It is a rivalry that dates back to the days of the AFL in the 1960’s.
Two long-time NFL rivals appear to be a little closer than some may have expected, as both the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders reported this week that they are considering the idea of sharing a yet-to-be-built stadium in Carson.
According to reports, the two AFC West teams, both of whom have been seeking new stadiums in their respective cities, are looking to follow up on the notion of sharing a $1.7-billion NFL stadium in Carson if they can’t get new digs (specifically public subsidies) where they are presently located.
In a statement given to the Los Angeles Times, the two franchises noted that “We are pursuing this stadium option in Carson for one straightforward reason: If we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets, we have no alternative but to preserve other options to guarantee the future economic viability of our franchises.”
Will proposed stadium get backing?
The Times also reported that the Chargers and Raiders would unveil a petition drive in order to get a initiative on the ballot for voter backing of the proposed stadium, which would reportedly be located on a near 170-acre location of the southwest quadrant at the intersection of the 405 Freeway and Del Amo Boulevard.
Talk of one or more teams relocating to the greater Los Angeles area is nothing new.
Reports have had the St. Louis Rams (formerly played in Anaheim as the Los Angeles Rams) as a possible tenant of a proposed L.A. stadium, while the Jacksonville Jaguars have also been linked in recent years to possible relocation.
The Chargers have been seeking a new stadium (with some taxpayer contributions) for nearly 15 years.
Talks of a stadium downtown, North County and elsewhere have not led anywhere during that time period, leading the Chargers and owner Alex Spanos to threaten San Diegans that the team may relocate if given a good financial opportunity elsewhere to do so.
The current stadium (in use since 1967) has been renovated several times over the decades and has a current seating capacity of just over 71,000. While the Chargers have had numerous announced sellouts during that time period, they have also ended up having a number of blacked out games due to lack of fan interest in seeing some of the lesser attractive contests versus other NFL teams.
So, could the Chargers and the City of San Diego find common ground (both literally and financially) to construct a new stadium and keep the team in San Diego. More importantly, could a new stadium be a financial profit for all involved?
One only needs to look at the San Diego Padres and Petco Park.
When opened for business in 2004, the Padres had an average attendance for the season of 37,531 fans. That figure has dropped rather steadily since then, with the 2014 season coming in at 27,103. It is not uncommon during the dog days of the season when the Padres are all but out of the pennant chase to see thousands and thousands of empty seats at weeknight games.
The bottom line is you have to put a winning product on the field and good marketing initiatives out there to attract fans in many cases.
While the Chargers have been a playoff contender more times than not over the last decade, are fans truly willing to pay more (in both the construction of a new stadium and the higher ticket prices that go along with such a move) for a team that has not been back to the Super Bowl since the 1994 season?
Only time will tell.