November 10, 2011; San Diego, CA, USA; General view of the San Diego skyline from aboard the USS Carl Vinson prior to the Carrier Classic game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Michigan State Spartans. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
America’s Finest City, the name given to San Diego. I will skip all the obligatory Anchorman jokes about the origin of the name. After a spirited debate over Twitter yesterday, I decided that I should explain in mor than 140 characters why the Chargers are NOT likely to move to Los Angeles.
First of all, the Chargers have been in San Diego for 51 years after playing thier first season in Los Angeles. The Chargers have remained in their city the 13th longest tenure out of the 32 teams in the NFL. There are multiple generations who have grown up with this team in this location.
People assume the Chargers are likely to move to L.A. partly due to its close proximity. However, I believe one of the more likely candidates to move there is on the other side of the country. The Jacksonsville Jaguars. They were an expandion team there in 1995 in a very small market. The south of Florida is ruled by the Dolphins and central has the Buccaneers. The Jaguars have never finished higher in attendance than 21st in the NFL and have not been to the playoffs since 2007. They were recently bought by billionaire Shahid Khan, and one does not spend $760 million to toil away in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are in their lease until 2027, but Khan could buy his way out of it for at least $25 million. This would be a small price to pay for the 164th richest man in America as a move to L.A. could push the value of Jaguars over $1 billion. If they do not move to L.A., they might be the number one choice to expand to London.
Another team more likely than the Chargers is the Oakland Raiders. We all know the Raiders were in L.A. from 1982-1995 and have a much larger fanbase in L.A. than the Chargers do. With the passing of Al Davis, the club could be sold in the near future and with their lease expiring after 2013 at the Oakland Coliseum, its pretty good timing. They are also competing with the resurgent 49ers who are set to open a new stadium in 2014. The Raiders would beneift with a move to L.A. and their own brand new stadium where they would immediately be embraced.
The Chargers do have an escape clause out of Qualcomm for $20 million, but in order to move to L.A. next season the Chargers would have to file paperwork with the league in January. With a move to L.A. the team would also look at getting a new name, much like what happened to the Oilers becoming the Titans.
Yes, the Chargers have had multiple blackouts last couple years and there have been other issues around San Diego that are preventing it from builidng a new stadium. However, with the most likely firing of AJ SMth and Norv Turner at seasons end, the fans and organization have something to build on going into next year. We still have a strong team and some of the best fans out there. I hope that I can my team the San Diego Chargers until i die.