Here’s some breaking news for you: the Los Angeles Chargers aren’t doing so hot in their new market. While most of us have known that for the better part of 18 months, things got a whole lot more serious this week.
While reporting from the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham dropped the following bomb:
Adam Schefter quickly piled on:
…Excuse me for just a second while my associates and I confer…
…thank you for your patience. Back to our regularly scheduled column…
One of the main selling points the Chargers gave the NFL when petitioning for relocation was their claim that 25 percent of their fan base came from LA and the surrounding area. Based on the stands at every home game, that has clearly been exposed as a lie. The Bolts also projected their value would rise tremendously (it hasn’t) and swore they could bring in around $400 million just from PSL sales. On Wednesday, we learned that projection has now been lowered to $150 million.
Yes, the Chargers’ PSL sales are now expected to hit just 37.5 percent of the initial projection. Thirty-seven point five percent. I really, truly hope whoever convinced the Spanos family they could bilk fans for $400 million in PSLs was not only fired but also sent to prison. Because if you’re that bad at your job you should be doing time.
If you’ve been paying attention to this site for the last two years, you know that I’ve consistently said the Chargers would fail spectacularly in Los Angeles. It’s become increasingly clear that is indeed the case and the NFL now sees that failure as a serious problem. Despite all the gaslighting the Spanos family has done about how great things are in their new home, the move has been an abject disaster from the jump.
I’m not claiming to be some kind of seer. It was obvious to anyone who looked at the situation objectively that this was the inevitable outcome. Dean Spanos and his kids aren’t exactly savvy businessmen. They botch everything they put their hands on. They are to King Midas what Mr. Glass is to David Dunn.
When you throw in the fact that San Diego was always going to hate them after the move, and that no one in Los Angeles wanted them after the Rams returned to the city, this failure was easy to see coming.
There was zero appetite for the Chargers in LA and everyone outside of the franchise’s offices knew that. Since the move they’ve botched a logo roll out, gotten heckled at their own LA welcome event, had as embarrassing a first game in a new market as was possible, had Dan Fouts blast them repeatedly, seen their value barely rise (and fall relative to other NFL teams), had hired mouthpiece LaDainian Tomlinson pathetically beg for San Diego to support them and seen their stadium taken over by opposing fans on a weekly basis.
And that’s just a light roundup of all the hilarious missteps the franchise has taken since leaving San Diego.
Repeatedly over the last two years we’ve been told by the Chargers that what we were seeing with our own eyes wasn’t what was really happening. They have insisted things were great in LA, that fan support was tremendous and that everything was just fine. They claimed they had to move in order to protect their robust fan base in Los Angeles. Once that lie was exposed, they changed their tune and claimed they knew it would be a long, difficult process to gain fans. Anyone with eyes and a functioning cerebrum knew that was horse manure.
Please, someone tell me what’s been good about this relocation? The team is winning on the field and no one cares. All eyes in Los Angeles are on the Rams, Dodgers, USC football, LeBron James and his young, exciting Lakers.
The Chargers aren’t even D-list in Los Angeles. Tara Reid is more relevant in that town than they are.
There’s a bigger issue at play here, and it’s far more pressing to the NFL. The Chargers’ move to LA has exposed a hard truth about the league: fans don’t really matter, only money does.
The NFL doesn’t actually care about the cities and fans that supports its teams, it only cares about the bottom line and the potential for massive earnings. And therein lies the problem for Spanos and his franchise.
The Chargers’ relocation wasn’t just bad for fans, it has turned out to be bad business for the league. It has become a black eye that can be seen on televisions around the country every week. They’ve become a national joke. A weekly punchline. They’re 4-2 and firmly in the playoff hunt yet they can’t get 27,000 of their own fans to a home game. That’s laughably pathetic.
The Chargers don’t belong in Los Angeles. They never did. This was never a good idea and the NFL clearly knows it. The longer the franchise stays there the worse things will look.
The Spanos family is running out of excuses for their litany of failures. It is long past time for the NFL to hit the panic button.