The San Diego Chargers announced on Wednesday that they will move to Los Angeles for the 2017 season and the foreseeable future. This move seems questionable for a few reasons, I don’t feel like getting into right now. What I want to look at is how the move of the San Diego Chargers will cause a ripple through the sports world you wouldn’t expect out of a franchise like the Chargers (not just having people question if the Dodgers and Lightning made a baby to make their logo).
The world is a cause and effect world. One thing happens, causes something else to happen and that causes another thing to happen until the process is stopped. Some of those things are little and only one person is affected. Sometimes it affects a whole group of people.
The Chargers move being the cause will obviously have a big effect on a lot of people. But for the Sports world, there are five things I see happening as a result of this move. Two of them directly tied to the Chargers vacating San Diego.
1. OAKLAND RAIDERS WILL MOVE TO LAS VEGAS
This could have happened with or without the Chargers move to LA, but with the move, it all but guarantees the Raiders will pick up shop in Oakland (again) and take their team about 6 hours south (again). This time the Raiders will have a brand new stadium, a new fan base, and one of the most desired places to visit. Las Vegas has already figured out a way to put $750 million towards the new stadium. Mark Davis wants to move there. This is happening. The Chargers move just locked it in. The betting line would be about -3000 right now.
2. THE SAN DIEGO PADRES WILL BENEFIT
With the Chargers leaving, the city of San Diego has one professional sports team (and no, the Cosplayers at Comic-Con do not count). The San Diego Padres will see some monetary rewards for being the literal only game in town. Suites for Padres will be purchased. Fans looking for some sports to latch onto will rally around the Padres. The city will want to have some sports glory to rise up. There was a time when that city had three sports teams. It’s down to one and the Padres will see all the money. That should help out a team that is currently paying $41,537,500 on their current roster. That is nothing. The Astros (THE ASTROS!) are pushing $100 million right now.
With more money comes the opportunity to spend that money on some valuable players. If the Padres can start spending $100-$150 million a year on their roster in the next three years, in part thanks to an influx of cash, they can start competing again in the NL West with the $200 million Giants and Dodgers. And there is no reason a Free Agent wouldn’t want to go to San Diego. It’s one of the greatest cities in the country.
[THE NEXT THREE THINGS ARE BECAUSE OF THE RAIDERS MOVE; WHICH IS TIED TO THE CHARGERS MOVE]
3. THE OAKLAND ATHLETICS WIN A WORLD SERIES!!!!!!
Okay, okay, I might be stretching this a bit. BUT, my beloved Oakland A’s have been on the search for a new stadium since 2002. Seriously. They have been trying to get a new stadium in the Bay Area for 15 years. Teams put patches on Jerseys for 15 year anniversaries. Now that the Raiders are gone, the A’s will turn their current Coliseum site into a brand new beautiful stadium that doesn’t have sewage leaking into the locker rooms and dugout bathrooms. The A’s will also, like the Padres, be the only game in town once the Raiders leave. (The Warriors are moving to San Francisco in 2019.) The A’s don’t spend a lot of money, but a new stadium and their losing of revenue sharing will force their hand to spend the money they will make with a new stadium. Invest in talent. New Stadium. Fantastic fan base. We should see them add to their World Series titles in the next 6-years. Thanks, Chargers.
4. THE NBA WILL EXPAND TO LAS VEGAS
The NBA was the first major professional sports league to test the Las Vegas waters (if you don’t count when the A’s started their season in Vegas while Mount Davis was being constructed to allow the Raiders to move back in). Their 2007 NBA All-Star game was the first professional sports experience in the city of sin. I was there. It was nuts. But now Las Vegas will have two professional sports teams with the NHL and the Raiders and the NBA will want to cash in on that location. They already have an area ready to go to plug a team in. The thing I can’t see is a move of any current team. I don’t know if there is an NBA franchise so in need of a new stadium they could pull the Chargers and just move to Las Vegas. That is why I think expansion is the way to go. With the NHL expanding, the NBA has to think they can succeed with more teams as well.
5. THE NBA WILL EXPAND TO SAN DIEGO
The NBA is a lot smarter than the NHL. They aren’t going to just expand by one team. They are going to bring in two teams, together. They are going to make the jump to 32 teams, re-align the conferences (just move Memphis and New Orleans to the East) and give the players association 30 new jobs. San Diego will be looking for something to do in the winter now that the Padres are the only game in town, and everyone in San Diego would love a little extra rivalry with LA. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Alex Del Barrio (@AlexDelBarrio) pointed out that the NBA will likely expand to Seattle before San Diego. That makes much more sense, but I’ve already pushed publish so I can’t steal that idea and will give all the credit to Alex. The second team would likely be Seattle not San Diego, doesn’t change the fact the NBA will add two new teams to the West.)
The two new teams in the NBA fall nicely into the west and the NBA makes two 8-team divisions in each conference. Division winners get the top two seeds, and the next six best records make the playoffs. Simplifies the playoffs in the NBA.
Obviously, the NFL is the most powerful sports league in America. But with a middle tier team doing one simple thing, everything else trickles down and the NBA, MLB and heck, even the NHL to an extent (Las Vegas will get a team to share their arena, cut rent down a bit maybe) will see some major changes.