After numerous failed attempts to get taxpayers to foot the bill for a new downtown stadium in San Diego, the Chargers are apparently taking their talents to Los Angeles.
The franchise is expected to announce, as early as today, that after 55 years in San Diego, that they’ll be returning to L.A., which is where they played during their inaugural season in 1960.
Chargers chairman Dean Spanos has been trying to find a new stadium for the team for close to 20 years.
After being without an NFL team for two decades, Los Angeles will now have two to kick off the 2017 season.
The Chargers applied for the L.A. move last year, but their proposed shared stadium project with the Oakland Raiders in the city of Carson was shot down by the NFL in favor of the Rams’ $2.66 billion stadium project that is expected to open in Inglewood in 2019.
The obvious question is where will the Chargers play their home games over the next few years until they have the stadium that they’ve long desired. They have agreed to lease land for a temporary training facility in Orange County along with part of a Costa Mesa office complex and three acres to serve as the initial location of the team’s offices, practice and training facilities.
While billionaire owners fight with cities to get hundreds of millions to support their new stadium projects, once again it’s the fans that suffer. In leaving San Diego, the Chargers are ditching their loyal fan base who supported the franchise when they were terrible, and who basked in the days and exploits of their excellent Air Coryell ’70s and ’80s squads of Dan Fouts, Chuck Muncie, John Jefferson, Charlie Joiner and Kellen Winslow Sr. and the Junior Seau crew that too them to their only Super Bowl in 1994.
So how are those loyal fans supposed to feel after decades of their support? What happens to season-ticket holders? Will the franchise abandon their identity as “The Chargers” and totally re-brand? Where in the world are they going to play, as the current options of the StubHub Center in Carson, which seats 27,000, and the L.A. Coliseum, which seats 100,000, are on the opposite ends of a spectrum that both seem unsuitable.
How will this affect coaching hires and free agent acquisitions? Will the Rams and Chargers work out an arrangement like the Giants and the Jets for a stadium share, and how will that affect naming rights, suites, sponsors and advertising, season ticket prices and personal seat licenses?
At the end of the day, the rich get richer during the unfolding relocation scenarios, while the long-time fans of the Chargers get the shaft.