San Diego Chargers
Number of blackouts: Four
Ownership wants a new stadium, taxpayers don't want to pay for it.
That's what it boils down to in San Diego, where a Chargers team that sold out 48 straight games through 2010 now blacks out home games annually. The Spanos family of owners has threatened to move the team to Escondido, Chula Vista or, more seriously, Los Angeles and has made it clear they'll go wherever they can get a new stadium and a shot at hosting the Super Bowl.
San Diego voters, meanwhile, have responded by electing former U.S. Rep. Bob Filner as the city's mayor after he vowed not to publicly subsidize a new Chargers stadium. His thoughts on the matter during the campaign were fairly clear. "Enough of the extortion from our sports teams, whether they be the Padres or the Chargers," he said at the time.
The team hasn't done a whole lot to combat Filner's "extortion" claims either. The Chargers just finished their first losing seson since 2003 and, just before their last blacked-out game, tried to sell tickets on Groupon (GRPN) for a whopping $8 less than their $72 face value. It's getting ugly in a hurry for the Chargers, who just seem to be counting the days until they can pack up the trucks and take I-5 North to their new major-market home.Oakland Raiders
Number of blackouts: One
The other team in the Los Angeles sweepstakes is no stranger to either blackouts or stadium squabbles. The Raiders tried Los Angeles once before, but headed back to Oakland in the mid-1990s. Since then, Raiders fans have dealt with dozens of home-game blackouts that made the Oakland Coliseum a black hole for its stadium of painted crazies and television screens across the area. The Raiders' lease at O.co Coliseum ends next year, which has given management an excuse to go house hunting. The team considered joining the 49ers at their new stadium in Santa Clara and weighed building a stadium in Dublin, Calif. But new owner Mark Davis is invested in Oakland and even accepted the 85% attendance threshold for lockouts.