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Chargers to London Rumors

As Will Brinson points out, scheduling a London team would be very difficult.

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28 comments, Last at 10 Nov 2019, 12:46pm

1 What time would their games be played?

Would this give us an morning game every other sunday when they're at home? I might be on board with that, but what would the TV options be?

And when they're on the road, would you always have them in the (US) early slot? That might not mesh so well with west coast opponents, but those are already gonna mess with someone...

And would they excused from Thursday Night Football? Someone travelling there is harsh enough without doing it on a short week. What about SNF and MNF?

14 You wouldnt be able to play…

You wouldnt be able to play the SNF/MNF/TNF games at home (you could do Thanksgiving, tho might be a bit weird as we don't have it), and you'd have to play home games at the 1pm EST slot, (6pm UK) or earlier, but theres no reason why you cant play away games in the west coast timeslot - thats the second part of our weekly Sunday night doubleheader - starting at 9pm. 

Bear in mind UK fans are used to watching games all night anyway! We already stay up till 3am to watch the Superbowl every yr

3 I think this would have to…

I think this would have to be phased in pretty slowly as you are asking players to uproot their families to different countries. Plus you would absolutely need a division realignment, which would cause an overall shakeup elsewhere.

But I would personally favor this. No one in LA seems to care about the chargers. My brother lives in LA and can confirm that what nfl fans there are either rams fans or fans of the other popular teams.

4 Realignment

Forget about division re-alignment; I'm really looking forward to all those 13-hour flight road trips. Should make for some amazing terrible football in those 6AM body clock timeslots.

In all seriousness I hope this happens, and I think it's more feasible then most Americans assume. It's only 10 games a year at most and the early time-slot is one of the least offensive ways for the NFL to try to generate more revenue. I also really enjoy exaugurated home field advantages and I think London would be a fun one to look at (though not as much fun as Mexico city would be if they one day get a team). I don't prognosticate financial success in the UK - but what do I know.


7 I live in London, and it…

In reply to by sbond101

I live in London, and it traditionally does very well at selling out large sporting events across the spectrum, including all the recent NFL ventures. There are multiple successful, well-attended Premier League teams, and events such as Wimbledon command huge interest. The 2012 Olympics were a roaring success in terms of attendances (don't talk about taxpayer expense). Obviously this is mostly driven by a huge population with sufficient wealth, but the people here do seem to embrace attending live events across the board. I would foresee it being at least viable initially, although the acid test would clearly come if the team sucked for multiple seasons.

In terms of the logistics, I don't see this as an issue. You aren't asking players to go and settle in China. Athletes in other sports travel and settle all over the world. Get on with it. Although I guess there might be contractual issues around residency/tax to work around. 

23 Athletes in other sports settle all over the world by necessity

Either because they can't hack it in the most prestigious league in the sport (men's basketball, baseball) or because the most prestigious and/or most lucrative league in the sport is overseas (men's soccer, women's basketball). (Obviously, it's a different story when you are talking about someone who is *from* another country choosing to stay in that country, or adjacent to it, but as of now there aren't many British NFL hopefuls).

Plus, there's a pretty big difference between choosing to leave the country to play in a league that is entirely outside the US, and being drafted into a league where only 1 team out of 32 is overseas. I can imagine that there are plenty of players who really, really don't want to live in England for 6 months out of the year. That's a pretty big burden to place on guys who get drafted at the end and don't have much of anything in guaranteed money, and I am sure it would cause a lot of drama with high draft picks who have the clout to refuse to sign for a team they don't want to play for. (Of course I realize under the current system there are many players who get drafted and have to play for a team that is potentially all the way across the country from where they really wish to live, but you can fly just about anywhere in the continental US in five hours or less, without crossing international borders).

One thing about a London team: it would be the death knell for any pretense that the NFL cares about competitive balance or a level playing field or anything related to the integrity of the game, besides just making the maximum amount of money. Playing *any* games in London interferes with that, but at least under the current system no team does it more than once a year.

26 "Although I guess there…

"Although I guess there might be contractual issues around residency/tax to work around. "


I've seen calcs that put LON's overall tax rate at NFL income levels as actually slightly lower than NY/NJ/CA.

This may not even account for if game checks, roster bonuses, etc. may be split if the team practices stateside.

6 The Chargers are, at best,…

The Chargers are, at best, the 5th most popular (gridiron) football team in LA, after the Rams, the Raiders (before the Rams' Super Bowl run, I might have even said LA was really Raiders country. It still might be tbh), and USC and UCLA. They might get a fanbase bump from moving to Inglewood, but the Raiders' move to Vegas will likely eat some of that back down, too. It's almost like they shouldn't have moved there or something.

24 the most logical outcome of the LA saga

would have been Raiders to LA, Rams staying in St. Louis, and Chargers staying in San Diego. Though the Raiders in Vegas will probably be fine; the Chargers fan base (pre-move, when there was such a thing) is much more attached to San Diego than the Raiders fan base is to Oakland or LA.

10 in fact

No one outside of San Diego has ever cared about the Chargers, and never will. And if the Chargers ever want to be at a stadium where a majority of the fans are cheering for them, they'll need to find new ownership and move back where they belong (which isn't London any more than it's LA).

25 " you are asking players to…

" you are asking players to uproot their families to different countries"


A lot of London scenarios have involved the team practicing stateside, and only hopping the pond for the 8 home games.


'Plus you would absolutely need a division realignment, which would cause an overall shakeup elsewhere."


Easiest way in LAC's scenario is them to AFCE, BUF to AFCN, HOU to AFCW, and maybe CIN to AFCS, even though the last has a somewhat significant effect on "traditional" rivalries.  Not that much gets changed.

5 Any team in London

This is never going to happen. An idea so bad I can't think of a reason the Chargers would even try to float this. Do they think they can get concessions on their lease by suggesting there is an alternative?

9 Their lease with the Rams is…

Their lease with the Rams is about as good as they're going to get anywhere, unless they're able to get someone to gift them a new stadium that the Spanoses would own and keep the non-football revenue from.

Which is a wrinkle of the NFL-in-London idea that no one seems to discuss, but it's the crux of the whole matter. No team is interested in moving to Wembley or Tottenham Hotspur Stadium or any of those places on a permanent basis, period. The whole point of relocating is to get someone to give you a $10-figure asset for $9-figures or less. That's the primary way by which American sports teams increase in value. You can argue that London represents the first genuinely untapped market the NFL has had in a long time, and so could build value by bringing in a large new loyal fanbase, but the fact is that upon the move, gridiron football would almost certainly be less popular in the country than badminton. They might eventually build that fan base, in time, but that's a big gamble. No one is going to undertake such a risk, and the myriad additional logistical headaches***, without a sweetheart deal for a new stadium already locked down (and a lucrative guaranteed multi-year broadcasting contract signed, as well). Unless, that is, no one Stateside is willing to do the traditional stadium g(r)ift anymore, in which case the gamble on attracting new fans becomes comparatively better (if still not terribly enticing).

London land values being what they are, who on that end is going to make a $10-figure gamble on a sport less popular than badminton, in order to build the stadium? To say nothing of broadcasters, who would have to commit significant money and significant primetime hours over several years (minimum) to the gamble as well, in order to make it viable for the American team to move there. Without those commitments, it's just not worth it right now. Maybe someone(s) will decide to make those gambles, but until there are reports of specific entities seriously negotiating those stadium and broadcasting deals, at the very least, these rumors can't be taken very seriously.

So, I have to think that whoever is floating this report - it sounds like the NFL itself - is trying to goad American cities either in "danger" of losing their team (possibly the Chargers, but maybe more likely the Panthers and/or Jaguars, possibly the Bengals), or potentially in line to receive a relocation (San Antonio most obviously, Portland, Columbus, San Diego *cough*, possibly St. Louis *cough*cough*) into more seriously developing plans for new stadia (and associated broadcasting packages). If, however, they conclude that the American market is dried up, new stadium-wise, this could potentially be a backup plan. But I can't see it even being formally announced for 5-10 more years at least (with the actual move coming some years after that).

*** An aside, but I thought it was interesting: Wikipedia speculates that the draft may run afoul of EU labor laws, amongst other things. An unfamiliar legal system is a huge, huge, hurdle, which a league run by lawyers and businessmen will be very hesitant to try to jump. And with Brexit possibly/probably impending, although the EU aspect might go away, British international business rules and practices would realistically be in flux for several years to come at the very least. There is just no way this is remotely imminent, which is all the more reason to believe this report is being floated to pressure parties closer to home.

ADDENDUM: Uh, sorry for the essay, lol. Writing this was more fun than working, what can I say.

12 This. All of this. No-one…

This. All of this. No-one over here is going to hand over a penny to help a multl-billion dollar business build a stadium. Spurs just spent £700M and had to beg for a £20 million upgrade to the public transport network. If the NFL is coming over here with its hand out, it's going to be disappointed.

The full cost of a new stadium over here is going to be upwards of $2 Billion, and that's a hell of a bet to take when St Louis, Oakland, San Diego, etc, don't have teams. Also, bringing the Chargers over here will just make the no home field promblem a 60,000 person one. The overwhelming majority of engaged (ticket-buying) fans over here already have a team-the idea that we'll all go Chargers overnight is nuts, no matter how good the powder blues are. Throw in logistics, the difficulty of attracting free agents, possible legal issues with the draft, tax drama and salary cap complications (can't imagine people won't want the exchange rate taken care of) and, well, I'd love to see it, but I'm not holding my breath.

17 James - they'll be the #2…

James - they'll be the #2 team for nearly everybody (maybe not division rivals) and the NFL wont be investing for existing fans, certainly not old 80s stalwarts like me, they'll  be investing for the next generation, who will all grow up supporting the new London team. 

13yrs ago they said they'd never bring any games over here at all.. I've done 26 of the 28 games-that-would-never-happen myself...

18 Anything financial?…

Anything financial? Newsflash - the City poaches well-paid staff from Wall Street all the time. Its easy.  UK franchise could easily have a GBP-based salary cap, or hedge USD salaries. They might not even be in UK long enough to pay UK tax. Either way, those are small details in the context of the potential revenue opportunity.

The only issue for me is the long-travel times. Well, the Raiders seemed ok this year when they travelled early in the week rather than the Friday/Saturday. That's clearly the way to go.  Hell the Raiders just had 1.5months without playing at home and they are surprising everyone!  Baseball teams go on the road for weeks. 

15 I didn't realise badminton…

I didn't realise badminton was selling out 80k stadiums 3-4 times every year.  I also didn't realise there were 5 live badminton games on Sky Sports every week, with the Sunday night ones getting record viewers.  Badminton must be bigger than I thought, but what the hell do I know, I've only followed the NFL over here since 1986

11 Chatrgwrs shoukd become…

Chatrgwrs shoukd become nomads. Pmay 4 games in london, 2 in california (1 in rams place, 1 in Sacramento pr fresno or sometbing) and 2 in random places liek oregon or iowa or Vermont

21 Nomads

Gotta think big and outside the box.   I originally proposed this for Raiders, but could work for Chargers too.

Build a giant stadium/cruise ship.   Sell ticket/cruises.   It would have the stadium and training facility built in, could dock at San Diego, Los Angeles, Bay Area, Portland, Seattle, hell Hawaii or Alaska as well.   You could take in northern ports earlier in the year and move south into winter....   A regulation field needs to be 160' wide plus stands, largest cruise ships (Royal Carribbean "of the seas" line) are 215' wide.   Such a ship could not fit through the Panama Canal (even with the expansion, new panamax is 168' wide), so this would be a west coast only thing.     The game itself could be played in international waters avoiding any pesky regulations, and I am sure plenty of fans would be on board for an NFL cruise where they could watch their teams train and then take in a game. 

Now, if there are high seas or swells you would want to move out of the way of that, as you would want a relatively level playing field so to speak (could make kicking field goals interesting).

sigh, I know it would never happen...

20 They will probably need to…

They will probably need to adjust schedule to something like 3 home games - 3 away - 3 H - 3 A - bye - 2 H - 2 A and have extra facilities in the east coast.

I would rearrange divisions in this way:

AFCE: Pats, Bills, Jets, Chargers
AFCS: Jax, Clots, Titans, Dolphins
AFCW: Raiders, Broncos, Chiefs, Texans

22 Add an extra by week, go 18…

Add an extra bye week, go 18 games, finish the season on the third Sunday in February, and the logistics for a London team become manageable. Most importantly, the added revenues make everybody, players and management, a lot more money.