The San Diego Chargers going back to Los Angeles is a no win situation. Plain and simple.
The move was something that many of us had anticipated at the end of the 2015 season but it didn’t happen as team owner Dean Spanos kept his club in San Diego for one final season.
The idea of moving still hung in the air with Spanos (now known as Persona non grata in San Diego) being unable to secure funds for a new publicly funded stadium but for some reason seeing ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweet on Wednesday that there was going to be an announcement on Thursday felt surreal. It didn’t feel like it was really happening.
Good Morning Football, a show I tune into often on the NFL Network to get my day going was pre-empted by non stop news on the move.
No one seemed to really know how to take it that early in the morning. When it came to relocation, we’d turned our attention towards the idea of the Raiders to Las Vegas, with the Chargers moving somewhat in the background. We didn’t expect it drop on all of us just like this.
In less than 30 minutes from the announcement on Twitter and NFL Network the brand change was complete on Twitter, images of a game at Qualcomm Stadium replaced with a stock image of Philip Rivers and the much ridiculed new logo which turned out to be only for promotional purposes but don’t tell that to social media as well….when your logo looks like it took 10 minutes to come up with and is near copy of the LA Dodgers one people will get their Twitter fingers going.
Are we doing this right? pic.twitter.com/OwDBuCdyDH
— #PonyUpTempo (@SMU_Football) January 12, 2017
Guess it's better than the second place logo choice. pic.twitter.com/qVaecVC6rr
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) January 12, 2017
The backlash has been so bad that the team has apologized for even using it but before that they changed the colours of it to gold and blue and then back to the well known team word mark except with Los Angles in place of San Diego.
Even that move drew attention as Twitter wasn’t done roasting the franchise’s graphic choices.
chargers apparently think logo designing means repetitively asking each other "do you think anyone will notice?" & being wrong pic.twitter.com/uCF863zQai
— megan brown (@thatgirlondeck) January 14, 2017
Welcome back to SoCal.
You’d think that be it but nope.
They just showed the Los Angeles Chargers logo on the scoreboard at Sraples Center. The crowd booed. pic.twitter.com/8cGVHwrEdS
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 14, 2017
They’re really being embraced by the locals aren’t they?
I have no dog in the fight when it comes Chargers fandom but I feel for their fans. 56 years of AFL and NFL history gone just like that. To a market where they won’t be the home team even though it’s where they began in 1960.
For the next two years the Chargers will share in Carson the StubHub Center with the LA Galaxy of MLS. It’s a soccer first stadium and with expanded capacity will be a 30,000 seat stadium. A rarity in the NFL. The smallest permanent stadium in the league is Oakland Alameda County Stadium at 56,000 seats.
Now granted, a much more intimate stadium for the squad could be a really cool experience but who’ll be in StubHub in powder blue and gold?
You’ll see Raider fans, maybe Rams fans, the ones who were able to really call Los Angeles their own city for 12 and 49 seasons respectively but a swarm of Charger fans? I doubt it. Heck you’ll probably see more Cowboy fans than Charger fans. Even after the Chargers move to Inglewood in 2019 with the Rams into their new stadium they’ll be the Rams tenants. Once again, the second fiddle team.
According to a 2014 study of NFL fans on Twitter by county via interactive.twitter.com only the 3 most popular teams on Twitter are the 49ers, Raiders and Cowboys with the 49ers having 10.35% to be on top in Los Angeles County.
When a team from out of state has more support that is a very bad sign. Granted yes, it’s a three year old site and yes it’s just an indication of Twitter users in the area but I can’t imagine much would really change in that time span.
Residents in LA who loved the NFL found other teams to call their own, that will happen when you go without a team in the league since 1994. Not being very good affects things also in the City of Angels, The Chargers haven’t made the playoffs since 2013, and haven’t been to the AFC title game since 2007. To get a new fan base hooked on this team five and six win seasons will not cut it.
In a just world an expansion team one day returns to San Diego in an even more just world this move never happens and the stadium issues are worked out but with expansion eyes tilted towards the UK, a team in London may come before a return to Silicon Beach.
The map of the NFL map is in the middle of dramatic changes, and the question now is not if relocation is going to happen again, it’s when is it going to happen again but it doesn’t always mean when they relocate, they’ll be welcome in the new landing spot.