Sports Column: LA Chargers to England? Not So Fast
Kevin Sethre, Staff Writer
According to a Tuesday article on The Athletic, the NFL has discussed moving the Los Angeles Chargers to London due to concerns about their current lack of attendance. If the Chargers were to go across the pond, they would become the first NFL franchise located outside of the United States.
But is heading all the way to England really the best course of action? Since moving from San Diego to Los Angeles in 2017, the Chargers have played their home games at Dignity Health Sports Park, which they share with Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy. With a capacity of 27,000, it is half the size of the NFL’s second smallest stadium, Oakland’s RingCentral Coliseum. Despite this, the Chargers still struggle to fill their stadium, and frequently play in front of crowds cheering for the opposing team.
The NFL has had games in London since 2007, and the vast majority have drawn over 80,000 fans.
Does this prove that there would be enough support for a team to play in London full time? People go to the London games for the novelty associated with them. The NFL also does not have good TV ratings in England.
A major issue is the time difference. London is five hours ahead of the Eastern time zone of the United States. Because of that, they would never be able to play any prime-time games since they start at 8:30 PM ET, which is 1:30 AM in the United Kingdom.
Another issue is the popularity of Premier League soccer. Teams like Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur are three of the biggest clubs in London, and are all located in the city. It would be very hard for the Chargers to compete with them.
Due to all of these factors, the Chargers should not move to London.
This article was originally published in the November 8, 2019 issue.