The Aftermath Of The Chargers Departure In San Diego
When the people of San Diego found out that their beloved Chargers were leaving, there was a collective disagreement with the Chargers franchise as a whole. After the news broke, the front of Qualcomm quickly became a site where former fans angrily threw their Chargers paraphernalia, in protest of the team owner deciding to move the franchise. Now that the NFL season is halfway through, how has San Diego adjusted to losing one of their professional sports teams? Well, the void has been filled, to some degree.
With the Chargers gone, the only remaining semblance of football action available to San Diegans is the San Diego State Aztecs. While in the past, the Aztecs have played average football, they have since has an emergence as a dominant and well-respected team in college football. The team has taken over as the sole football occupant of Qualcomm Stadium, which was previously the home playing field for the Chargers. The Aztecs currently have an 8-2 record, and are well attended by football fans in the San Diego. Have they served as a replacement for the void the Chargers left? Well no, not particularly. Though Qualcomm hardly sold out every game, they were much better attended than San Diego State games. Despite this, this is the only option for football in the San Diego area.
With the fairly common angry response to the Chargers leaving among San Diegans, are there any that still call themselves fans of the Bolts? Well, there is currently a small company that charters buses from San Diego to Los Angeles to watch the now LA Chargers play. There are also small pockets of people who still choose to watch the Chargers play, despite having a new home. I spoke to Omar Salazar, a local college student that considers himself a lifelong Charger fan. When I asked him what he thought about them leaving, he told me, “I was angry just like everyone else, but later on toward the start of the season, I started to warm up to the idea of continuing to support them as a team”. He tells me he has no respect for the Spain’s family and their decision to move the team away, but in the end, his love for this team endures.
As the season continues on, the Chargers up in Los Angeles don’t seem to be pulling in the money that the Spanos family expected to be. With the Chargers playing at the Stubhub Stadium, a stadium that is exceptionally smaller than Qualcomm, they are unable to sell out enough seats. A new stadium is being constructed, that will be shared with the Rams. With their less than stellar outlook in Los Angeles, there have been rumors of the Chargers coming back to San Diego. I asked a few Charger fans what they thought if this rumor was true. Brian Bay, a Charger fan who stills watches the Chargers play, told me, “I don’t think the Chargers would be well received by fans coming back, but in time it could become better.” Jackson Kerr, another Charger fan, disagreed, telling me, “The Chargers would be welcomed with open arms right off the bat.”
Despite these opinions, the rumors of the Chargers coming back appear to be untrue. It seems as if the city of San Diego will have to continue on without a professional football team.