This article is to come to terms about the impending issue facing the San Diego Chargers as an organization in the immediate years to come. That issue is the development for a new stadium. Moving a team is a very tough decision to make. Especially when it involves financial decisions on both the city and the team. Here are a couple of things to consider when we're looking at the team staying in San Diego versus moving back to the city in which the Chargers started their organization with.
Let's just say this plain and simple. The Chargers may have early ties to L.A. but the Chargers are NOT, and NEVER will be considered L.A.'s team to begin with. The Chargers have spent only one season in L.A. in 1960 back when the Chargers were part of the American Football League (AFL). The following season in 1961, the Chargers moved to San Diego where they have spent nearly the past five decades as a team.
The Chargers owe a lot to the fans of San Diego that have stuck with the team for so long through so many tough years. The fans of San Diego are Super Bowl deprived as the Chargers are one of 14 NFL teams to have NEVER won a Super Bowl.
How shameful would it be for the team to bow out and leave with a great team to give another city possibly a Super Bowl trophy when those local fans of that city never went through the struggles as a fan that folks in San Diego go through with the Chargers?
The Chargers should stay in San Diego because of its history as a team in that city and because they owe it to the fans that have stuck through with them since 1961. It's a moral decision and one that the Spanos family exercised when they said they'll stay in San Diego for the upcoming 2011 season (if there is one) in which they could have easily left with a opt out clause in the Chargers contract with the city regarding the stadium.
The decision to go to L.A. wouldn't be a great one for the team as for one, many of the population in the city of Los Angeles is largely Raiders and 49ers fans. That's the tough part about moving to Los Angeles. The new stadium in Los Angeles is going to have about 75,000 seats. Are there 75,000 Chargers fans in Los Angeles? That's a tough call now isn't it. I highly doubt it as they have closer ties to the Raiders who spent 12 years in Los Angeles.
With the problem of loyal fans being Raiders and 49ers fans, how will the stadium look for the Chargers if they were to move to Los Angeles when the Raiders and 49ers come to town? It'll look like a home game for the visiting team. The Chargers spent five decades trying to earn a huge following. How long will it take for the Chargers to have loyal fans in Los Angeles when many are staunch fans of other California teams?
The only way for the Chargers to get fans in Los Angeles to change their loyalty from the Raiders is for them to change their name so that they'll be associated with the people of Los Angeles. Pittsburgh has their Steelers. San Francisco have their 49ers. Dallas has the Cowboys. Houston has the Texans. That would mean Los Angeles will have its.... hmmmm.... Stars? Los Angeles Stars? LOL! That would be funny as hell.
Another problem facing the Chargers if they move to Los Angeles is some of the possible problems that may come about from being in a very "social" city. Players on the Chargers squad already have problems with off the field issues. I'm sure the last thing the Chargers want to deal with is more off the field problems as they move to another media capital of the world.
Speaking of media, every mistake, scrutiny, personnel decisions and personal life issues will be brought to life in Los Angeles. In San Diego, people are more care free and relaxed versus Los Angeles. San Diego fans are more inclined to not care about what's going on in any of the football players' lives as their personal business is their own. Los Angeles won't be that kind.
This is why the Chargers should stay in San Diego. It would take many years for the Chargers organization to even build a stable group of fans to support themselves financially if the move is a financial move. The Chargers should stay due to the issues of players that may get in trouble due to the media frenzy scene of Los Angeles, and the possible problems that may arise with so many players likely to take part in off the field parties that may set themselves up for failure.
Los Angeles versus San Diego. The City of Angels versus the City of Saint Didacus. The L.A. Raiders versus the L.A. Chargers. However you want to call it, the best argument to be made for the Chargers moving to Los Angeles is this, they have a bigger market than San Diego.
The Chargers will more than likely increase their fan base by moving to Los Angeles as I don't see the locals of San Diego hating the Chargers if they move versus hating the city for not getting a stadium done. The reason being is because many of the fans in San Diego love their Chargers even if they moved from San Diego. The move would also be strategic for the Chargers to take away as many 49ers and Raiders fans and turn them into Chargers fans if the Chargers move up there.
The reason that the Chargers may want to move to Los Angeles and why the bigger market has so many pros to it is simple—the money.
A bigger market is what will get the Chargers more revenue from a larger potential fan base from a city that is the 2nd ranked most populated city in the entire nation. The city of Los Angeles has 3.83 million residents within its city limits while San Diego has 1.36 million residents within its city limits.
If you look at the entire picture, if the Chargers were to play in Los Angeles, the Chargers could take advantage of the California "megalopolis" (Los Angeles to San Diego) that has over 22 million people. That's a huge fan base. There is no doubt that San Diego residents will be sour about the move but they will still be loyal to the team just as many L.A. residents are loyal to the Raiders after the Raiders spent 12 years there and left. L.A. residents are hungry for their own team to identify themselves with.
The other plus side to Los Angeles is the multicultural dominance that it has over San Diego. Many nations around the world have hats and jerseys of the Cowboys and other bigger market teams. The Chargers can join that elite class of teams that have the ability to expand and it wouldn't cost them much, all they have to do is move to L.A.
Extra money to the Chargers means having the ability to retain many of their talented players. Sure they'll be able to sign some ridiculous free agents out there but that's not the style the Chargers have been playing under A.J. Smith. With extra money from a bigger market, A.J. Smith wouldn't have to push the limits of his negotiating ability when it comes to players and their agents.
The biggest plus of all for the move to Los Angeles is the willingness of the city to give a NFL team a top notch stadium. Not only that, stadium plans have already been set to make not only a quality stadium, but a stadium that is ecologically friendly and is LEED certified and EIR approved. That's another fan base the Chargers can tap into and they would be one of the very few eco-friendly stadiums out there. So many environmentalists would give the Chargers loads of exposure in their efforts to have a cleaner environment. Not only that, the stadium wouldn't cause traffic as it is located outside of the urban areas making it a non-factor in Sunday traffic jams.
There aren't many cons for the Chargers staying in San Diego other than the fact that there has been zero movement in getting a stadium done from the city. It is understandable as many Chargers fans must understand that in order for the city to build a stadium, they'd have to increase taxes on the residents of San Diego in order to pay for the development of the stadium. The risk is paying for a stadium and then the Chargers end up not playing well, costing the city lots of money when seats aren't filled.
Although the city may not offer the Chargers the big market, the team is willing to stay as a new stadium will provide the team a new way to earn money with more suites and other amenities.
In the end, the Chargers will not stay in San Diego if they have to continue playing in a stadium that they've been playing in since 1967.
I believe whole heartedly that the Chargers want to stay in San Diego. The organization don't want to move to Los Angeles if they don't have to. The only reason why the Chargers would have to move as a organization would totally be a financial move for the Chargers to take advantage of a great team and to exploit it around the nation as such just like how the Giants, Jets, and Cowboys do so year in and year out for the past couple of decades.
Everything the Chargers decide on for the 2012 season has everything to do with the CBA situation and what the stipulations are regarding how the teams will be run within the league. The Chargers as a organization will see how those new CBA stipulations will effect the Chargers as a team and if it works in their favor, it's more than likely they'll stay and continue be the San Diego Chargers.
The city of San Diego needs to be able to build a stadium in order for them to keep the Chargers. The risk the city may face in building a stadium is the possibility for the team using the city to make the team more attractive for potential buyers if they decide to sell the team. There has been word that the head of the Spanos family was selling his share of the team. It's easy to look at him selling as to enjoy the rest of his life not running a football organization but when city officials look at it, it's possible that the team wants a stadium to attract buyers and from the looks of it, it don't look promising when it's Los Angeles investors that are very interested in the team.
The city must have some sort of guarantee with the team to ensure that if they build a stadium, the team will stay even if another buyer owns the team. That's something I'm sure that bothered the city a lot since the talk of Los Angeles wanting a football team.
The ball is in the city of San Diego's court as to whether they want the team to stay. If they build a new stadium, the Chargers will stay because they can be competitive with other teams in terms of marketing and having new revenue through the stadium that may improve the Chargers to keep many of their own players and not lose them to the free agency.
All in all, if the CBA doesn't help the Chargers stay competitive in the NFL and the city of San Diego don't build a new stadium, expect the Chargers to move to Los Angeles.
Maybe the city is hoping another team takes the offer from Los Angeles to go there as the city of San Diego doesn't have much bargaining room at all.
I hope the Chargers do stay in San Diego. I can't imagine them being in Los Angeles. Regardless of what happens, I'll still be a Chargers fan through and through.