Well, we’re at this point once again. The San Diego Chargers are almost set to open another season at Qualcomm Stadium. However, the excitement of the coming season has been overshadowed by feelings of despair, fear and anger.
The stadium issue is once again at the forefront. For years, the Chargers have asked the city for a new stadium. However, the city has stayed within the trend of government behavior by kicking the can down the road and never presenting the team with definitive options.
Now, with all of the talk of the NFL wanting to put a franchise (possibly two) back in Los Angeles, the Chargers are now looking at a viable option of relocating.
The notion of the team leaving San Diego to go to Los Angeles has been a threat for quite a while, but is now looking to become a reality. Qualcomm Stadium is falling apart, and the Chargers certainly don’t want to keep playing in it while watching other teams playing in new venues that were built by their respective cities. However, mayoral administrations have not presented the franchise with plans for a new stadium.
The plan came into fruition in February when the Chargers, who were working with the Oakland Raiders (their sworn enemy), announced a joint plan to build a new stadium in Carson. It would be similar to what the New York Giants and New York Jets are doing in New Jersey.
Enter Kevin Faulconer.
While previous mayoral administrations toyed with the Chargers, moves that built tension between the team and the city, current Mayor Faulconer has made it his goal to keep the team in San Diego and give them a new stadium. A task force was assembled to address every facet of building a new venue: finding a location, working out the financial needs for both sides and drawing up enough support to put the stadium issue on the ballot and let the voters decide.
While Faulconer appears to be deadset on keeping the team, the Chargers are still haunted by past negotiations. While San Diego is trying to negotiate with the Chargers’ ownership, they are keeping an ear open to the Carson city council. Team lawyer Mark Fabiani is even attending city council meetings.
Owner Dean Spanos recently met with Mayor Eric Garcetti and other political figures in Los Angeles to discuss stadium issues. Among the discussion was finding temporary sites for the Chargers and Raiders to play in until the stadium in Carson is completed. Meanwhile, San Diego is still trying to get the stadium issue on the ballot.
Right now, it seems that the Chargers are making much more progress with Los Angeles and San Diego is lagging way behind. This doesn’t mean that the team is as good as gone, but the possibility of playing in Los Angeles looks much more doable at this point.
The majority of the team’s fan base is in San Diego, with other fans in Los Angeles. But, will San Diego fans stay loyal to the team and make the trek up north to watch the team on Sundays? Do fans in San Diego support the team simply because they are the Chargers, or because they are the San Diego Chargers?