By Joe Leo
Published: October 31st, 2018
The L.A. Chargers doesn’t sound quite right, does it? As difficult as it is to remember that the Chargers play in Los Angeles and not San Diego, the last two years that Chargers’ owner Dean Spanos put the team through could ultimately be the death of the franchise itself.
The franchise should have never left the city of San Diego in the first place. Charger football was all that city had in all of professional sports, with the exception of the dismal Padres. And when Spanos stole the team, it left a hole that not even a reluctant return would fill.
If you rewind a few years back to 2016 when the Chargers made the move official—you may remember that the Chargers and the city of San Diego were in a fight with each other over a new stadium. The City didn’t want to pay for it and neither did Spanos. So, the Chargers hightailed it out of San Diego and into football purgatory. San Diego may technically have a home in L.A. but in reality, the Chargers couldn’t be more out of place. Once the city of Los Angeles got the Rams, which was just eight days before they would get the Chargers, the football fans of Los Angeles were content. Los Angeles didn’t need two football teams. L.A. already has two baseball teams (Dodgers and Angeles), a hockey team (Kings), and two basketball teams (Lakers and Clippers). Not to mention the fan-fair of both the University of California and USC has, top that all off with the glitz and glam of Hollywood and Spanos might have well relocated his team to Alaska.
The oversaturation of sporting events going on in Los Angeles became enough for the City once the Rams finalized their plans to relocate. If Spanos and the Chargers would’ve made the announcement first, maybe it would be Stan Kroenke that would have a team in limbo and not the Spanos family. Although, the Chargers couldn’t have done that because when they made the announcement, they still didn’t have a place to play games. San Diego agreed to a deal with Kroenke and the Rams to play in the Rams new stadium once it was built in 2020 but didn’t announce until the following morning that they’d play in StubHub Center in the meantime. That stadium houses barely 30,000 people and serves as a constant reminder of the poor decision of moving the Chargers away from San Diego.
The Chargers finished 4-12 the season before moving to L.A and only improved by one game in their inaugural season. Poor play only worsened the decision by Spanos to move—and with the latest news that the Chargers are looking for a new place to play coming after tragic news of Dean Spanos’ death, the future of the team is anything but certain.
2020 is far away for a franchise that is almost without a home for next season. In an attempt to save the Los Angeles marriage until 2020, the Chargers scrambled to announce a new plan for tickets in the new stadium they are renting from the Rams. Prices for those home games will range from $50-90 for non-PSL seats. What’s a PSL? It stands for Personal Seat License and allows fans to buy one so called “premium” seat in the stadium. PSL’s range from $10-200 thousand depending on the stadium you by the license in according to the Star Telegram. For Charger “fans” wanting to own a PSL in the new stadium in 2020—it will cost them anywhere from $10-70 thousand according to the San Diego Tribune. All of this comes off an ESPN report saying that NFL owners are concerned with the Chargers viability in Los Angeles. Adding, “the Chargers are expected to revise their initial Inglewood revenue goal from $400 million down to $150 million.” That is a significant revision and one that leaves the Chargers in a state of ‘okay, now what?’
With tiny rumors of where they would move if indeed the Chargers cannot make it in L.A. until 2020, San Diego was the first to reach the mill. Perhaps the most uncertain factor of the future for this team, is who will be their next on-field leader. The Chargers franchise quarterback, Philip Rivers, is 36-years-old and will turn 37 in December. The Chargers don’t have a future beyond Rivers. The current back-up is ex-Jet Geno Smith who hasn’t been nearly what he was projected to coming out of West Virginia. Not helping their own case, the Chargers are currently one game back of the Kansas City Chiefs for first place in the AFC West.
Ultimately, the Chargers are a team dancing on the edge of disaster without every scenario checked off. Even if the Chargers survive until 2020, the franchise is headed for the cellar, thanks to the same glitz and glamor that enticed them to move in the first place. Like many actors and actresses, the Chargers by every fault of their own, have been snake bitten by the dangers of Twinkle Town.