By: Casey Sudzina, @CaseySudzina
The LA Chargers – the moved, new, and improved version of the San Diego Chargers. Well...maybe. The National Football League and the Chargers, as an organization, seem to think so, but the communities involved seem to disagree.
For a bit of a background, the Chargers have called San Diego their home for fifty-five years. I wrote an article a few months ago with information about the move being a possibility, but now it is a reality. The Chargers released their news release and their new logo on January 12th, 2017. They have also officially changed their social media to the LA Chargers as well.
Dean Spanos, Chairman of the Chargers, made the announcement saying, “It [San Diego] will always be a 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. But, today we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers."
The Chargers played their first season in LA in 1960, so they have small ties to the city.
With LA about a one hundred miles from San Diego, it will be interesting to see if fans in San Diego still make the trips to the games.
The team considered staying in San Diego and probably wanted to, but Qualcomm Stadium was no longer a viable option for the team to use as a venue. The team had created to plans for a stadium renovation and rebuild to submit to the city, but they were denied.
The organization was put in a tough spot and clearly felt there was no other option but to move.
Not free from costs, the move will come with a hefty price tag. Not only will there be a $550-$650 million dollar relocation fee, they will have to build a new practice facility, and pay a $12.5 million early contract termination fee owed to the city of San Diego for the contract that was supposed to go to 2020.
When it comes to the fans, the Chargers have come out with a statement that their season ticket holders will in fact receive full refunds for tickets, if that is what they want after the move.
The most important aspect to consider about this move, and the future success of the Chargers, is the current number of teams, both professional and collegiate, that exist in LA.
NFL: LA Rams, LA Chargers
NBA: LA Lakers, LA Clippers
WNBA: LA Sparks
MLB: LA Dodgers, LA Angels
NHL: LA Kings
WHA: LA Sharks
MLS: LA Galaxy
College Teams: USC, UCLA
With now nine professional franchises, LA rivals NYC, who has 11, as the city with the most teams.
Starting in 2019, the Chargers will be sharing Inglewood Stadium. Until then, they will be playing in The StubHub Center in Carson for 2017 and 2018. Though the new location will be small, 30,000 seats to be exact, it could create a unique environment that allows fans to feel close to the action and exclusive.
The biggest question looming over the possible success of the Chargers and Rams will be whether or not LA will be able to duplicate the success of NYC and be able to support two NFL franchises.
Once the two teams figure out how to successfully market themselves in such a saturated market, it could be miraculous. If all goes well, scheduling, staffing, and sales/marketing wise, it will be pretty incredible to watch the well-oiled machine run.
The question, though, is will it ever run?
I believe many fans and spectators alike are asking the same question, and only time will tell. It will be a few years before the public experiences the new stadium, but we will have the pleasure of seeing the saturated market in action this fall.