Chargers, longtime rivals of Broncos, bolt San Diego for Los Angeles

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Chargers, a longtime AFC West rival of the Broncos, said Thursday they are moving to Los Angeles for the 2017 season.

Last year, the Rams moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles, putting the NFL back in the nation’s No. 2 market for the first time since 1994.

The Chargers, who played their first season in 1960 in Los Angeles, have been in San Diego for 56 years. But years of failing to get funding for a new stadium to replace dilapidated Qualcolmm Stadium have failed.

“San Diego … will always be part of our identity, and my family and I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the support and passion our fans have shared with us over the years,” owner Dean Spanos said in a statement.

“But today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers.”

Last year, the Chargers were given one year on an option of joining the Rams in Los Angeles.

The Chargers would move with the Rams into a $2.66 billion stadium in Inglewood, Calif., that is expected to open for the 2019 season.

The Chargers will play the next two seasons in the 30,000-capacity StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., where the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer play.

The Rams are playing in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which is also the home for USC.

Voters in San Diego in November turned down a ballot measure for $375 million in public contributions for a $1.2 billion stadium next to Qualcomm Stadium.

The NFL and the Chargers agreed to contribute $650 million, but there was still a $175 million funding gap.

The city’s contribution would have come from an increase in the city’s hotel tax, but only 43 percent of voters were in favor.

In a statement, commissioner Roger Goodell said the Chargers “worked tirelessly this past year with local officials and community leaders on a ballot initiative that fell short on election day.”