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Are The Los Angeles Chargers Destined For Another Relocation?

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Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Chargers

Raise your hand if you miss the San Diego Chargers.  If you’re one of the millions in the greater San Diego area still upset the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 2017, you’ve probably wished that the relocation would fall flat on its face and the Chargers would return to San Diego.  Well, part of that wish has come true and now there’s rumblings the team might move, after just three years in Los Angeles, but unfortunately not back to its neighbor 120 miles south on Interstate 5.

Earlier this week, The Athletic’s Vincent Bonsignore reported that the National Football League is worried about the Chargers’ future in Los Angeles, thanks to home games being overrun by opposing fans, lackluster sales of personal seat licenses for the soon-to-open SoFi Stadium and the fact that the franchise has no history, or even imprint, in the city of Los Angeles.  With so much going against the organization, it’s the perfect recipe for a relocation – but it wouldn’t be back to San Diego, where the franchise spent nearly half a century, it would likely be to London.

Think about it, London would offer both the franchise and the NFL an immediate solution, to an all new group of fans.  If the Chargers leave Los Angeles, that soon-to-open $4.5 billion stadium won’t be built for nothing, as the Los Angeles Rams will still call the structure home, while the Chargers would likely move to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which housed two NFL games this season for the London Series.  But owner Dean Spanos isn’t taking these rumors lightly and insists the team is staying put.

“It’s total f–ing bulls–,” Spanos said. “We’re not going to London.  We’re not going anywhere. We’re playing in Los Angeles. This is our home and this is where we are planning to be for a long f–ing time.  Period.”

That’s kind of funny, considering Spanos uttered much of the same words to the people of San Diego before he took $650 million from the NFL to relocate north.  But playing second fiddle in a large city is one thing and being almost irrelevant is completely another – just look at the Los Angeles Clippers. That franchise has been in LA for decades but it took a wacky coach and a super team of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to bring the Clippers close to the level of the Los Angeles Lakers and for fans to consistently sell out the Staples Center.  Meanwhile, the NFL backed up what Spanos said in a statement released on Tuesday.

“No consideration has been given to the Chargers playing anywhere other than Los Angeles at the new stadium in Hollywood Park next season and beyond,” the statement said.  “There have been no discussions of any kind between the NFL and the Chargers regarding moving to London. Both our office and the Chargers are entirely focused on the success of the team in Los Angeles.”

It’s no big secret that the NFL wants to put two teams in London and is looking to build its brand in Europe and potentially around the world.  The Jacksonville Jaguars are a franchise constantly floated around for a potential move across the Atlantic Ocean, playing more games in London (7) since 2007 than any other team.  Right now, the Chargers just make the most sense, though maybe the league wants to wait and see how the team’s popularity is affected by the new stadium. Either way, it could potentially be fun watching the Chargers back out of the corner Spanos put them in when he alienated what proved to be a perfect home for the team.