Chargers will pursue respect in city packed with sports teams
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Chargers were the biggest story in Los Angeles for about four hours.
On the same rainy Thursday that the Chargers announced their relocation up the Southern California coast, the Los Angeles Rams hired 30-year-old Sean McVay to become the youngest head coach in NFL history.
Welcome to LA, Bolts. You’re no longer the greatest show in town.
While their franchise value soars and their stadium future becomes secure, the Chargers realize they face a lengthy struggle to gather respect, attention and a durable fan base among the roughly 19 million people who inhabit the five counties around Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest city.
Chargers owner Dean Spanos’ first public comments acknowledged the difficulty of the task they’ve accepted in leaving San Diego after 56 years.
“Our entire organization knows that we have a tremendous amount of work to do,” Spanos said. “We must earn the respect and support of LA football fans. We must get back to winning. And we must make a meaningful contribution, not just on the field, but off the field as a leader and champion for the community. The Chargers are determined to fight for LA, and we are excited to get started.”
Indeed, the Chargers are entering quite a competition.
The Chargers relocated exactly one year to the day after the NFL’s 21-year absence from LA ended with the Rams’ official move back to town. The Southland will be home to two teams apiece in five professional sports after Major League Soccer’s expansion LAFC arrives downtown next year.
The wildly popular Lakers and Dodgers rule their respective calendar months. The Clippers, Kings and Anaheim Ducks are perennial playoff teams. The Los Angeles Angels drew 3 million fans last season while losing 88 games.
There are collegiate athletics powerhouses at USC and UCLA, along with innumerable outdoor sporting pursuits around an entertainment-saturated metropolis that doesn’t get obsessed with sports in the first place.
Even among die-hard NFL fans, the Chargers will be at least…