By Nick Hession,
Sports Business Writer
On January 12th, the San Diego Chargers, who finished this NFL season with a 5-11 record, relocated the franchise to Los Angeles. The move will be effective as of the 2017 NFL season, according to a press release on the team’s website.
“Today we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers,” said Dean Spanos, the now Los Angeles Chargers’ Chairman. “L.A. is a remarkable place, and while we played our first season there in 1960 and have had fans there ever since, our entire organization knows that we have a tremendous amount of work to do,” said Spanos.
The Chargers’ move was an unpopular one, so much of the work will be in getting people back on their side.
Soon after the Chargers announced the move, 27 moving companies from around San Diego announced that they would refuse to help the Chargers move to their new stadium out of spite. The full list can be found on the website wewontmoveyouchargers.com, according to Ryan Gaydos in an article for Fox News Sports.
The team’s San Diego fan base was even less receptive toward the move. News crews caught one man throwing eggs at the team’s headquarters the night after they announced the move. In the days after, disgruntled fans arrived at the stadium and dumped their San Diego Chargers gear in the parking lot in front of the team’s headquarters, according to Jon Heath in an article for USA Today’s Broncos Wire.
The Chargers’ new city of Los Angeles showed little interest in the team once it got there, only a year after the formerly St. Louis Rams relocated there. The Chargers held a rally in order to introduce the team to Los Angeles. About 150 people showed up and showed little love for Los Angeles’s newest franchise.
“Way to screw over San Diego, Dean!” yelled one Chargers fan in the crowd, Joseph Macrae. Others were heard booing throughout the rally and some even threw their jerseys at the stage, according to Nathan Fenno in an article for the Los Angeles Times.
The rebranding process has also taken its toll on the Chargers. After the team relocated, they updated their social media accounts with a new logo. The logo featured the letters “LA” in white on a navy background and featured a lightning bolt as the bottom of the “L” that crossed through the “A”.
Everyone from fans to other sports teams criticized the Chargers’ new logo. Many pointed out the logo’s obvious similarity to fellow Los Angeles sports franchise, the Dodgers, and the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning and fellow professional hockey team the Dallas Stars both made jokes on their respective Twitter accounts at the new logo’s expense.
The move to Los Angeles has proven difficult for the Chargers, but that has not stopped them from trying to gain a foothold in their new city. “The Chargers are determined to fight for LA and we are excited to get started,” Spanos said. Only time will tell how successful the move turns out.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 24th print edition.
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