Late Wednesday evening, news broke from within the offices of the Chargers that the team was exercising their option to move to Los Angeles and share tenancy of the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park with the Rams, stating in 2018.
Thursday morning saw the official announcement from managing owner Dean Spanos, as well as the unveiling of a new logo for the rebrand:
The backlash immediately began, as the new logo was lambasted for being a lazy recreation of the LA Dodgers logo. Disgruntled San Diego residents added “me” to the logo, and “Lame” T-shirts were being sold in area stores by the end of the business day.
Fans began protests at the team facility in San Diego almost immediately, with a man egging the facility and a group of fans putting a large amount of Chargers merchandise in a pile, some of it having words like “cowards” or “traitors” written on it. The small mound of jerseys, shirts, and foam hats was finally given a nice cherry on top: A simple sign saying “Fuck Dean (Spanos).”
The logo, protests, and the statement Dean Spanos gave about “having to build a new fanbase” drew great laughter and criticism from fans and pundits alike, with most pointing out that the LA fans are not happy with the Rams, and that the Chargers fans will not drive 110 miles from San Diego to LA. Also lambasted was Spanos’ point about “not expecting sellouts overnight” and “building a new fanbase,” as he just left a very loyal fanbase, all because the city of San Diego was not willing to pay for an entirely new stadium with no money from Spanos.
While the Rams are playing in the 90,000 plus capacity LA Memorial Coliseum while the stadium is being built, the Chargers will hold their 2017 home games in the 27,000 seat StubHub Center, home of the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer. The Galaxy seem unhappy that they have to share their home pitch, as StubHub Center officials stated that the Galaxy will remain the bigger priority while the Chargers are there, and that the Chargers schedule will be built around Galaxy home games.
The city attempted a number of moves to keep the team in the city, with the most promenant piece being a vote to increase the hotel tax in the city from 12.5% to 16.5% to pay for a $1.8 billion new stadium. It didn’t pass, and the city offered no more options that Spanos found satisfactory.
Time will tell if the two LA team system will buck the past of the LA Rams going to St. Louis and the LA Raiders moving back to Oakland and make two teams viable in the jewel of the West Coast, though nothing and no one seems to be on their side.