The Chargers are L.A.’s fourth football team, behind the USC Trojans, UCLA Bruins and the newly-minted Los Angeles Rams (fifth if you count the Oakland Raiders). Fighting for relevancy will be a battle the team is gearing up for and already waging.
“The Fight For L.A. is on!” Those are the words declared on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.
Did you catch Dean Spanos or Casey Hayward at the 2017 Grammys ? Did you see one of the countless “Fight for L.A.” Chargers’ internet or newspaper ads? Did you catch Philip Rivers pledging loyalty to L.A. or Joey Bosa reading mean tweets on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’? What’d you think of the Chargers/Dodgers/Tampa Bay Lightning logo? Or did you….
Yeah, you get the point.
Philip Rivers just told Jimmy Kimmel he’s “warming up” to LA but visibly hesitated when swearing to stay with team pic.twitter.com/lbBjlQWdTY
I live in L.A. and follow all of the Chargers social media feeds, which now promotes their new slogan. Therefore, I expect to see a lot of Charger blue litter my screen. And I have to give it to the team; they are making news daily, even if it’s for the wrong reasons. But the truth is, in Los Angeles even that is a winning formula.
But you don’t have to be a Chargers fan to know the team is in L.A.. Even if you don’t follow the team and you live in the area, chances are you’ve been blindsided by a “Fight for L.A.” Chargers’ ad on one of your social media timelines or in a local newspaper ad. If you drive on the 405 near the StubHub Center, you’ve seen the billboards asking for your $100 to “join the fight.”
Fighting for L.A. aka relevancy
Jan 18, 2017; Inglewood, CA, USA; General overall view of a “Welcome Los Angeles Chargers” sign on the marquee outside of The Forum during prior to the Los Angeles Chargers Kickoff Ceremony. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
This is what the “Fight for L.A.” looks like for the National Football League’s Los Angeles Chargers. It is a battle for relevancy in the face of dozens of other entertainment opportunities. It is a battle for eyes, knowing that viewers in St. Louis watched more Rams football on their TV last year than did viewers in the Los Angeles market, which is the nation’s second-largest; Meanwhile, St. Louis ranks #21.
And, if all that is not interesting enough, the fight for L.A. will be fought in front of the smallest NFL live crowd. This is due to the team playing at StubHub Center in front of 32,000 fans (that’s with an expanded stadium capacity) for the next two years while the team’s shared stadium with the Rams rises from the ground in Inglewood, which is just a few miles north.
Monday’s L.A. Times has a good piece entitled, “Chargers take their ‘Fight for L.A.’ to the people.” The article chronicles the many marketing events the team is engaged in, the appearances players are making on local news shows and even the mishaps the team is working through. The team is already finding out that just maybe, or at least in Los Angeles, there’s no such thing as bad press. Remember this?
Chargers have adjusted their social-media logo for third time in two days. Now reads: “Los Angeles Chargers.” pic.twitter.com/mpaLcoxWVb
Regarding the fight for L.A., team owner Dean Spanos had the following to say, via the L.A. Times:
“I don’t expect anything to be handed to us. We didn’t expect a red carpet welcome. We’re one of a bunch of teams here, and we’ve got to prove ourselves. And we’re going to fight for every fan and every game and go from there.”
What the fight is really about
The St. Louis Rams doubled their team worth up to over $2 billion by moving from St. Louis to Los Angeles. The team went 4-12 in their inaugural season back in town. How will that affect the team’s worth? The team will soon be worth over $3 billion and is expected to surpass the $4 billion mark once their Inglewood stadium opens.
Likewise, the Chargers, who last saw the team’s value climb over the $2 billion mark with the threat of a move to L.A., now see $$$ in their future. The teams’ value will now be higher than ever, as will the revenue the team expects to collect from luxury suits and shared TV cash, the true target for the “Fight for L.A.” rally cry the team has adopted.
That’s why the team moved. But relevance also helps, and that doesn’t mean you have to be the top dog. Just ask the Clippers, who have never won a championship and have endured season after season of mediocrity, yet still sold for over $2 billion, a joke at the time.
However, having an exciting and winning product on the field (or court) also helps, as the Clippers continue to see their fortune improve. The team is now a contender in the NBA and listed as being worth the $2 billion it sold for.
The team is right to say this is not a fight ‘against’ other L.A. teams. The market is big enough to sustain everyone. However, will interest match? Can the Chargers carve out a piece of the market?
Only time (and wins!) will tell.
Here is to hoping that fight translates to wins (if not a Super Bowl win next year). Personally, I am pleasantly surprised by my level of enthusiasm for the team being here. I even did something I have not done since 1995, when L.A. lost the Rams and Raiders: I bought an official NFL hat. And yes, it says Chargers on the front.
Welcome to Los Angeles, Chargers! Now fight for it.