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Sandoval’s Sports Series: A Column

Kayli Sandoval, Editor-in-Chief

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   After San Diego’s most hated man, Dean Spanos, the owner of our city’s old NFL team, announced the Chargers were L.A. bound, sports fans all over the county cut their ties with the team. Spanos announced the departure of the Chargers in January of 2017 and, for the first time since 1961, America’s finest city had no National Football League Team.

   Spanos’s decision broke the hearts of many San Diegans, and ever since the Chargers left, the vast majority of San Diego sports fans have pondered where to switch their loyalties. Some of the more popular sports teams our city has been left to root for are the San Diego Padres, the San Diego Gulls, and lastly, the San Diego State University  (SDSU) Aztecs.

   The Padres have been in San Diego since the late 1960s. However, the organization has had losing seasons for eight consecutive years, and have not seen the postseason in over ten years. Thus, if a San Diegan had not already been a loyal fan, there’s not a very big chance they became one after losing the Chargers.

   The San Diego Gulls, an American Hockey League (AHL) team affiliated with National Hockey League (NHL) Team, The Anaheim Ducks, is a fairly new team to San Diego. According to the team’s official website, “[The Gulls] took the ice on October 10, 2015 to open their inaugural AHL season… San Diego ranked second among league leaders in average attendance” (sandiegogulls.com). The only factor that limits the growth of the Gulls is the fact that they’re a minor league team in a city where hockey is just gaining popularity.

   An overwhelming amount of ex-Chargers fans seem to have brought their support over to the SDSU teams.

   “I used to be a huge Chargers fan and, ever since they left, it has directed me into watching other sports teams,” explained Senior Cameron McKelvey. He added, “I have season tickets to the [SDSU Aztec Football] games and since the Chargers left, more and more people have been watching SDSU football.”

   According to attendance figures provided by SDSU in a San Diego Union-Tribune article published last December, months after the Chargers moved to L.A., attendance for seven home games last season “averaged a … 36.5 percent increase from 2015…” (sandiegouniontribune.com).

   Shortly after their departure, the Aztecs came out with a new slogan: “One city, one team.” In an article by USA Today, SDSU Head Coach Rocky Long stated, “What we’re going to try to capture is the real football fans that like all football. We would like to attract the people who want to go see a good product and a competition and have a good time out in the tailgate lot and all that, and they don’t have to drive three hours to do it” (usatoday.com).

   People love supporting teams that win, and the SDSU Football Team has been doing just that. Last season, SDSU went 10-3 (.769). The team also reached the number 19 spot in the Associated Press rankings for the second year in a row last year (sandiegouniontribune.com).

   This season, the SDSU Football Team is currently 5-1 (.833), with wins over Arizona State and Central Michigan. Aside from SDSU football, fans of Aztec sports will be able to see the Basketball Team start up again this November. Last year, the SDSU Basketball Team went 22-11 (.611) and reached the NCAA March Madness Tournament for the first time in three years.

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Sandoval’s Sports Series: A Column