After more than two decades without NFL football, Angelenos now officially have two hometown teams.
In a letter to fans, Chargers owner Dean Spanos announced that the team is moving from San Diego to Los Angeles, just one year after the now-Los Angeles Rams relocated to the Southland. The team will begin play in Los Angeles in 2017, and already what appeared to be a new logo was posted to the team's Twitter feed early morning West Coast time on Thursday. It appears, however, that this logo will only be used for marketing purposes.
Already, forlorn Chargers fans in San Diego have started to pay their respects to their now former team, gathering outside the Chargers team offices to drop off their gear in memoriam. The team's departure leaves San Diego with just one professional team, the Padres, in the big four U.S. sports.
The Chargers will play the StubHub Center in Carson until the new stadium in Inglewood is completed. While it’s a much smaller venue that can only seat about 30,000 (the average NFL stadium has capacity for 60,000-90,000), it could play well for the team if the Chargers decide to play off of the “big market team with a small market feel and intimate venue” narrative. There is also the question of whether football fans who decided to support the Rams last year will continue to do so after their subpar season and with two teams between whom to choose. While the Chargers boast fan strongholds in parts of Orange and South L.A. County, the Rams and even the Raiders may still be the more beloved and entrenched teams among fans. Some, like L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke, argue for that reason it should have been the Raiders and not the Chargers to come to L.A.
How would the Chargers be received in L.A.? How do they fit in with the already crowded base of NFL fans in Los Angeles? Will L.A. transplants who brought their allegiances from their home states be interested in becoming Charger fans? Will Rams fans want to become Charger fans after the Rams had a lackluster first season?
Jason Cole, NFL writer for the Bleacher Report