Team owner: San Diego Chargers moving to Los Angeles this year

LOS ANGELES, Jan 12 (Reuters) - The San Diego Chargers are moving to Los Angeles beginning this upcoming NFL season, the team owner said on Thursday, ending sometimes tense negotiations for a new stadium in the city where the sports franchise has played for more than five decades.

Starting this fall, the Los Angeles area will have two NFL teams in a potential boon to the region's leisure and tourism industry. The nation's second largest city had no NFL team from 1994 until the St. Louis Rams began playing there last year.

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Chargers owner Dean Spanos in an open letter on the team's website said San Diego has been the squad's home for more than 55 years and the city shaped the team's "identity."

"But today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers," Spanos wrote.

In November, San Diego voters rejected a ballot measure that would have raised hotel occupancy taxes to help pay for a proposed $1.8 billion downtown stadium project.

"The Chargers will make our NFL tradition even richer, and give sports fans everywhere one more reason to be in Los Angeles," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.

The NFL Network reported on Thursday that the Chargers will play the next two seasons at 27,000-seat StubHub Center in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, California, until the new stadium the Chargers will share with the Rams in Inglewood is completed. The Chargers will eventually join the Rams as a tenant of the futuristic $1.8 billion stadium being built in Inglewood, which is projected to open in 2019.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis, Additional reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, Editing by Franklin Paul and Tom Brown)