Isaiah Freedman senior sports consultant
Boy, do circumstances change quickly.
This time last year, Los Angeles, the second largest market in the country, did not have a football team. Fast forward a whole year and our city currently has two: the Rams and now the Chargers.
With the Chargers announcing their move last week to flee to LA and leave charming San Diego behind, nobody has benefitted from this relocation.
First of all, we do not want nor need the Chargers. We already support the Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Dodgers, Galaxy, Sparks and Rams. The Lakers’ D-League affiliate may receive more love than the Chargers are about to get.
Chargers fans are rightfully infuriated with owner Dean Spanos uprooting their lone football franchise of 54 years. Spanos had the option to self finance a new stadium in San Diego, where the NFL would lend him $300 million to help out with the move. He refused, instead trying to make the citizens pay for it out of their own pockets. They rightfully declined, since it is ridiculous that billionaires are trying to persuade cities into paying for their own stadiums.
The worst part is that cities benefit minimally from stadium profits. When convincing citizens to help finance a stadium, owners will twist the facts to make it sound as if the stadium will create jobs and boost the economy, but it’s mostly baloney.
After being unable to trick citizens into financing the proposed San Diego lot, Spanos emerges as a massive loser since he now leaves an infuriated fanbase behind only to step into one that booed when his “Los Angeles Chargers” logo was put up on the big screen at a recent Lakers-Clippers game.
When assessing the wreckage of it all, there are losers in every direction. The NFL is a loser, since it lost another solid, reliable football market. LA fans are losers, since we inherit yet another losing football team. Chargers players and staffers are losers, since they have to move to LA and relocate their families.
If there is a winner out of this, he is playing a next-level game of “Where’s Waldo?”
To cap it off even more, the new logo is hideous, and a complete rip-off of the Dodgers logo. It was so hideous that the Chargers have changed it multiple times so far due to the ruthless backlash over social media.
No one involved wanted this to happen. Not Spanos, not the players, not the NFL, not LA fans and certainly not San Diego fans. But what’s done is done, and now San Diego has lost its beloved franchise and LA has to deal with the only team that lost to the hapless Cleveland Browns last season.
The Chargers belong in San Diego, where they have been embraced for 54 years. Here, LA will neglect any franchise until it starts to field a winnable product. And even then, who knows how truly committed a city largely populated by out-of-towners would be toward a team that has no meaningful bond with its new location?
In 2019, when Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s state-of-the-art stadium is set to be completed, the Chargers will share a stadium with the Rams, blending them in even further.
In San Diego, the Chargers were loved. They were THE San Diego Chargers. Now, in LA, they share a first name with about seven other franchises. They are not special anymore, and instead are now a homogenized sports team that will struggle for survival in the big LA market.
Never trust billionaire owners claiming they have their hands tied behind their backs. They are billionaires; they can make anything feasible happen if they truly want to. Spanos has done himself and the loyal citizens of San Diego a disservice by snatching their team away and moving it to an overcrowded and unforgiving market.
LA will barely acknowledge the Chargers until they start winning big time, while Chargers fans back in San Diego will bemoan the move all year. That is the sad reality of this situation. This move has spawned no winners, only losers.