on Jimmy Kimmel Live! early Wednesday that he's teamed up with the Anschutz Entertainment Group to bring an NFL team to L.A.
The announcement came after the sports world was abuzz with rumors that AEG owner Phil Anschutz bought a 35 percent stake in the San Diego Chargers with the intention of bringing the team to a new stadium proposed for downtown L.A., where AEG runs Staples Center and LA Live.
Those rumors started with a report on FAN 590, a Toronto radio station, which stated that Anschutz, a Denver-based billionaire, wants to bring the Chargers to an LA Live-adjacent football stadium.
Johnson was coy about the Chargers angle on Kimmel, refusing to name a possible team for L.A.
"Today, and nobody knows this... I teamed up with [AEG CEO] Tim Leiweke and AEG ... and we're going to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles," Johnson announced.
Johnson made headlines in fall when he dumped his share of Lakers' ownership and sold his 105 Starbucks franchises. Observers wondered what he would do with the liquid he gained and what his next move would be.
Leiweke earlier this month put some ideas on the table for bringing an NFL franchise back to L.A., including possibly taking over the city-owned Convention Center and building a new stadium there.
That prospect is competing with plans by Majestic Realty to build an NFL stadium in the San Gabriel Valley, in the city of Industry.
ESPN reports that both L.A. stadium factions, AEG (via Leiweke) and Majestic have expressed interest in the Minnesota Vikings.
And, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chargers' lawyer denied the rumor that the team was headed north.
But it's been no secret that the Chargers haven't been happy with the age and amenities at Qualcomm Stadium and want a new venue. The team in recent years has also taken advantage of a deal with the city that has taxpayers cover the cost of unsold seats when the stadium is not sold out.