San Diego Chargers chairman Dean Spanos made it official this morning: the team is moving to Los Angeles for the 2017 season. Spanos met with employees this morning.
Spanos handed out a statement: "After much deliberation, I have made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2017 season." He continued, "San Diego has been our home for 56 years. It will always be a part of our identity…. But today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new sera as the Los Angeles Chargers."
This suggests the team will retain the Chargers brand; that could prove to be a mistake, because the Chargers are not popular in L.A.
Local and national media are claiming this morning that the move is the fault of San Diego: its taxpayers wouldn't subsidize the team. This shows the insufferable hubris of the billionaires who own the league teams and the media who fawn all over them. They expect taxpayers to finance billionaires' stadiums.
The Chargers began going down two tracks since the stadium — now named Qualcomm — was altered in 1995. The team claimed it wanted to stay in San Diego, but its spokesperson, Mark Fabiani, warned that it was also considering Los Angeles. The value of the franchise will probably soar when it occupies a new home, the stadium in Inglewood being built by multi-billionaire Stan Kroenke. The team is likely to play in a Carson soccer stadium seating a maximum of 30,000 until the Inglewood stadium is finished in 2019.
The Chargers have suffered extremely low crowds — around 54,000, worst in the league — in recent seasons, with fans from visiting teams often filling more than half the seats. The team also presented a fatuous proposal for a combined stadium and mini-convention center, called a "convadium." It got only 43 percent at the polls last November.
San Diego can be proud. It will be known as one of the first big cities to tell a professional sports team that there are better uses for taxpayer money than subsidizing a billionaire's sports team. Massachusetts and San Francisco have thumbed down mendicant teams, which eventually shelled out their own money for stadiums, with taxpayer help on infrastructure. Los Angeles has let team owners know there will be no subsidies. But I think San Diego is the first city to lose a team after turning down a demand for a subsidy.