San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders Are Better off in Los Angeles

San Diego Chargers' owner, Dean Spanos
San Diego Chargers' owner, Dean SpanosDoug Pensinger/Getty Images
Carlos SandovalAnalyst IIIMarch 27, 2011

In case you haven't heard, Los Angeles is a pretty big ticket for sports in the United States. The area — including Anaheim — has five professional sports teams in the four major North American sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL). That obviously doesn't include other prestigious sports clubs, like the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans.

However, the NFL hasn't had a team in L.A. since 1994, when the Raiders moved from the city, back to Oakland, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of the die-hard Raiders fans.

But with Los Angeles trying to market itself as a premier spot for an NFL team, it seems likely that the Raiders could move back to L.A., while there's been speculation over the past few years that the Chargers are also a candidate.

Of course, neither cities are too keen about giving up their teams. Why would they be, anyway? They bring in revenue, and football is football, man. We need it.

But at this point, who cares what fans want in Oakland and San Diego?

It pains me to say that, it really does. I live in San Diego, and I love the Chargers, and loathe the classless, dirty, rowdy Raiders fans. But as a fan of the team, I'm ashamed to be put into the same category as other fans here.

Because down here in sunny San Diego? "Fair-weather" is easily the best way to describe Chargers' fandom. The majority of fans here couldn't name one starter on the offensive side of the ball if their coveted surf-boards' lives depended on it. Of all the people who talk about being Chargers fans, 98 percent of them can't really talk about the Chargers. Rewind seven years ago, and the majority of the population wore Tom Brady jerseys every Sunday.

Raider fans, though, are dedicated as hell up in Oakland. We here it on the news all the time — "Raider fan busted for bar-fighting" and something of the like. They bleed black and silver, and that's not the dangerous amounts of alcohol seeping from their skin.

But Oakland isn't exactly the greatest city in California; in fact, it's one of the worst, and the general consensus is that it's a slum. When a team that prestigious with that much of a fan-base has the opportunity to move to Los Angeles, where there's still a huge appetite for Raider football, they need to take it.

Also, moving both teams can spark a rivalry we haven't seen among California sports teams in a while. As it is, Chargers fans hate Raiders fans, and vice-versa. Imagine the rivalry continuing, where the team is vying for dominance in the same city, in the same arena, playing twice a year as AFC West rivals? With the success the Chargers have had over the past six years — and the current young talent the Raiders boast — a rivalry's pretty damn guaranteed. It makes for a hell of a storyline.

Oh, and one more ridiculously important reason: Money. Dead Presidents. Green-backs. Dolla' Dolla' bills, y'all.

Revenue is waiting in Los Angeles. The larger audience, the stars that would promote the NFL teams, becoming a large market that would receive benefit of the doubt during playoff games. All of it. it's waiting for a football team. Los Angeles is the largest city in the largest state in the United States of America. The money is there. Building a new stadium, hosting 90,000 fans weekly, charging upwards of $200 for nose-bleed seats, merchandise, ease of promotion. It's there. The money is the reason there's no such thing as NFL football right now; and it could be the reason that Los Angeles catapults itself as the place to be, for any sporting event.

It's up to Al Davis and Dean Spanos, though, the owners of the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, respectively. If their head is on straight, they'd know where to go, and when to be there. It's obvious — if they're smart — they'll jump on the opportunity.

(Carlos Sandoval is a host on the weekly NFL podcast, The Pigeon Toe. You can subscribe to the weekly video podcast on iTunes, and you can also follow him on Twitter @CarloshSandoval.)

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