This November, voters are heading toward a tipping point, challenged to make a decision about how they see their future as a community. Nowhere is this more true than in San Diego, where voters will decide whether to follow through with plans for a new stadium for the Chargers. Should the proposition fail to reach the two-thirds majority it needs to pass, the Chargers will likely relocate to Los Angeles. There’s just one problem: A relocation would make no sense. Not for the Chargers, not for L.A., not for the NFL. The Los Angeles Times’s Sam Farmer joined the latest Ringer NFL Show to explain why.
For a complete breakdown of the Rams and Los Angeles football, listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.
The Chargers Don’t Have Fans in L.A.
Sam Farmer: It’s problematic for the Chargers to move up here — they don’t have a fan base in Los Angeles to speak of. If they left San Diego I don’t believe they would bring fans up with them in great numbers.
They Already Do Fine in San Diego
S.F.: One of the problems with the Chargers is revenue-wise. One of these things is not like the others with the Rams, Raiders, and Chargers. The Raiders and the Rams were near the bottom in revenue; the Chargers were around the middle of the pack. They are almost making too much money to leave San Diego, unless they were going to be able to duplicate that in Los Angeles. [And] you’d have to pay the relocation fee.
They’d Be Second Fiddle to the Rams
S.F: As a second team and clearly as a tenant, you would be the Jets to the Jets-Giants of Giants Stadium … which the league did not want. The league wanted equal partners if somebody’s going to be in Los Angeles. The Raiders are more amenable to that and they have a foothold in Los Angeles, they have a fan base in Los Angeles. The Chargers would be going from top dog in San Diego to a tenant and really a minor league player relative to the Rams in Los Angeles, plus the Rams have a long head start that’s sort of cementing this market and getting everything out of the market that they can in terms of ticket sales.
The League Can Keep Using L.A. As Leverage
S.F.: You know, stadiums [are] getting older now and some of the stadiums that we’ve always considered new stadiums are now sort of middle-aged, heading into that time where people are going to be asking for new stadiums. And if you have a team in Los Angeles, have your cake and eat it too and maintain a leverage point: You can do the same thing you’ve done for the past 20 years in Los Angeles and use L.A. to get deals done elsewhere.