Los Angeles, a city which had no NFL teams prior to the 2016 season, now has two. But even though the Chargers will have LA in their name starting next season, they won’t officially be playing in La La Land until 2019, when they’re slated to share a stadium with the LA Rams. (They’ll play in the suburb of Carson until then.)
Starting next football season, the LA area will have nine professional men’s sports teams. Can a city of nearly four million people fully support each team? That question may only pertain to the Chargers, and I guess we’ll see once September rolls around.
The move prompts the question which pro sports team will relocate next. With the Oakland Raiders being snubbed by the league in regard to the LA move, they are expected to apply for relocation to Las Vegas any day now. The city just recently welcomed its first pro sports team, the Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL, and the Raiders could be next.
So whether you like it or not, relocation is a part of sports, and it becomes less sad and more exciting if you bet on who moves first, and where they go. Below are a few odds on possible options.
Oakland Raiders: 1/5
Jacksonville Jaguars: 15/1
Buffalo Bills: 25/1
It’s no secret Raiders ownership has been looking for a new stadium. And with being shut down numerous times by the league, the Oakland Coliseum has deteriorated into a bit of a dump. That means ownership is desperate, and will try everything in order to be the next ones to move.
Tampa Bay Rays: 3/1
Oakland A’s: 5/1
Miami Marlins: 10/1
The A’s are the only major league club to share a stadium with a football team, and like mentioned, that stadium is less than desirable. It’s unlikely both the Raiders and A’s would leave Oakland, especially since the A’s owner has no desire to. Tampa is also struggling with an aging Tropicana Field, and are a league-worst in attendance, averaging a measly 15,878 per game. Put the Rays at the top of your relocation list.
Minnesota Timberwolves: 5/1
Denver Nuggets: 10/1
Charlotte Hornets: 10/1
These are all smaller market teams, so unless they are winning, fan attendance is generally lower. Minnesota is a young and exciting team that is getting better, so moving it to a new market could attract more fans. But other than Las Vegas or Seattle, there really isn’t a place to relocate an NBA franchise to just yet.
Arizona Coyotes: 1/1
Carolina Hurricanes: 5/1
Florida Panthers: 5/1
For at least five years, the NHL has talked about moving the Coyotes. It’s become such common knowledge, fans won’t be surprised when it finally happens. So that’s why it did come as a surprise when the league announced it would be expanding to Las Vegas, and not relocating a team there. Maybe it’s an attempt to create a rivalry between the two desert teams, but we shall see.
As for Carolina and Florida, it’s no secret hockey has struggled in the warmer states. Both teams bring in dismal numbers for games, which is never fun for athletes, and never good for the pocket books of owners.
Dallas FC: 9/2
Colorado Rapids: 9/2
DC United: 8/1
Like the Coyotes, talk about moving Dallas FC first started years ago. Dallas has the lowest attendance in the league. Colorado and DC United sit close behind when it comes to attendance, but the strange thing is that all three teams finished at or near the top of the standings at the end of the year. A successful team in a new location could mean more money for ownership, and happier players.
Las Vegas: 2/5
Hamilton, Ontario: 40/1
Vegas just got a hockey team, and a football team could very well follow. There are talks the Sonics will return to Seattle, but for that to happen, one of the arena projects would have to be approved, and there is no timeline on that yet.
Magic Johnson: 2/1
Jack Nicholson: 5/2
Ice Cube: 5/1
Jimmy Kimmel: 5/2
Billy Crystal: 4/1
Denzel Washington: 10/1
Last season, the Rams averaged just over 74,000 people per game at Memorial Coliseum. While that’s pretty good, it’s still 30,000 less than capacity. That means the Rams were the fourth-worst in terms of filling their stadium to capacity in the NFL.
The Chargers averaged 57,000 a game, which was 80% capacity at Qualcomm Stadium. That’s a better percentage than the Rams, but the Chargers will be playing out of the 30,000-seat StubHub Centre next year. So while the Chargers have a good shot of selling out their new digs, it’s unlikely they’ll match the numbers of the Rams purely do to stadium size.
The Rams have a much longer history in LA, dating back (off and on) to 1936. Barring more truly miserable seasons, they should be the more popular of the two. While the Chargers may keep a handful of loyal fans from San Diego, don’t count on legions of people to make the trip north to see the team that betrayed them.
Saying that, the new stadium will be the talk of the town, and if the Chargers can get help from some high-profile celebrities, they could be on their way to growing their dwindling fan base, especially if they’re playing the better brand of football. That certainly looks likely right now given how the two rosters stack up.
Photo credit: Ron Reiring (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/]
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