Team Relocation Benefits Owners, not Fans

The San Diego Chargers have lost again—wait a minute… they’re the Los Angeles Chargers now. It’s never an easy decision to relocate a franchise rooted into a community, or even to expand to one that hasn’t had one before, but how necessary is it?

It’s not strictly a profit-driven decision, despite the fact that it is a business decision. Many variables factor in. For example, right up I-91, Hartford used to base an NHL franchise. The Hartford Whalers operated from 1979-97, close to 20 years. The franchise is now the Carolina Hurricanes.

What happened?

Issues between the state of Connecticut and the club regarding facilities pushed them away. This seems to be a recurring push factor, with the NFL’s Rams, aforementioned Chargers, and even Raiders seeking a new stadium, which can hold not only NFL games, but much more. The future stadium for the Rams and Chargers, at Hollywood Park, is already going to host Super Bowl LVI and the 2028 Olympic ceremonies.

The facility will not only be a football stadium (that can hold up to 100,000), but a 6,000 seat arts venue, with room in the plans for commercial, retail, and residential spaces, dining, and 25-plus acres of public parks. The stadiums of the future are not just built with sports and entertainment in mind, but with the push to create a something that genuinely benefits the adjacent community.

The new mindset is not simply to do good—it makes economic sense, too. A NFL stadium only hosts 8 home games per team, two L.A. teams, 16 home games, 16 days out of the year that the facility is used for its intended purpose. Add in other events, the facility is standing unused for two-thirds of the year. However, if there’s a reason to use an entire facility on a weekly, if not daily basis, there is a lot of realized revenue that does not get made elsewhere.

In short, not only are professional sport franchises moving to make more money, they’re moving to benefit their communities, and the combination of the two can foster an all-around better fan experience.