By KC Stanfield
The whole issue with the Chargers and the city of San Diego over a new stadium is nothing but drama. It is completely unnecessary and only ends up harming the relationship between the fan base and the team. This drama is so tired and monotonous, it perfectly mirrors the plot of a stereotypical romantic comedy.
The Chargers and San Diego had a good thing going for a while, but the city screwed up by neglecting the team’s need of a new stadium. They had a bit of a fight and San Diego is currently trying to win the Chargers back, while the Bolts are thinking about getting back together with their attractive ex who is also a jerk (just saying, Los Angeles). For the most part, we know how this will end; they kiss and make up, and everything goes back to normal.
The audience — who are the fans in this analogy — leaves slightly annoyed with the forced conflict, but content overall with the happy ending. Of course, it is more complicated than that. With three teams and two potential new stadiums in the running for the LA market, anything can happen, and the NFL in general is rather unpredictable. There’s a chance everything doesn’t work out, but now that the city is actually making an effort to build a stadium that isn’t in a worse state than the Oakland Colosseum, things are looking better than the last decade.
The new stadium might cost more than $1 billion, so it is a relief that the NFL might pitch in $200 million. Deciding how to actually pay for the rest is another issue. Unless Mayor Kevin Faulconer wins a few lotteries or owner Dean Spanos becomes really generous all of sudden, it means the people will have to pitch in. Admittedly, not everyone in San Diego is a Chargers fan, so they’ll be paying more for a team they don’t care about. Getting that majority won’t be a cakewalk, which is just something else to worry about.
Adding to the drama, Spanos is aggressively pursuing a stadium in LA. San Diego fans will see this as a sign of disrespect and bad faith. Even if it is justified, it appears as if Spanos is holding one of the teams linked to San Diego’s identity for ransom. He needs to follow the Clash and decide — should they or should they go? Just make a decision and get it over with, because stringing fans along is nothing but stressful (and watching the Chargers play is stressful enough).
The same can be said for the city, which still needs to find a way to fund the new stadium. A lot of fans are sympathetic with the Chargers and understand that the city neglected building a new home for our boys in blue for years. If the team is leaving, at least make the process quick and painless, because all this drama and media attention will do nothing but irritate the average person and harm the fan base in San Diego, regardless of whether they stay or not.
It feels like a slap in the face that Spanos has gone this far about moving to another city. The fans in San Diego have been supporting the team the most, but the team’s popularity definitely will not improve if it is two hours away. San Diego fans are not exactly the warmest bunch when a team is losing, so imagine how supportive they’d be if a team left. Forget about the 25 percent of fans in LA and Orange County, because that’s probably at least as much as they’d lose in San Diego if the move actually happened.
If the phrase “Los Angeles Chargers” makes you as sick to your stomach as it does for me, then there’s not much else fans can do than sit back, watch the story unfold and anxiously hope the Chargers and San Diego make up. If it doesn’t have a happy ending, at least the Padres are trying to appeal to San Diego sports fans.