On Chargers’ persistent relocation rumors, common sense points to the Rams

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The Chargers’ struggles in L.A. continue to be exacerbated by periodic reports that they won’t be staying in L.A. for very long. And that’s very good news for the other NFL team in L.A.

It also makes the Rams the prime suspects in the endless stream of rumor, speculation, and innuendo regarding a potential relocation of the Chargers.

Whether it’s a return to San Diego, a relocation to St. Louis, or a 5,400-mile move to London (none of which are happening), the whispers that the Chargers won’t be long for Los Angeles continue. Given that they’re coming at a time when both the Chargers and the Rams are trying to sell PSLs, tickets, and/or suites at the new stadium they’ll share as of 2020, lingering uncertainty regarding the Chargers inures directly to the benefit of the Rams.

In every market, sports fans have only so many dollars to spend. With two NFL teams in the same market, and with both teams trying to establish a base of paying customers in a 70,000-seat venue when the paying customers can choose to patronize either team, one way win the battles for the hearts, minds, and wallets of Angelenos would be to perpetuate the notion that one of the two contenders may remove itself from the competition.

While fans picking the Rams over the Chargers hurts the Rams indirectly by depressing the revenue the Chargers will generate at the stadium owned by Rams owner Stan Kroenke, fans of teams facing the Chargers will still buy the tickets to games (with 20-plus years of no NFL teams in L.A., thousands of fans of every team reside there), making the stadium full or close to it regardless of the size of the Chargers’ fan base in L.A.

So Kroenke will still make money from having the Chargers play at his stadium, and the Rams will preserve their top-dog position in the L.A. market if the Chargers’ struggles to establish a foothold continue to be undermined by the perception that they already have one foot out the door.

To be fair, the Chargers have done little to protect themselves. Last year’s 12-4 season generated little or no local excitement, and the team has made decisions in free agency and the draft without regard to the importance of having players that fans will pay to see. The Rams have found a way to operate with substance and style, and style definitely becomes a big part of the equation in L.A.

Whether the Chargers adjust their roster-management strategy accordingly, they definitely have dramatically changed their P.R. approach. The deliciously profane comments from owner Dean Spanos ooze with the frustration that comes from the perception/reality that the Rams are working the media to establish and maintain a false narrative that the Chargers may leave. Hopefully, Spanos and company will work behind the scenes to tell the league and the Rams that the Chargers understand what the Rams are doing, and that if the Rams keep it up the next batch of quotes from Spanos will include both profanity and a direct claim that the Rams are behind the leaks of #fakenews.

41 responses to “On Chargers’ persistent relocation rumors, common sense points to the Rams

  1. The NYC area supports two football teams. Both of which are lousy. The two teams share a stadium that they paid for together and everyone seems happy. So I am not entirely sure why two teams can’t make a go of it in LA.

  2. Hmm. Immediately after reading this I thought, “Would it be extreme for one to think Spanos has just maybe already enlisted the aid of the media?”

  3. “The NYC area supports two football teams. Both of which are lousy. The two teams share a stadium that they paid for together and everyone seems happy. So I am not entirely sure why two teams can’t make a go of it in LA.”

    ^^^^This. 140,000 people to buy NFL tickets in LA is a drop in the bucket. LA has a million people who could buy season tickets for both teams.

  4. Media just doesn’t get it. They write and talk as if the Chargers were expected to win over the Los Angeles fan base during their first season or after their first season in LA. It’s not nor was it ever going to be a short term sprint to win over LA fans. It was always going to take time, 3-4-5 seasons of 12-4, 11-5, 13-3, 10-6 with several seasons of making the playoffs and a season or two with a deep playoff run. Then yeah… slowly buy surely the Chargers would have been growing some LA roots that would yield fruit later. It’s going to take approximately 15-years for that young 8-year old child to reach an age… say around 23 when he’ll be able to go to Charger games on his own or with his friends. First you have to do well so that young child will start looking your way, then continue to do well enough season to season so that you don’t lose his interest. Then, as he ages his fandom will be rooted and finally, when he’s old enough first he’ll start going on his own to the games with his friends and then with his own family sometime thereafter and in doing so will be cultivating the next generation after him. This is what the situation is, this is what it’s going to take. Why the media thinks the Chargers should be drawing fans in larger quantities after only a few seasons is incomprehensible. LA had a 20+ year drought of professional football… there wasn’t loyalty to anyone. Loyalty doesn’t come at the flip of a switch, like respect it has to be earned and will take time. Such a simple concept yet lost on so many.

  5. theres alot more to do in L.A. on a sunday afternoon than to go to a NFL game and spend 20 bucks for a beer and 100 for parking

  6. Who ever would have thought that LA can’t support two NFL teams? Oh wait, pretty much everyone. They couldn’t do it in the past, and they can’t do it now. It was a dumb idea to think it would suddenly work.

  7. ““The NYC area supports two football teams. Both of which are lousy. The two teams share a stadium that they paid for together and everyone seems happy. So I am not entirely sure why two teams can’t make a go of it in LA.”

    ^^^^This. 140,000 people to buy NFL tickets in LA is a drop in the bucket. LA has a million people who could buy season tickets for both teams.”

    _____________________

    It’s simple: the people of Los Angeles don’t care about pro football. There’s no steady history, with teams coming and going at will (largely for the reason I already stated), whereas the Giants and the Jets both have loyal fanbases and decorated histories. Los Angeles just isn’t a football town. Sure, people like USC, but the Rams and Chargers could play each other in the next ten Super Bowls, splitting right down the middle, and they’d still be about a third as loved as the Clippers. I’m just wondering when the league is gonna finally throw in the towel and admit that an LA football team isn’t going to generate the money they want, regardless of “market size.”

  8. 1. Spanos is in over his head.

    2. It makes financial sense for the Rams to share the stadium because fans who follow the Rams won’t care about the chargers.

    3. The real test for the Rams is what happens in a couple of years when the team fades? If they are mediocre for 5 years, what will attendance be like? It won’t matter if all seats require PSLs. If not then sales may drop.

  9. Mike , good analysis as usual, but everybody’s forgetting Spanos still owes NFL owners the better part of $650 million “relocation” fee. If the team were to “relocate” again either Spanos or a new owner would have to pony up another $650 million and buy out the 20 year lease agreement for Kronke’s new stadium. Spanos is literally renting everything in the LA area and has contract all over the place. He has trapped himself in a terrible situation and there’s no way out. NFL owners dislike Spanos. There will be no helping him. Kroenke stadium will have few LA Charger fans. There are simply too many options for customer entertainment dollars in LA. The Chargers are “homeless” in the city of “homelessness.” It’s a business catastrophe.

  10. cardinealsfan20 says:
    November 6, 2019 at 10:56 am
    “The NYC area supports two football teams. Both of which are lousy. The two teams share a stadium that they paid for together and everyone seems happy. So I am not entirely sure why two teams can’t make a go of it in LA.”

    ————————-

    Umm, the fanbases.

    I mean, I despise everything NY from the arrogance to the self-important, entitlement, etc, but I am not going to claim they don’t have some passionate sports fans.

    LA is one of the absolute worst markets in the country. Basketball for some reason does well there, but that’s about it. Baseball is pretty good, but if those teams like the Angels fall off, their fans run away for a while.

    It’s the same in the Southeast. Atlanta, Miami, Charlotte, etc. All very weak, frontrunning pro sports fans.

    It’s just the way it is. I laughed when the Chargers moved there and knew it wouldn’t work.

    It’s never worked. You still need fannies in the seats AND eyeballs on tvs. The eyeballs may be there, but the expense and hassle for many to physically drive to a game, outside of the uber-wealthy in the suites, is going to be a problem.

    Throw in the super-greedy and vile Kroenke and his investment expectations, and voila.

    I’ve warned for years. Buffalo is in trouble, too. Jax seems like an obvious choice to go to London, but if Kroenke is being aggressive, Kahn may lose it in Jax, another horrible market and in need of a new stadium BADLY like Buffalo.

    Buffalo has good fans, but their fans don’t get that every year that goes by with no new stadium, no new advertising contracts, extra ways for Pegula to profit, he’ll start losing money and HENCE, likely look to sell to an owner who will up and move them out of Buffalo. Heck, it could be Toronto.

    You have to consider the incredible greed these owners have. It’s hard for the average person to relate to it, but it’s there.

  11. “In every market, sports fans have only so many dollars to spend.”

    In LA the money is not spent on football, even with 20 million people unless the Rams are winning (a lot) they will be lucky to get 50,000 to turn out and watch games. The Chargers have been lucky with the away team fans picking up the extra 20,000 seat in the tiny stadium, it will get worse but the Charges should be able to fill 15,000 seats with their few fans and mainly away fans filling seats…can see Denver and KC fans taking a winter vacation in LA to watch a game unless the NFL schedules those games in September through November.

  12. For some reason everybody runs from the fact that this team never did have a fan base to speak of and that’s why they left San Diego.

    Yes, it was an obvious mistake to go to LA, but nobody wants them as they are, they need to be rebranded in the right town.

  13. “The NYC area supports two football teams. Both of which are lousy. The two teams share a stadium that they paid for together and everyone seems happy. So I am not entirely sure why two teams can’t make a go of it in LA.”

    ^^^^This. 140,000 people to buy NFL tickets in LA is a drop in the bucket. LA has a million people who could buy season tickets for both team.
    ——————————-
    I can’t buy this. Chargers cannot even fill a soccer stadium now, so I don’t see them filling a 70,000 capacity stadium.

  14. So, rumor in St.Louis is that the NFL may have the Chargers relocate to stl if they drop the billion dollar lawsuit that stl is going to win.

  15. LA is a Raiders town. The Rams had a following prior to leaving for STL, but no longer, they lost the devoted fans they had when they bailed out of Anaheim. The Eric Dickerson, Jackie Slater Rams fans are retired from caring about them, they gave up.

    There was a Rams vs. Raiders game in the big A in 95 or 96, the entire stadium at one point was a street brawl, the front page of the OC Register had a half page showing 10 to 15 simultaneous fights going on. This was the last hurrah for people caring about the teams. Once the Rams bailed only the Raiders fans remained, always loyal those Raider fans, many traveled to Oakland to see the team. Outside of the bay area’s 49er crowd, California is a Raider state. Lots of people will travel to Vegas to see the Raiders, very few will travel to LA and battle Sunday traffic to see two carpet bagging teams.

    Chargers need to move to San Antonio or London.

  16. St Louis Chargers,has a nice ring to it,a football city without a team,hopefully not for too long.makes sense for the Chargers to move there.

  17. Raiders still own the football fan base in the LA area. If it was up to the fans, LA sports would consist of the Lakers, Dodgers and Raiders and that will never change. That’s the reason the Rams move in 1995, and the Chargers will be looking to relocate.

  18. The NFL CAN if they want to, put pressure on the Spanos family to sell. If the late Panther owner Richardson was pressured to sell , they should do it the Chargers too. Their ownership is awful. San Diego, Austin , Memphis , or Birmingham should get 1st crack before London.

  19. The Chargers are stuck being 2nd fiddle in LA thanks to Spanos’ mismanagement. If he cared about his team, and the city that supported it for 50 years, he would’ve ponied up more for a new venue in San Diego. His move to LA is a cynical money grab.
    So, he has chosen dishonor in LA (but with slightly more money in his pocket) over honor in SD (but at a slightly lower wealth level).
    Whatever happens to him, it’s deserved.

  20. The league spent years threatening to move teams to LA. When LA got its teams, the rumors immediately shifted to London.

    I also recall the NFL claiming that an LA stadium wouldn’t be economically viable without two tenants. Now that LA’s stadium is nearly ready, they don’t need two teams anymore.

    Somewhere in the middle of those two thoughts, the NFL got new stadiums in Las Vegas and Minnesota (anywhere else?)—what markets are they trying to squeeze this time?

  21. I know everyone hates teams relocating and all that, but from their point of view I don’t know why anyone would willingly want to be 2nd fiddle in their own market.
    That’s not just Chargers specific or NFL specific. The Chargers should move to be in their own market, the Jets, the White Sox, the As, etc.
    They’re never leap frogging the teams they share a market with so why not dominate your own market?

  22. The real problem is LA is a college football town USC and UCLA draw more fans to each game with poor to mediocre teams many weeks USC has more Attendance than the Rams and Chargers combined.

  23. The Raiders should have moved to LA, and the Chargers to Vegas. Problem is the Rams didn’t want to be overshadowed by a tenant.

  24. r8rsfan says:
    November 6, 2019 at 11:44 am
    The Raiders run California.
    *************************************
    It actually goes beyond California and includes Mexico too.

    I know both Chargers fans won’t like it but it’s true.

  25. sdelmonte says:
    November 6, 2019 at 10:46 am
    The NYC area supports two football teams. Both of which are lousy. The two teams share a stadium that they paid for together and everyone seems happy. So I am not entirely sure why two teams can’t make a go of it in LA.

    *******************************************************************************

    Not comparable markets. LA is not a great market for sustaining NFL teams to begin with — even decent teams have a had a rough time there before. Having two there at once is a recipe for failure. The Chargers are in a particularly bad spot — they feel like a nomad without a permanent home, so doesn’t seem like fans cling to them. Teams in NYC, conversely, can be bad and people still show up.

  26. sdelmonte says:
    November 6, 2019 at 10:46 am
    The NYC area supports two football teams. Both of which are lousy. The two teams share a stadium that they paid for together and everyone seems happy. So I am not entirely sure why two teams can’t make a go of it in LA.
    ________________________________________________

    I agree in theory, but also agree with a previous comment that the Giants have been around since the 1920s, and the Jets 1960, with Joe Namath and Super Bowl III, somehow still having a lasting impact on the fan base, along with the New York Sack Exchange teams of the 1980s, etc. That’s decades of dedication and loyalty. The Chargers have been in LA for three years. In many ways, the only teams that matter in California, are the Dodgers and Lakers. Everyone else takes a back seat to them. I think that’s obvious.

    I’m old enough to recall watching on TV – Dan Fouts, Chuck Muncie, Charlie Joyner, Kellen Winslow, Fast Train Lane, etc. – I can’t call them anything but the San Diego Chargers. It’s the only place they belong.

  27. A stadium is a huge part of the value of an NFL franchise and the Chargers don’t have one. Not today, not when they move into the Rams new place, and unlikely anytime in the near future based on how difficult it is to build anything in LA and how Spanos refuses to pay for it. That automatically makes them likely to move at some point.

  28. Once the Rams return to mediocrity, or even 8-8 seasons I think you will see the fan base evaporate. I still believe Kroenke’s main goal has always been to build the new stadium with accompanying retail and hotel businesses more so than what the Rams do for him financially. At the moment I think he’s licking his chops at what the two nights of Taylor Swift in 2020 will bring in (and act as a template for future concert earnings) as opposed to what the Rams may or may not do.The stadium is also being used for the Olympics in 2028.The venue is where the real money is.

    …and as much as I dislike them, LA is definitely the Raiders town. It’s not even close. I think in a few years after the newness wears off the public will once again turn it’s back on the NFL.

    I don’t think the Chargers had a choice on the move to LA. The TV money is keeping them afloat at the moment I presume, but unless they win a Super Bowl, they’re gonna be in trouble. I see the Spanos family offloading the team before it gets to that point.

  29. “I’m old enough to recall watching on TV – Dan Fouts, Chuck Muncie, Charlie Joyner, Kellen Winslow, Fast Train Lane, etc.”

    “Fast Train Lane”? Maybe you mean Lionel “Little Train” James, the versatile 5’6″ dynamo.

  30. “LA has shown in the past it can’t even support one team. Blame the NFL for thinking it could support two.”

    Really, the NFL didn’t think it was smart to put two teams in LA. That’s why they made Spanos wait a year, giving the Rams a head start as the first team in the market. Then they gave Deano an extra $100 million to stay put. But Deano wanted everything handed to him, and San Diego wouldn’t do that (They gave him A LOT, but they didn’t give him everything). So off he went, actually against the better judgment of the league.

    In hindsight I think they would have made it much harder for the Chargers to move north if they knew he’d be dumb enough to do it.

  31. I wonder if we’d be having this discussion if the Raiders got to go to LA over the Chargers…

  32. The Chargers need to move to STL or San Antonio and REBRAND. It is a shame San Diego didn’t pass measure C. This would have kept the Chargers in San Diego. Essentially tourists and visitors would have funded the stadium.

  33. Spanos keeps saying that he was run out of San Diego, but the truth is that he ran himself out. He saw the Clippers get auctioned off for $2Billion and the cash register signs in his eyeballs started rolling. He was actually offered a new stadium in Mission Valley, but he insisted on one downtown, despite it requiring a lot more moving parts. He turned down a partnership with the Padres and Larry Lucchino to build downtown with the Padres, preferring Mission Valley. He wanted San Diego to build him a free stadium, but instead opted to pay the NFL $650 Million to relocate and turned down $400 Million in stadium funding. A Billion dollars to move.

  34. LA is one of the absolute worst markets in the country. Basketball for some reason does well there, but that’s about it. Baseball is pretty good, but if those teams like the Angels fall off, their fans run away for a while.
    ————
    This might be the most erroneous thing posted on this page. The Dodgers are routinely top 3 in attendance. The Angels are routinely top 10 in attendance, and were #5 this year despite being out of it from midseason.

    The Raiders and Rams didn’t leave because of lack of support. They left because politicians wouldn’t bend over backwards to give subsidies for billionaires. That’s pretty ironic because Dean Spanos is deeply invested in politics and helped install Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor.

    St. Louis is the nation’s leader in lost sports teams. Is it because their fans stink? It’s tempting to say yes to troll them, but no, that’s not the reason. It’s because they too won’t give subsidies to billionaires.

    Look at MLB and NBA – attendance is largely unrelated to teams’ profitability. In the NFL, as long as they sell the PSLs the rest doesn’t really matter, they’re going to make money hand over fist.

    Fanbases have nothing to do with why teams leave markets. If you believe otherwise, please do tell how people in Missouri are somehow terrible sports fans.

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