Last Sunday, both the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers combined failed to outsell a college football game that was played a day earlier and that’s the kind of “bad optics” that has some in the NFL considering moving the Chargers back to San Diego, a longtime NFL reporter said.
Don Banks, who writes for The Athletic, told the Mighty 1090’s Darren Smith on Thursday the NFL never wanted to lose San Diego as a market but some owners felt that they owed it to Dean Spanos for being a “good soldier.”
“Feels like he had been a ‘league guy’ feels like he had waited kind of his turn on the relocation front, thought he had the votes the year before — Jerry Jones and Stan Kroenke pretty much outmaneuvered Dean and Mark Davis with the Raiders to be the first in line for LA. So it was almost as if this was a bit of a makeup,” Banks said.
In their season home-opener last Sunday, the Chargers failed to sell out the 27,000-seat StubHub Center, only attracting 25,281 fans. The Rams didn’t fare any better with an attendance of 56,612 at the 93,000-capacity Coliseum. USC meanwhile attracted 84,714 in its marquee game against Texas at the same venue last Saturday. The USC crowd was higher than both the Chargers’ and Rams’ combined.
Banks told Smith the NFL does not want the “bad optics” of half-empty stadiums for three years before the Rams Stadium is completed in Inglewood.
“There are people in the league — including the commissioner — they did not want to see San Diego forsaken. They would rather there be a team in San Diego,” Bank said. “If there’s anything viable that they could find to put the league back into San Diego, I think they will be in that camp strongly.”
And that includes forcing Spanos to move the Chargers back to San Diego, the team’s home for nearly 60 years.
“I think there’s already a level of concern at how far south it’s gone, that there are at least people talking about it,” Banks said. “I don’t think a true tipping point has been reached, it’s too early for that. But I think there’s enough concern that people are saying, ‘What’s the best option perhaps among bad options?'”
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: