Who will North County Chargers fans support now on game day?
After 15 years of evaluating sites in San Diego County for a new football stadium (including Oceanside), it seems the team has finally decided whether there’s a local solution to replacing the aging Qualcomm Stadium. As of the publishing of this column, it’s been reported that Chargers owner Dean Spanos has decided he’ll be filing for a team move to Los Angeles.
This new development comes off the heels of a failed effort to move the Chargers to Carson in 2015, and a failed ballot measure to build a stadium in downtown San Diego last fall.
Measure C, the NFL stadium measure on the November 2016 ballot, was crushed on Election Day — only 43 percent of voters cast ballots in support. Shortly thereafter, intense negotiations were held between the Chargers, the City of San Diego, San Diego County, and San Diego State University, which reportedly resulted in $375 million in financial support for a new football stadium, requiring a countywide public vote.
I know a lot of Chargers are out there mourning over the team’s announcement.
However, it’s important to remember that it’s ultimately not up to Dean Spanos — the final decision-maker is the collective will of the NFL ownership, which previously rejected Dean’s loud and splashy co-venture with the Oakland Raiders to move to Carson.
It’s entirely possible that, given the fickle L.A. fan base and fragile efforts to expand the Rams brand last season, he may be given extra cash to try another stadium vote in San Diego, giving the Rams extra time to prove the viability of an NFL team in L.A.
No one really knows, but yes, this is probably goodbye.
I have mixed emotions about the move to L.A.
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but the 49ers and Raiders never earned my fan support — my dad was a loyal Dallas Cowboys fan, and we used to get flack for that at family gatherings with my extended family members. When I moved to San Diego in 2007, I eagerly adopted the Chargers as my team — I wanted to support local in all aspects of my life, and build roots here.
The Rivers-LT-Gates era probably made that transition fairly easy.
I couldn’t imagine making that transition now, as the team comes of a lackluster 5-11 season with uninspired play, coaching, and ugly injuries.
Still, it was fun representing our home team on NFL Sunday, taking the Coaster from North County to downtown San Diego to watch all the games with friends. I still plan on doing that next season, but now as a Las Vegas Raiders fan.
I would never support a Los Angeles team, and I don’t think the Chargers ever did enough to support fans, our community, or work with our elected officials on building a new stadium. They’re no longer worthy of my support.
Every Chargers fan in North County has a decision to make. What will yours be?
Vince Vasquez is a newly-minted Las Vegas Raiders fan, and a Carlsbad resident.