The Clippers recently have carved their own niche in the Los Angeles sporting landscape, selling out Staples Center 255 consecutive times with a star-studded group that includes Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Coach Doc Rivers.
Now that the entertainment sports market in L.A. just got more crowded with the announcement Thursday that the San Diego Chargers were relocating to Los Angeles, the Clippers said that they “welcome” the area’s second NFL team.
"L.A. is a diverse, vibrant and sports-loving city that has continually shown the ability to support not just multiple sports teams but numerous entertainment options,” said Gillian Zucker, the Clippers’ president of business operations.
If there were a hall of fame for stadium grounds crews, the 1960 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum corps would have been selected on the first ballot. That year, the games almost never stopped at the stadium on 39th Street and Figueroa.
On Saturdays, either USC or UCLA played a home game there. On Sundays, the Rams and Chargers alternated playing games there. Throughout the summer and well into the football season, the Coliseum also hosted Dodgers games.
Even amid all this there must have been some down time, because John F. Kennedy accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president that same year from a lectern not far behind where the east goal posts stood during games.
When the Los Angeles Angels expansion franchise began in 1961, they played their home games at Wrigley Field, a 20,000-seat bandbox surrounded by homes at Avalon Boulevard and 42nd Place in South L.A.
Dodger Stadium was not yet ready. The Coliseum already had two tenants. And so little Wrigley Field was one-quarter full for the Angels’ third game there. The stadium was not quite one-half full for the Angels’ last game there.
In 2017, the Los Angeles Chargers will face a similar situation when they play their home games at the roughly 30,000-seat StubHub Center, at Avalon Boulevard and Victoria Street, 10 miles south of where Wrigley Field once stood.
The Chargers’ move to Los Angeles leaves the baseball Padres as San Diego’s only major league sports team, but they’re not the only professional team in town.
The San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League — the Ducks’ primary farm team in the NHL’s top developmental league — have been making a strong impression since they were established in San Diego last season as part of the AHL’s new Pacific division.
The Gulls, who play in the Valley View Casino Center, averaged a solid 8,675 fans per game last season to rank second in the NHL. They advanced to the playoffs and lost in the second round to the Ontario (Calif.) Reign, the Kings’ top farm team. The Gulls rank third in AHL attendance this season at 7,975, behind Hershey (Pa.) and defending champion Cleveland.
One look at the logo of the new Los Angeles Chargers tells you all you need to know about owner Dean Spanos and his motives in moving the team. It’s unoriginal and uninspired, just like his decision to uproot the Chargers from their longtime home and flee northward to escape paying for a new stadium in San Diego.
Using a color that’s suspiciously close to Dodger blue, Spanos and the Chargers are blatantly trying to capitalize on the popularity and goodwill the Dodgers have generated over decades in Los Angeles. The Chargers’ stylized, interlocked letters “LA” look more like an accidentally electrocuted Dodgers logo than the symbol of an electrifying football team, which the Chargers haven’t been lately and surely won’t be for a while.
Funny, too, that the video they’ve posted on Facebook proclaims, “In 2017 the Chargers are bringing the fight to Los Angeles.” Fight for what, other than fans’ dollars? The NFL seems to view Los Angeles as a gigantic, personal ATM and has allowed the Rams — and now the Chargers — to migrate here to make large and frequent withdrawals from fans’ wallets. At some point the well is going to run dry, not only financially but emotionally, too.
“The Galaxy is the main priority for StubHub Center,” said Brendan Hannan, director of communication for the facility. “The Chargers’ NFL schedule will be built around the Galaxy schedule. The same will happen in terms of 2018.”
The MLS schedule was to be released Thursday afternoon. Last season the team played few Sunday home games.
There may be small groups of the Los Angeles football community rejoicing Thursday: Transplanted fans of the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders who will get to see their teams visit the Chargers for AFC West action.
Count Kings forward Nick Shore among them. Shore, who is 24 and from Denver, is a lifelong Broncos fan. He didn’t think much of the Chargers’ officially announcing their move to L.A. on Thursday morning, but is excited to see his hometown team come through town.
“The big positive for me is that the Broncos will be coming every year and it will be cool to see them,” Shore, who has four goals and four assists this season, said Thursday morning. “And if they play the Rams, then they will come twice. That would be cool. Other than that I don’t know enough about the fan base or anything to know if it will work out for the Chargers. We’ll see.”
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he was frustrated that the Chargers announced Thursday morning that they will move to Los Angeles after 56 years in San Diego, and he predicted the team would regret the decision.
Faulconer said at a City Hall news conference that the Chargers wanted local taxpayers to chip in too much money for a new stadium.
“Dean Spanos made a bad decision and he will regret it,” said Faulconer, who endorsed the team’s unsuccessful stadium ballot measure last fall. "San Diego didn't lose the Chargers, the Chargers just lost San Diego."