SBD/August 21, 2017/Franchises

Raiders Look To Remain Popular In L.A. Despite Announced Move To Las Vegas

Plans for the Raiders to play the '19 season in Oakland are still up in the air
The Raiders "remain hugely popular" in L.A., and based on the "robust response from the Southland on season-ticket deposits for the Raiders soon-to-be new home in Las Vegas, that doesn’t appear to be waning anytime soon," according to Vincent Bonsignore of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Raiders Owner Mark Davis said a "good portion" of deposits have come from L.A. and Southern California. Davis: "Without stepping on any toes, we’re going to market ourselves in [the] Los Angeles area. And San Diego. We’re reaching out to Raider Nation in Southern California. It’s strong there." Davis is "keeping an eye on things down" in L.A. Davis: "You know, it’s kind of funny. They’re talking about the fight for Los Angeles. And Raiders fans have been telling me we already won that fight, and that the Rams and Chargers are fighting for the No. 2 and 3 spots." It will be three years before the Raiders finally "settle into their new home, and while it all seems so far off in the distance, it’s clear the Raiders and their beloved Oakland faithful are operating on borrowed time together." Davis "hopes to play" in Oakland in '19 but that is "still up in the air." Davis "isn’t trying to minimize the affects of his Raiders leaving Oakland." He "talks to fans all the time, understands their hurt and appreciates their disappointment." Davis: "I have no problems with the politicians here. ... But when you get them all together, it’s a tough situation. They made decisions they felt was the best for their communities. And again, we understand that" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/20).

CHARGED UP? In Caliornia, Jeff Miller notes the official attendance for yesterday's Saints-Chargers preseason game at StubHub Center "was 21,197, a few more than were here Aug. 13 for the first exhibition of a team still trying to show it’s wanted in its new home." The "Fight For L.A." will be an "uphill one, this relocated franchise first needing to get L.A.’s attention before going after L.A.’s heart." As far as honeymoons go, this one "appears to be over before it had a chance to get started." The Chargers now have "twice failed to attract more fans to this stadium" than the Galaxy did for their most recent home game. What is "even stranger for the Chargers is the fact their new home itself was expected to be a bigger draw ... because it isn’t big at all" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 8/21). In San Diego, Nick Canepa writes, "This franchise is going to fail in L.A." The Spanos family "should sell the team to someone who can afford it and move the club back here, where it would be welcomed with a new boss who can do something other than give away hot dogs and tattoos and come up with lame slogans" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/21).

NOT ABOUT THE SIZE: In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes for an NFL viewing experience, StubHub Center "kicks the concrete out of the Coliseum." Though it is "completely lacking in the Coliseum’s majesty, totally devoid of its tradition," StubHub Center is "just a much, much better place to watch a pro football game." The Chargers have "rightfully taken a lot of heat for failing to sell out the stadium’s roughly 27,000 seats for either of their first two preseason games." Yet spend five minutes at StubHub and "realize, this stadium can be their great equalizer" (L.A. TIMES, 8/21). In Baton Rouge, Joel Erickson writes from the moment fans "walk in the gate, there are employees greeting you with a smile, far friendlier than the reception at any other stadium." But as "new and clean" as StubHub Center is -- it is in "far better shape than the terrifying reclamation project that was Qualcomm Stadium -- it doesn't feel big enough for the NFL." StubHub is "perfect for the preseason." The sight lines are "incredible, fans are closer to the action than ever before" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 8/21).

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT? Chargers VP/PR Josh Rupprecht said that for most practices at Jack Hammett Sports Complex, "attendance has been around 2,000 a day." In California, Jim Alexander noted it is "difficult to tell how many, if any, of those who show up are new fans." The "suspicion" from fan reaction at a recent practice is that "many if not most are pre-existing Chargers fans." If the club is "truly going to 'fight for L.A.' the already converted alone won’t be enough" (Riverside PRESS-ENTERPRISE, 8/19).
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