Last week we saw breaking news that the St. Louis Rams owner had purchased land in Los Angeles that would supply a new stadium to house the franchise. In combination with the progress of purchasing the land, Rams owner Stan Kroenke is refusing to communicate with the city representatives about an opportunity to stay in their current market. According to ESPN reports, Kroenke won’t even return calls in effort to negotiate deal. Is it a scare tactic to get the city to buy in fully? Or is this a realistic move that will happen barring a setback?
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Well if it’s going to take someone or something to intervene, that someone could go by the name of Dean Spanos. In recent reports from local news and bleacher report analyst Jason cole, Spanos has voiced an outward opinion against the relocation. In order to allow a team to relocate, their must be a 75 percent approval from owners throughout all 32 teams. That means if nine teams are opposed, it won’t happen. Spanos claims that he has the nine that it would take to veto the relocation.
Cole recently tweeted this message in response to a conversation had with Spanos.
“Was told Monday that #Chargers owner Dean Spanos will try to block the #Rams from going to LA and believes he has 9 votes. We shall see.”
When asked why he was opposed, here is the Chargers owners response.
“Putting a team in there right now, or two teams, would have a huge impact on our business going forward,” Spanos told the publication. “So we are trying to protect our business in San Diego. … It would really be harmful to us.”
So here is the bigger question. Why does Spanos so badly want the relocation to fall through? Does he see his door to Los Angeles closing? Does he truly believe that it is bad for business? I could believe both arguments. He could want to know that he has Los Angeles as leverage in getting the new stadium built here in San Diego. However, he could also feel that four teams in California would cause a split in fan bases. He accredits 25-30 percent of the Bolts fan base to come from Orange County and surrounding areas.
Bottom Line : If you’re worried about the business aspect then the most effective way to build it is not by fighting to keep other teams out, but by winning ball games. Put that attention and effort into roster analysis and revamping the offensive play-calling. A winning team and a single championship ring would bring waves of energy back into the Bolts fan base. Don’t believe me? Have you seen the “diehard” Seahawks fans flowing nationwide? In 2012, the Seahawks had the third lowest total attendance to games in the NFL. The only teams with lower ticket sales were Oakland and St. Louis. Once they started winning big games, they quickly rose the next year to 15th overall in ticket sales. Same thing happened to the Chargers in 2009. After a few successful seasons and multiple playoff appearances, the Bolts were eighth overall in ticket sales. Business is the byproduct not of a market, but of a winning franchise.
Sidenote: Check out this fan map based off Facebook trends of users in each U.S. county. For a larger image click here