Earlier this year, the Chargers announced they would be moving from San Diego to Los Angeles. A lot of Chargers fans were understandably not happy with the decision. Many fans took to the team headquarters and burned memorabilia and other Chargers items. Needless to say, it wasn't a pretty breakup.
Right after the announcement, the Chargers took to Twitter and changed the avatar to a new logo, and many fans didn't hold back. Other sports teams even took to Twitter to let their opinions be known, and even they weren't very nice. A few days later, the Chargers backtracked, and changed logos again, this time to something basic. Either way, it hasn't been the greatest start to a new location in the history of pro sports.
Many fans are still angry at the decision, so why did the Chargers decide to move? The reason the Chargers are leaving, is that Dean Spanos couldn't find a favorable deal for a new stadium in San Diego. In November, voters rejected a ballot that would have raised hotel taxes to help pay for a new stadium and convention center. That left Spanos, supposedly, with little choice but to uproot the team to L.A.
The only issue with that, is that he had other options. One thing he could have done, is sell a small part of the team. He could have sold about a third of the team, still kept majority ownership of the team, and gotten around 500 million dollars to pay for about half of a new stadium. Factor in that they could have also made a deal like the Dolphins did for naming rights to the stadium, and they could have built a new stadium without raising taxes or reaching into his own pocket to pay for it.
During the next 2 seasons, the Chargers will be playing in a soccer stadium that seats roughly 27,000 people. That is less than half of most other stadiums in the NFL. If they had done the above deals, they could still play at Qualcomm Stadium for the next 2 seasons, and then move into a brand new stadium still in San Diego.
Even after the next 2 seasons, they won't have their own stadium. They will be sharing a stadium in Carson, California with the L.A. Rams.
While the Rams made a much longer trip to relocate last season, they were wanted back in L.A. There wasn't a whole lot of clamoring for the Chargers to move, and the NFL themselves has said they wanted the Chargers to stay put. Most of the other owners didn't want the Chargers to move either, but Spanos ultimately made the decision to move them north to Orange County.
While the level of play hasn't exactly been the greatest the last few seasons, the Chargers are still improving. Most betting sites still don't have them winning the division next year, but with Melvin Gordon and Phillip Rivers running the offense, they will be able to put butts in seats.
Ultimately though, the level of play probably won’t even be the biggest reason for the attendance numbers this season. The team is good enough for people to come, but there won't be a ton of Chargers faithful fans at the games. Obviously, fans will still show up to root for the Bolts, but many more will stay home and not want anything to do with a Spanos-led team.
A lot of fans feel like they were abandoned with the announcement of the move to L.A., and the frustration is understandable. The Chargers had a ton of opportunities to stay in San Diego, but instead they decided to move, and the 56-year relationship between the city and the team was severely severed. The Chargers (or the NFL) need to make this up to the city, or else the NFL and the Chargers could lose a lot of fans.