Some people want you to believe bad things will happen if the Chargers move north. They want you to believe that our city will be diminished and fans will be abandoned by their team. These people also want you to believe the only way to stem this catastrophe is to build a new football stadium downtown using your money. Their argument ignores some pertinent facts.
For starters, pro football fans watch their teams on television. Ninety-four percent of Charger fans get their football from television, based on average TV ratings and stadium attendance. And, as anyone viewing from within a stadium knows, the game revolves around television. TV is where the profit lies. If the Chargers should move, you can be sure their games will be broadcasted in San Diego.
Yet, while TV may be a great marketing agent, it is not the reason fans identify with their team. That has to do with emotion, and that is what is at stake here.
So consider this: A mere 100 mile move north keeps the Chargers in the region, especially when tied to the right name, as any follower of the New England (once Boston) Patriots knows.
The fact is we’re part of a region called Southern California. It may be the most easily traversed, culturally and economically homogeneous, 22 million people-strong market in the US.
The Spanos family knows this, as do the NFL and TV networks. They see the money to be made from a regional team. It’s so obvious it makes you wonder why the Chargers haven’t already moved. There must be more money in a downtown stadium deal for the Spanos family than they are willing to admit.
The mayor, downtown interests and the Union-Tribune want you to believe a Chargers move leaves fans in the dust. If you agree, you will help them build their stadium at your expense.
But construction of a stadium and love for the Chargers are not linked. What is linked is the downtown club’s desire to make you think you’ll lose your team if they move.
It’s not true.
— BOB STEIN