Chargers news was a trial balloon, a P.R. blunder, or both

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It is true that the Chargers have told Commissioner Roger Goodell and multiple owners that the team will move to Los Angeles. It is also true that the team does not regard the decision as final because it has not been officially communicated to the team’s staff or to the relevant public officials.

The end result is one of two realities. Providing information that the organization had to know would be leaked represented a deliberate trial balloon or a P.R. debacle. Possibly, both.

Having the news get out via outsiders who blabbed to multiple reporters is no way to properly disengage with local customers on whom the Chargers may rely to make the drive from time to time to Inglewood. Unless the last-ditch effort to stay in San Diego wasn’t waiting for the outcome of Wednesday’s joint meeting of the NFL’s stadium and finance committees but monitoring the reaction in San Diego and Los Angeles to the news of a move.

Will this final, not-final threat to leave be the I’ll-turn-this-car-around-right-now moment that convinces the kids that the car really will be turned around? If there’s ever going to be a local solution, getting out the word of a relocation while the relocation can still be reversed would be the best way to give the tree one final, violent shake.

The leak also gives the Chargers a chance to see how they’d be welcomed in L.A. Based on this column from Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times, the arms (and thus the wallets) aren’t wide open. The next question is whether calls from 310 and related area codes will instantly be made to the Chargers’ ticket office on Thursday morning with ticket inquiries for the 30,000-seat StubHub Center.

It’s also possible that the Chargers are indeed leaving with no chance of staying and that, after months and years of uncertainty and negotiation and failed efforts to build a local stadium and planning for this specific moment, the Chargers poorly miscalculated the reality that telling Goodell and multiple owners that a move is coming would quickly make its way to the media.

Regardless, a moment that many saw coming (and it’s cute to see those who saw it coming try to claim credit for being right all along after getting scooped last night) is now here. Sort of. Kind of. Not officially yet.

Which means that the Chargers either handled it poorly. Or brilliantly. Or both.

39 responses to “Chargers news was a trial balloon, a P.R. blunder, or both

  1. This whole thing has been a debacle from the beginning. What poor management the Chargers have. I feel sorry for the fans in San Diego, who are getting shafted.

  2. I’m going to count to 3!

    1…….2…….2 and 1/2…….2 and 3/4……2 and 7/8…….

    Okay, this is it! I’m going to count to 5!

    1……..2………3………4……..4 and 1/2…….4 and 3/4……..4 and 7/8……

    This is your last chance…….I’m going to count to 10!

    1…….2………….

  3. Build your own stadium for $550MM in San Diego (or $850MM if the NFL chips in the reported $300MM from the fund). This is a doable project and no public funds necessary, plus you get a nice, new, clean, functional stadium.

    Why would you pay $550MM to go to LA and be a tenant? Are you that stupid/proud, Mr. Spanos???

  4. Lets’ face facts: The Chargers ARE LEAVING San Diego. End of story. Never been to the stadium in San Diego but what I’ve read its a canker sore.

  5. How about the NFL institute a policy that all new owners must finance their own new stadiums.

    This will never happen as it goes directly against the politics of the wealthy republican owners. Remember it’s only a wrong to get public assistance if your poor and truly need help. If your wealthy it’s your right to keep all your money and have a direct line of public cash dumped into your coffers. You won’t even have to contribute to the public portion of the funding because you won’t be paying any taxes.

  6. Does this fall under the category of “fake news”? Seems to be a lot of that lately.

  7. Greedy NFL billionaire owners, they have the money to pay for their own stadiums. I think we should watch less football next year and hopefully ratings keep going down. Game tickets are insanely overpriced. I paid $40 to park at Phins game this year. Rip off.

  8. …..Spanos is a disgrace as a owner…I thought when his dad bought the team for Klein many many years there was a YOU CAN”T MOVE THE FRANCHISE section in the sales agreement?…….ENFORCE IT Goodell.

  9. You know, if the fans in San Diego truly wanted the Chargers to stay, they would build a new stadium and we would not be having this discussion. 30,000 seats and I bet they don’t sell out most of the time. (I wouldn’t know being an east-coaster) And LA wouldn’t be my first choice of relocating if I had one. (Look at how many teams have LEFT LA) Shucks, LA doesn’t even want them. Personally, I think if Goodell wants a team in London, he should just give them San Diego. It would work out for everyone because London doesn’t know anything about American football either.

  10. A functional stadium for $550 million? What century are you living in?

    The relocation fee (actually $650 million) has no relationship to spending $550 million on a stadium. The relocation fee payment can be spread over ten years.

    The Spanos family, just like Mark Davis, does not have the requisite net worth to construct a self financed stadium. They are not Kroenke or Jerry Jones rich. Why is this so difficult to understand?

  11. How can you say it’s a debacle and that the Chargers are poorly managed? They’ve been trying to get a new stadium for 15 years..

    Stan Kroenke tried to get a new stadium for about 10 minutes in St. Louis..

  12. Very sad ending (and yes this is the end my friend) but representative of the NFL today when owners put greed and the allure of glitz over loyalty of fans and sound business sense. LA is not a football town and the Rams aren’t doing well after the fad wore off five minutes after they got there…so, add more of the same to compete for those dollars and take the one asset going (the name along with a few loyal fans) and rebrand to something ridiculous and trendy? I felt bad for St. Louis fans and now for San Diego fans because real fans don’t go for the glitz of shiny digs but for the GAME and the players who are putting a quality product on the field!
    The NFL should require owners to take a football/business competency test every few years to insure they are qualified to run a football team and not mere heirs of a contaminated gene pool jumping through hoops as dictated by the NFL.

  13. For a team had had Norv as a coach as long as they did, (only 5 years? Seems like a decade!)…. this move doesnt shock me. Nor does the idea of rebranding. In a way, if a team moves, why the hell not change everything about them.

  14. Fans need to stop looking at the NFL as a sport if they want to understand stadium events. The owners are businessmen accustomed to five year strategic plans yet we’re evaluating their moves in the present. No one reasonably believes that LA can support two pro football teams! The Chargers’ move is part of an overall long term plan.

    The Raiders’ move to Las Vegas is now a foregone conclusion – they have no other alternative – with the Chargers becoming a tenant of Stan’s Palace. The lease between the Chargers and the Rams will likely have an opt or buy out (if they don’t mind being obvious) or some not likely to be met triggers (if they’re being devious) that allows the Chargers to bolt (groan) to another city in a few years … maybe San Antonio / Austin area or maybe St Louis…. I think this has been an elaborate shell game. Was St Louis promised the opportunity to regain a franchise once the angst of losing the Rams became a tidal wave of political support to build a new stadium? Was the delay in putting a team in the seventh largest city in the US (San Antonio – though with Austin thrown in it would be much higher) to appease Jerry Jones or await his replacement by his son? Will San Diego revolt and build the stadium the NFL wants? Without seeing the five year strategic business plan it is not possible for the fans or the talking heads to understand the actions of the owners – we’re just the dumb customers.

  15. Just my 2 cents but i dont mind paying an extra 1/2 cent tax for keeping my football team around. More things than just football games take place in the stadium / vicinity when you bring 70K people to one locale.

  16. I hope the chargers aren’t relying on people to make that drive. None of the fans I’ve been tailgating with for the last 2 decades intend on driving to LA.

  17. One facet of the problem is that every new stadium needs to be a palace. There is this one-upsmanship amongst these billionaires, especially so when public funds are in hand.
    Arthur Blank/Jerry Jones and that cartoon villain in Minnesota can be blamed for this, most recently.

    So yeah, nothing under $1B for a stadium in 2017.

  18. Which is worse for the NFL: Losing the “blackmail city into new stadium” game OR having the team fail after moving? And the beauty of it is that we could very well see both! Couldn’t happen to a better guy in Spanos.

  19. The sad fact is that the NFL is all about building new stadiums, and enjoying the absolute windfall of profit that comes with them.

    The seat licenses earned the 49ers $530 million. The team also sold out their full allotment of luxury boxes, worth $400 million.

    After moving to Los Angeles last year, the value of the Rams doubled. They were the 28th most valuable franchise in the NFL — now they’re No. 6.

    Records, fans, trophies…none of that matters one iota to the dollar driven business that is the NFL.

    Bub-bye.

  20. The sad fact is that the NFL is now all about building new stadiums, and enjoying the absolute windfall of profit that comes with them.

    The seat licenses earned the 49ers $530 million. The team also sold out their full allotment of luxury boxes, worth $400 million.

    After moving to Los Angeles last year, the value of the Rams doubled. They were the 28th most valuable franchise in the NFL — now they’re No. 6.

    Records, fans, trophies…none of that matters one iota to the dollar driven business that is the NFL.

    Bub-bye.

  21. mogogo1 says:
    Jan 12, 2017 10:46 AM
    Which is worse for the NFL: Losing the “blackmail city into new stadium” game OR having the team fail after moving?

    ——-

    the latter depends on if the public helped fund the stadium. if the public did, then the 1st choice is worse. if the public didn’t, then the 2nd choice is worse.

  22. The Rams ratings were poor this year because the team was bad, it takes an hour and a half to find parking at the Colesium, the bathroom lines interfere with the concession lines maiming it impossible to walk anywhere inside without missing 20 minutes of the game. The early home games were in 96 degree heat and the stadium ran out of drinking water by halftime….25% of the fans had heat stroke. Not exactly a fun environment people want to pay a lot of money to do again.

  23. You may not realize this, but the Spanos family taking the horrible product out of San Diego is the absolute best reward for San Diego.

    You don’t think some franchise owner will want to bring his product to the nicest weather in the world where he will be beloved for all of the reason the Spanos family never would be.

    This is exactly what that cheap family deserves.

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