Well, that escalated quickly.
At a time when the NFL hopes to downplay the notion that one or two teams soon will be moving to Los Angeles, the Chargers are prepared to take steps to protect the market that’s not far up the road from San Diego.
As explained by Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, the Chargers could actively oppose a relocation to L.A.
“Over the last 20 years, there hasn’t been a team in the L.A. market,” said owner Dean Spanos, pictured with his son, Chargers executive V.P. of football operations John Spanos. “We have reached out into that market and 25 to 30 percent of our business comes from the L.A. [and] Orange County areas. Putting a team in there right now, or two teams, would have a huge impact on our business going forward. So we are trying to protect our business in San Diego. . . . It would really be harmful to us.”
Spanos explained that he has shared his concerns with others in the league.
“I have talked to owners about it, they understand. I know the Commissioner does,” Spanos said. “[I]f you put another team in there to help that team and you hurt another team, what does that do? Right. If you put two teams in there, what will that do?”
As Kaplan suggests, Spanos may simply be trying to let the Rams and Raiders know that the process will be far more complex that loading up the moving fans and driving to Los Angeles. Also, Spanos could be hoping to get a larger piece of any relocation fee that will be paid by a team that sees its value increase dramatically via a move to L.A.
Then again, Spanos could be making it known that, if anyone is going to move to Los Angeles, it’s going to be the Chargers. If 25-to-30 percent of their business already comes from L.A. and Orange County, the Chargers perhaps become the most obvious choice to make the move.
In that respect, the overriding goal could be to position the Chargers for relocation at a far lower fee than the Raiders or Rams would have to pay, if one of those two teams join the Chargers.