I’ve avoided this story for as long as I thought I could get away with it. Franchise relocation just isn’t a topic that sits well with Seattle sports fans. But this is going to happen, so I figure I can’t ignore this topic any longer.
AEG is in the process of getting a stadium built. They’re in the environmental impact statement stage, and if they pass that, the should break ground this fall. And if that proposed site falls apart, there are at least 3 other sites that are hoping to land the NFL stadium. LA is going to get a stadium built, and when it does it’s going to get a team.
The Raiders, the Rams, Jaguars and Chargers are the other teams most commonly connected with a move to LA. The league is not considering expansion, so once the stadium is built, some city is going to lose it’s team.
Roger Goodell sent a memo to teams outlying the process required to move. It’s mostly a list of hops to jump through, but there is one thats the most important: “Evaluate all stadium opportunities in its existing market, and consult with league staff on those.” This includes sharing a stadium with another team, and appears to indicate that the Raiders will have to share the 49ers new stadium, and wont be allowed to move back to LA.
Jacksonville owner Shad Khan has said he’s not moving, and seems sincere in his motivation to keep the team there. I’d be surprised if the Jags left Florida in the next 5 years.
That really leaves the Rams and Chargers as potential suitors. I know the Rams want a new venue, and are having a tough time getting one built. The Rams were also in LA before moving to St. Louis, so there’s some history there.
If there was place to bet on such things, my money would be on San Diego moving. I lived there for a few months a couple years ago, and at the time the fight over the stadium had reached a point where all sides had given up trying.
Plus, the team would be staying in Southern California. Fans in San Diego would only have to make the 90 minute drive up I-5. It really isn’t any different that the fans of both NY teams having to drive out to Giant’s Stadium in New Jersey, or Boston area fans driving up to Foxboro. (The drive from SD to LA is a little longer, but you get the point.)
Sure, the move would alienate some of the San Diego fans, but not nearly as much as it would if the Rams or another team moved halfway across the country. Placing the Chargers in LA just makes sense on so many levels, I cant see it not happening.