How Has San Diego's Sports Scene Faired Since The Chargers Left?
Speaker 1: 00:00 It's been almost four and a half years since San Diego and said goodbye to their beloved chargers. Following the team's relocation. After 56 years in the city, many wonder how the city sports landscape would fare after the loss of an iconic franchise. But in the time since charger's owner, Dean spanners decided to move the team, there have been some notable winners among San Diego sports teams. Joining me with more is Tom civic, a columnist and sports writer for the San Diego union Tribune. Tom. Welcome. Speaker 2: 00:31 Thank you. Glad to be here. So has Speaker 1: 00:33 There been a clear winner in the field of local sports since the chargers packed up and moved on? Speaker 2: 00:40 There've been three clear winners, the Padres, the soccer community and San Diego state university. They've all come out stronger since the chargers owner Dean span O's and his siblings decided to move the team which had been in San Diego for 56 years. Speaker 1: 00:56 How has chargers fandom fared since the team relocated? Speaker 2: 01:00 Well, you still have folks in San Diego who watched the games. The ratings are still good, nowhere near as good as when the team was here, but they still have pretty good support in terms of the TV viewing as far as going to the games up in Carson and now Inglewood, not so great, but contributing to the team's attendance in Los Angeles. Speaker 1: 01:23 Do you think that people watching have become, are still fans or do you think they're more haters at this point? Speaker 2: 01:29 I think it's hard to know exactly, but my anecdotal experience is a good number of people still care about the team may not be fans of the ownership, but there's just something about the team that it's hard for them to totally cut ties. Yes. There are people who do enjoy seeing the team lose that. That's true too. You make Speaker 1: 01:52 The case that San Diego's remaining sports franchises actually saw the departure of the chargers as a good thing. Can you tell us about that? Speaker 2: 02:01 Yes. Two examples. The Padres are in the east village and the chargers had targeted adjacent property to have a stadium built there, a very large stadium, approximately 70,000 seats, maybe a little less. And this was not something that excited the Padres. They couldn't say a whole lot about it publicly, but they didn't want the chargers sort of stealing their thunder downtown. It presented some real challenges for the Padres. And as we know in the aftermath of the chargers departure, that same property, the Padres have obtained a development rights where city hall under Kevin Faulkner and the city council, they approved a Padres real estate development for that site. So that's a big victory. So those are a couple of victories for the Padres. Plus they become the only major sports team in San Diego, which is pretty rare for a city, this large eighth largest city. So several victories for the Padres and then San Diego state had wanted to buy land in mission valley where the chargers stadium was and succeeded there. As we know, uh, and they're building a football stadium of their own, I mean the soccer community I had mentioned, we've now seen three professional teams sprout up in San Diego since the chargers decision. Speaker 1: 03:19 And as you say, a different kind of football has jumped in popularity in recent years. What can you tell us about the rise of soccer fandom locally? Speaker 2: 03:27 Well, you have three teams to choose from. You have two men's professional teams. It was 1904 and San Diego loyal. And then now coming on board as a team from the top women's league, which will make its first appearance on the field next season 2022, which is pretty exciting considering this legal being its 10th season. So it's got more staying power than the previous women's soccer league. It was in San Diego almost 20 years ago. So the new women's team, the president was the head coach of the very popular us women's national team. Her name is Jill Ellis. They won two world cups with her as the coach. So that's a great connection and pretty exciting to develop. Speaker 1: 04:11 And you know, San Diego is still without a team also in the top men's league in the nation. Is there any speculation that the MLS could establish a franchise here? Speaker 2: 04:20 There is speculation, nothing concrete. That's a great point. The San Diego loyal is in the second tier of men's professional soccer. And there's some thought that the combination of, of the person running the soccer operation land and Donovan, who was a very good MLS player and USA national team player, his connections, and the fact San Diego is an attractive market, could potentially lead the MLS to come here. Speaker 1: 04:47 In addition to more widely known mainstream sports, San Diego, and certainly aren't starved for choice when it comes to its minor sports scene. What else is out there for local sports fans? Speaker 2: 04:59 Oh goodness. There's a lot of them. I've had trouble keeping track of them. Now you still have the San Diego goals, which have a strong core of followers that go to the sports arena to watch hockey. They're the top affiliate of the Anaheim NHL franchise. You have the indoor soccers who have been here for decades. They're heading up to Oceanside to an arena. You have the San Diego seals, indoor lacrosse, San Diego strike force, which is indoor football. Also in the midway district arena, you have tennis in Carlsbad, a professional team. You have the ultimate desk professional team and the San Diego Legion rugby team is in its fourth year. So I probably miss someone, but there's plenty of teams in a perfect world. We would see San Diego and they w MBA. I think it could be a good match. We aren't there yet. So it's something to keep an eye on. Speaker 1: 05:51 I've been speaking with Tom, [inaudible] a columnist and sports writer for the San Diego union Tribune. Tom, thank you so much for joining us. My pleasure. Have a great day.