Following a memo sent out by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week regarding any teams poised to move to Los Angeles, the conversations about which club would make that trek fired up again. Of course the San Diego Chargers and their current stadium dilemma remains an issue which makes the Bolts one of the prime candidates to make the move northward.
While some feel that the St. Louis Rams and their current stadium arbitration along with an expiring lease in two years puts them in the driver’s seat, the league may still be determined to put two teams in the city of angels over the coming years. Goodell’s memo stated that any team considering the move must file a relocation application between January 1 and February 15 of 2013. That means that fans of any teams currently in location limbo will soon have an answer as to just how long their hometown club may stay that way.
The man at the center of attention for the Chargers’ side of this discussion has been Bolts’ special counsel Mark Fabiani and he did a radio interview to entertain these ideas recently. According to that conversation, Fabiani said: "No. We are not planning on it, and obviously I'm not a fortune teller, I can't see into the future, but I would be very surprised if we were filing out an application a couple months from now. We're trying to get something done here in San Diego, and I'd be surprised if the result was anything other than that."
That noncommittal approach to the subject has to leave Bolts’ fans wondering just how sincere those words actually are. He went on to explain that: "I guess it could change, if the new mayor came into office and (says) 'I have absolutely no interest in working with you, San Diego, therefore, you can leave if you want to.' You know, we would have to look at something like that. I don't anticipate that will happen. But as we sit here today, I think it's not likely that we'll be filing any paperwork in January. I think I would be very surprised if that happened."
Now that sounds much more optimistic for San Diego fans looking to keep their team in town, but that is by no means a guarantee of any sorts that the club will wind up staying put. There is plenty of work to go on that front and a new stadium is at the forefront of the list for requirements before staying in San Diego is a definite.
As Rob pointed out earlier this week in his three and out post, the team is already making a push to avoid blackouts this season by marketing tickets. Unfortunately these marketing tactics are actually directed toward opposing, divisional opponents as ridiculous as that sounds. The idea of that really rubs plenty of diehard Bolts fans the wrong way and doesn’t bode well for the team’s future in the city if the organization is to desperate to sell tickets that they actually target opposing audiences to fill the stadium. Nothing says ‘build us a new stadium’ like filling the current venue with the colors of the week’s opponent.
The Chargers may not have as many blackouts this year with those marketing techniques, but the team could keep the building filled with its own fans if they just win more games in 2012. Nothing puts fannies in the seats like putting a good product out on the field and most believe the club has put together the right collection of talent to see more wins in the coming season.
In the end, winning cures all and a season to remember would go a long way to convince taxpaying voters that the Chargers are a worthwhile commodity for the city. It’s been nearly a decade since the doldrums of 1996-2003 and the Bolts have actually been .500 or better from the 2004 season forward. Recent flops in the postseason along with failures to even make the playoffs the last two years have put a damper on just what a remarkable turnaround the club has experienced from that 2003 year which yielded the draft’s number one pick.
Eight wins or more in each of the past eight seasons is a plaque-worthy achievement, but the Chargers need to earn more trophy-worthy accolades to really improve public sentiment. A lot hinges on the 2012 season in terms of employment by the team such as General Manager A.J. Smith and Head Coach Norv Turner, but keeping the team in the city of San Diego takes precedence of any of those other issues.
Now it’s your turn! What does Roger Goodell’s memo sent out to teams looking to relocate mean to you? Do you think Mark Fabiani is right and the Chargers won’t file the necessary paperwork to move by the deadline in early 2013? Is the approach to selling tickets that the organization is taking a plea for help or the team’s one-way ticket out of town? Do you believe that the fate of the team ultimately depends on their level of success in the 2012 season? Please fill up the comments section below with your take on this hot button topic!
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