LA Chargers News

Rams Super Bowl appearance hurts the Chargers

SAN DIEGO, CA-OCTOBER-14: San Diego Chargers football team owner Dean Spanos and his son John Spanos follow the action against Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium October 14, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA-OCTOBER-14: San Diego Chargers football team owner Dean Spanos and his son John Spanos follow the action against Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium October 14, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Rams have made the Super Bowl, which essentially ends the opening battle of the Spanos family’s ill-conceived “Fight for LA.” Unfortunately, losing this battle may have negative implications for the Los Angeles Chargers football team.

The immediate implications of the Rams’ victory are primarily on the fanbase of Los Angeles and on the pocketbook of the Spanos family.

While the Chargers have a small core fan base that is unshakeable (you perhaps?), the move to Los Angeles was done to increase that fan base via LA natives. The Rams making the Super Bowl is likely only going to convert uncommitted Angelenos into Rams fans that could otherwise be swayed to become fans of this rising Chargers team.

A smaller fanbase will quickly decrease the profits for the Spanos family. We have already seen the team struggle to sell seat licenses, an early indication of local fan support. Dignity Health Sports Park has also been overrun by away fans on more than one occasion.

But as fans, do we care if the Spanos family fails in their Los Angeles venture? No matter what the heart says, we should. Here are some ways that the Rams’ Super Bowl appearance and the failure of the Spanos’ LA venture could harm Chargers football into the future.

Less home-field advantage

The formula here is simple really: Fewer local fans equals Lower home attendance.

There is a debate as to why home-field advantage helps the home team win more games, with some concluding that fans are not the largest factor in this advantage. However, just ask Philip Rivers, and you will know that noise definitely makes an impact in terms of communication.

While Los Angeles is diverse and home to NFL fans of all teams, losing uncommitted fans to the Rams is a step in the wrong direction. It will continue to erode at the advantage that most teams (not the Bolts) expect.

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Less team investment

Picture yourself as an investor (Spanos family). You just made a major investment (moving to LA), and that investment has paid you back by barely changing the value of your original investment (the Chargers). You have clear signs that this may have been the wrong move. Does that make you want to invest more? Certainly not.

While most NFL teams are expected to be at or near the cap, there are other places where NFL owners can skimp on investments.

While this may be an extreme example, could you see Dean Spanos investing in two specially crafted private 767 jets for his team in the way Robert Kraft did for the Patriots? From the fan experience perspective, could you see him making a move like Arthur Blank and provide outrageously low prices on stadium concessions, or would he prefer to gouge for any scraps of profits that he could?

Worse free-agent recruiting

Let me give you a scenario: you are Kansas City cornerback Steven Nelson. You are a free agent in 2019, and you are ready for a change of location. You think Los Angeles may be a nice place to settle down, and they may be in need of a true No. 2 cornerback. You walk into the stadium and see this.

What I’ve told is there are a ton of #Chiefs fans in #SoCal who were loyal to Joe Montana dating to his years with the #Niners. Regardless, large pockets of red @stubhubcenter. pic.twitter.com/XjCGr3hXLu

— Don Muret (@breakground) September 9, 2018

Do you feel compelled to become a Charger?

While there are certainly a ton of factors in any free agent’s decision, one has to be your enjoyment of the atmosphere, which is largely impacted by fan support. Lower fan support from L.A. residents due to the Rams’ success is not going to help the Chargers here either.

It is difficult to correlate either fan attendance or team profits to winning – both typically rise when the team does well. However, through simple logic, there are many ways in which it appears that high attendance and profits could at least help in a minor way to making a football team perform better.

If you are a Chargers fan, it is time for you to root for the Bolts to do well in their move to Los Angeles. To win a Super Bowl, every piece has to be in place, and that includes fan support and perhaps, unfortunately, profits.

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