The NFL is coming to San Diego on Wednesday night!!!
No, not at Qualcomm Stadium, as the playing field this time will be the stage at Spreckels Theatre and the fate of the San Diego Chargers is at stake.
The league is hosting their version of American Idol, where the San Diego sports community is auditioning to see whether or not the city is worthy of keeping their pro football franchise in town. The one difference between this event and the very popular music talent search show is San Diego doesn’t want their ticket to Los Angeles to be punched.
The purpose of this town hall is to provide a forum where San Diego residents can voice their opinions or questions directly to league executive Eric Grubman without the fear that their comments will be edited by outside sources. You would have to be naïve not to think that a small percentage of those attending on Wednesday night believe this meeting is a mere formality, as the NFL has already decided the Chargers are moving to Los Angeles.
Please don’t go down that road because your passion, your voice can sway the votes of the other NFL owners. Emotions are going to be running at an all-time high on Wednesday night, but they should because Charger loyalists are fighting to keep their team in San Diego.
The NFL is hosting similar town hall meetings in St. Louis and Oakland this week, as these events are part of the process to decide which team or teams are going to relocate as early as next season. The prize is Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest media market, but it has been without a NFL franchise for nearly two decades.
Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani made headlines last weekend when he confirmed to a local San Diego radio station that the team will file official relocation paperwork to move in January, in order to protect their vested business interests in LA and Orange County.
No surprise with this announcement, as the Chargers must hold some form of leverage over the city of San Diego, especially after the recent efforts of Mayor Kevin Faulconer to have his voice heard by the NFL hierarchy. His constant dialogue with league officials has improved the city’s case for keeping the franchise in town.
This high-stakes political poker game is finally coming to an end, as its time for each side to show their cards. In the past, too many city officials have treated the Chargers like a small business instead of like a major corporation that can resuscitate San Diego’s struggling economy back to life.
14 years is long enough, both sides need to a find a solution that works for everyone.