Chargers begin groundbreaking moves with Super Bowl in mind

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El Segundo, CA - May 18: Los Angeles Chargers from right to left, quarterback Justin Herbert, coach Brandon Staley and safety Derwin James chat during Chargers groundbreaking ceremony for the team's future headquarters and training facility Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in El Segundo, CA. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers safety Derwin James Jr., left, coach Brandon Staley and quarterback Justin Herbert chat during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new team facility in El Segundo. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The Chargers conducted a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday afternoon for their new training facility in El Segundo but before Chairman Dean Spanos said anything to mark the occasion, he asked one of his future neighbors for some help.

Sitting in the crowd was Lakers President Jeanie Buss, whose team won two championships immediately after moving its training center to El Segundo in March 2000.

“Jeanie, give me a little of that luck, will you?” Spanos said. “Our first two years, I’ll take one. But I know Coach would like two, OK. I’d appreciate that.”

The Chargers’ facility will stand near the intersection of El Segundo Boulevard and Nash Street on a 14-acre site that was part of a sprawling campus operated by defense contractor Raytheon Technologies Corp.

The project is expected to be completed in spring 2024. Until then, the Chargers will remain in Costa Mesa, where they have been headquartered since relocating from San Diego in 2017.

“Finally, we have our home for the future,” Spanos said. “I’m really happy about it. I know our staff is, our coaches, our family. Everybody’s really excited about it. This is our home now.”

Among those in attendance Wednesday were head coach Brandon Staley, safety Derwin James Jr. and quarterback Justin Herbert.

By the time the Chargers move to El Segundo, James and Herbert could be playing on significant second contracts. James can be extended as early as this summer. Herbert is eligible for an extension starting next offseason.

“I think you always want to extend players like that,” Spanos said when asked specifically about James. “I’m not going to make any predictions, but I don’t have to say enough great things about him. We love him.”

Father John Bakas, left, recites a prayer at a groundbreaking ceremony for a Chargers' headquarters in El Segundo.
Father John Bakas, left, recites a prayer at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Chargers' future headquarters and training facility in El Segundo. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Justin Herbert throws the first pass on grounds that will become the Chargers' future headquarters in El Segundo.
Quarterback Justin Herbert throws the first pass on grounds that will become the Chargers' future headquarters and training facility in El Segundo. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Along with their day-to-day operations, the Chargers also intend to conduct training camp at the new facility. The three-story headquarters will be flanked by three practice fields.

There will be an outdoor lap pool and a lounge. Video games will be at the ready as part of a studio that eventually could host an e-sports team.

The complex will have broadcasting facilities and a 180-seat auditorium for player meetings. On the top floor will be an indoor-outdoor hospitality club for VIP events.

The renderings on display during the ceremony Wednesday included one that featured a giant picture of Herbert near the main entrance of the building.

“I never imagined myself being on the side of a facility like that,” Herbert said, smiling. “I thought that was pretty cool.”

The ceremonial groundbreaking continued an aggressive offseason during which the Chargers have made numerous touted roster additions, particularly on defense.

A team that finished last season 9-8 and missed out on a playoff berth in the regular-season finale is now being talked about as a potential Super Bowl contender.

“I feel like expectations are a privilege,” James said. “For people to think highly of you … that’s a privilege. So we need to go out there and do what we need to do.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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