After 56 years in San Diego, the Chargers decided to relocate to Los Angeles and are expected to move into the same stadium in Inglewood,Calif. with the Los Angeles Rams (who relocated from St. Louis the season before) in the 2020 season.
The relocation was an upsetting one for everyone involved,most notably the fans in San Diego who hurled eggs and burned merchandise outside of the team’s headquarters, the league was said to have been disappointed with the team moving and in Los Angeles there was little fanfare about the city getting its second NFL team in just over a calendar year. From sports columnists proclaiming that the city doesn’t want them there to the team itself choosing to use the 30,000 StubHub Center in Carson,Calif. because of their realization that they’re going to need to build a fan base since they had just thrown 56 years of their heritage and loyalty out the window.
Sure,the Chargers were born in Los Angeles,but outside of a few fans who happen to live there,they don’t have many ties to the region as much as they did in San Diego.
Today,we’ll look at the reasons why the city of Los Angeles has been anything but welcoming to the Chargers and back up those reasons for not doing so.
I’ve switched the format a bit so that the reason count down in descending order. Here’s Reason #5…
5. They wanted the Raiders instead
Make no mistake about it, the L.A. fans really wanted the Raiders to move back to Los Angeles, the city they called home from 1982-94 and in the process brought the city it’s lone Super Bowl championship in the 1983 season.
In 2016,the Raiders,Rams,and Chargers filed relocation papers for Los Angeles. Only the Rams and Chargers were approved for an L.A. move and the Rams headed west that year, the Chargers had the option to move,but stayed in San Diego in the hopes that stadium talks could develop and continue.
Meanwhile,the Raiders were left wondering where to go next and they ultimately have chosen to move to Las Vegas,Nev. and are slated to call the Silver State home by the 2020 season and will be staying in Oakland in the interim.
The Raiders still had (and have) a giant following when they left to return to Oakland in 1995 and the Rams left for St. Louis the same year,in fact one television station in Los Angeles televises their preseason games. It’s no secret that fans there really wanted that team to reunite with their second home city and that the Chargers just didn’t have any connection to them at all (more on that later in this piece).
But let’s go to reason #4…
4. Oversaturated football market
Believe it or not,the L.A. fans have too much football to enjoy at this point. Not just the Rams and the Chargers,but also in the college ranks.
USC and UCLA are two Pac-12 powerhouse teams that have a very big following in Southern California. In fact,during USC’s championship run in the 2000s,many considered that team to be L.A.’s “professional football team” since there wasn’t one in town at the time.
With the presence of two popular college teams as well as the Rams and in addition all the sports options there are in the Los Angeles/Anaheim area, it’s pretty much become an oversaturated market for the Chargers to move to.
What kind of hope do the Chargers have of building a fanbase in the Los Angeles area when the fans there have so much football to watch as it is? What is the Spanos family thinking?
3. The Spanos family
Yes,the Spanos family. Why are they on the list? Because it’s hard for me to believe that they thought this move to Los Angeles through. But then again,it may not be so surprising.
Look,I understand Dean Spanos trying to do whatever he can to make his franchise/family business profitable and relevant. He has every right to do that,but to move away from a city who did nothing but support you for 56 years,through good times and a lot of bad times, is disdainful.
Just because the franchise spent their infancy there doesn’t mean that anyone from back then has any attachment to the team still. Now sure,there are many Chargers fans residing in the Los Angeles area, that’s clear. The thing is that there may not be enough fans in the area who will come out to eight home dates per season. They,at press time, have trouble selling out preseason games in a soccer-specific stadium. How are they going to expect to fill 60,000-plus seats come 2020?
It’s something Spanos and company should’ve seen coming,just like just about everyone has.
2. The Rams
If the Chargers think they can do any better,they better look at what happened to the Rams when they landed back in Los Angeles after a 22-year hiatus.
Sure,at first there was a great deal of excitement surrounding the team because they came “back home” and they sold out L.A. Coliseum for their first preseason game in 2016 against the Cowboys, but the excitement and fervor surrounding the Rams died down once the games counted and the team showed how bad they were and have been dating back to their St. Louis days,resulting in a 4-12 record and a lot of no-shows in the cavernous Coliseum.
If fans are bailing on the Rams just like that, What hope would the Chargers even have in growing a fanbase basically from scratch?
Which leads us to our top reason…
1. It’s San Diego’s Team
Make no mistake about it,this should still be San Diego’s team. The fans,the media,and basically everyone does not want the Chargers in Los Angeles.
First off,the name hits the ear wrong. Los Angeles Chargers? That’s like saying San Antonio Patriots or Orlando Broncos or Wichita Vikings,it’s weird.
This team belongs 120 miles to the south.Period. Ninety-nine percent of their existence was in that city. They made many memories there and the fans were right there with them. Sure, there have been some lean years and a lot of fans were no-shows towards the end of the team’s time there,but there seems to be this feeling of the team needing to go back there,and I think the fans in Los Angeles are recognizing that.
There you have it,my defense of Angelinos giving the Chargers the cold shoulder. Maybe I convinced you,or perhaps I didn’t,but I think we can all agree that this team’s new move is going to take some time to get used to.