More and more, it looks like the Chargers could really be leaving San Diego. Now, San Diego County has joined the fight to keep them around.
The county government is going to be working with the city government to figure out a new stadium solution so the NFL franchise won’t run to Los Angeles and the beautiful new stadium that has already been proposed. Mike Florio reported the development earlier this month.
This mirrors the move Alameda County made to find a solution in Oakland, attempting to keep the Raiders in town.
Kevin Faulconer, San Diego’s mayor, said the joining of forces stressed a sense of unity for everyone in the area really wanting the Chargers to stay. Whether or not taxpayer money is used to build a new stadium, they intend to let the public vote on the matter, further stressing that unity and showing the Chargers that the fans are behind them.
This move is probably about demonstrating loyalty to the team. The Chargers have not been happy with how this situation has been handled in the past.
They’ve been asking for a new stadium for years and they feel the city has been dragging its heals, not really thinking the Chargers would leave. They have expressed concern about this in the past, as it makes San Diego look ungrateful.
To add to it, the Chargers had some close calls with blackouts in 2014, meaning enough people simply weren’t coming to the games. While the terminology changed as the year went on—depending on what the FCC ruled—the Chargers continued to tell fans on a week-to-week basis if the game was going to make it to the local channels.
It doesn’t show much local support to be skating that line. 2014 was actually an up year, without any blackouts actually taking place. In the four years before that—the 2010 season through 2013—San Diego had to black out 10 games. In that span in the entire league, only 59 blackouts occurred. This was something that was clearly happening too often. Not only is it a lack of local support, but it’s a lack of revenue.
L.A., on the other hand, is the second biggest market in the United States.
Now, those following the news of late will note that NFL blackouts have been cancelled for 2015. Regardless of ticket sales, all games will be on TV. But the point here is much larger than just whether or not the team is on TV. A blackout reflects, as noted above, how many tickets were sold. It also reflects how much the area cares about the team.
The Chargers have not been great, but they have not been terrible. They made the playoffs in 2013 and they’ve been in the hunt in other years. This isn’t waning viewership for a 2-14 team.
If a fairly good team can’t even get people in the seats, the Chargers aren’t sure if they should stay. Do the fans want them to be there? Are they only going to show up if the Chargers are 13-3 and going on a Super Bowl run? It’s hard to blame them for finding L.A. to be an attractive option, or for feeling slighted by their own fans.
While the county’s involvement may help the process, it could be that the San Diego area has already lost the Chargers. It’s just not official yet.