LA Chargers fiasco demonstrates the power of public outrage

When the Chargers announced they were packing their bags and leaving for LA, the city of San Diego gave the organization and its patriarch, Dean Spanos, the one finger salute on their way out. After years of mediocrity under a lousy ownership group, and a few seasons of the Chargers threatening to leave unless the city ponied up the cash for a new stadium, the Chargers faithful decided they’d had enough of that toxic relationship.

Lured by the the promise of a shiny new stadium (courtesy of Rams owner Big Stan Kroenke) in one of the country’s most lucrative markets, Spanos & Co. decided it made sense to eat the $550 million relocation fee assessed by the NFL (to be paid over 10 years) and head for the hills.

Chargers owner Dean Spanos. (Photo source: Twitter)
Chargers owner Dean Spanos. (Photo source: Twitter)

Only LA didn’t exactly roll out the welcome wagons when it was announced the city would be receiving its second terrible football team in less than a year. Here are the best reactions:

The icing on the cake was the unveiling of the newly minted LA Chargers’ logo, which they obviously created by copying off the LA Dodgers’ test.

Source: Twitter
Left: LA Dodgers logo. Right: LA Chargers logo. (Image source: Twitter)

The Dodgers had a different version of the Scantron, so even though the Chargers copied what looked like the right answers, they got a 0 on the exam.

 

That boos at Staples Center were a microcosm of how the country at large felt about the Chargers and their new logo.

With the vitriol of NFL fans and the entire population of the Greater Los Angeles Area directed squarely at the Chargers, the organization quickly distanced itself from its awful logo, going so far as to carry out a public execution. It’s hard to to make money selling $300 tickets and $12 beers if no one shows up for the games.

This serves as an interesting case study in the power of public outrage. When one person starts ranting on Twitter, they’re just some random internet nobody lost in an echo chamber of their own thoughts, lashing out at the internet. Kind of like throwing rocks at the ocean because you’re trying to hurt it. But when a million people do it, that groundswell of internet outrage can affect change in the real world.

As social media increasingly becomes an analogue for real life, organizations like the LA Chargers are trawling Twitter with an intensity usually reserved for three letter spy agencies, trying to figure out what people really think about them.

Not that you would need big data, algorithms, or analysts to know that people didn’t like your new logo. A pair of eyes would have sufficed.