Professional sports teams are an important part of a city’s image, culture and a source of pride for millions of people.
However, every couple of years teams relocate to some new cities.
This season in the NFL, the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders both announced their intention to move ahead of the 2017-2018 season. The Chargers will join the Rams in Los Angeles, and the Raiders will move to Las Vegas.
Sometimes, teams move when they do not have a large fan base in their home city. However, that was not the case with these two teams. Both teams have loyal fan bases — the Raiders in particular after their surprising success this season.
Professional sports teams are usually partly subsidized by the taxpayers of their home cities because of the believed benefit the team brings to the local economy.
Unfortunately, teams sometimes threaten relocation if the city does not give them enough money in tax breaks or stadium subsidy.
The Raiders, for example, assuming Oakland does not offer them a better deal to remain, will build a $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas, with almost half of that amount funded by the city. Las Vegas plans to increase the hotel tax to fund the contribution.
The Chargers were in a similar situation, announcing their move after not being able to reach a favorable deal in San Diego.
It is sad that both teams are willing to abandon their loyal fans in order to foot the bill for a new stadium with tax payers. The Chargers have been in San Diego for 56 years, and the Raiders have been in Oakland for over 20 years.
It is especially disappointing for Raiders fans after they made the playoffs for the first time since their Super Bowl run in 2002.
Both teams have had quite a few rough seasons recently. Yet, their fans have stuck with them for so long, only to have them leave for a new stadium. It’s not fair to the fans of the city the teams are leaving or the citizens of the city they move to.
Teams have claimed for years that they bring money to the local economy, but that claim isn’t even very well backed up. Experts such as Stanford economics professor Roger Noll say that NFL teams do not make much of an impact on the economy and the small increase in tax revenue does not make up for the subsidies.
Hopefully the Raiders and Chargers will end up staying in Oakland and San Diego, respectively, but that is not likely, to the dismay of millions of football fans.