Where exactly is Charger land — the geographic region where Charger fans dominate? A new map shows the Chargers are the top team in three counties besides San Diego — Riverside, Imperial and Orange.
The map, released by the Facebook Data Science team shows every American county’s favorite NFL team, as judged by the number of Facebook user likes in that county.
The fact that Imperial County roots for the Chargers is a no brainer, and the county of 176,000 people is nothing to boast about. Riverside, however, has 2.2 million people, and Orange County, the real jewel, has 3.1 million people. Orange also has the highest median income in Southern California — $75,566 compared to $63,373 for San Diego and $57,096 for Riverside.
That gives the Chargers a much larger territory than the Padres, who have to compete with the Angels and Dodgers for Orange and Riverside counties.
Most other NFL teams have extended their fan base beyond the local market. San Diego, however, is hemmed in by Mexico to the South, the Pacific Ocean to the West and the Arizona Cardinals to the East.
But what about Los Angeles?
With 10 million residents, it exceeds the other four Southern California counties combined. And with no NFL team, it is ripe for the picking.
But Angelinos still favor the Raiders, a team that left the region 20 years ago. And a team that has been, by all accounts, terrible the past 10 years. Their record: 49 wins and 111 losses. The Chargers are 100-60 during the same period.
The Raiders don’t even rank as the team with the most fans in their home county — Alameda.
So, why have the Chargers failed to grab more fans in L.A. than the departed and decrepit Raiders?
That answer is likely due to a franchise that has failed to capture a strong identity beyond San Diego. Local pride is good, but other teams, like the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys, have built much wider fan bases.
The Chargers, of course, don’t need to be America’s team. But it would be nice to be Southern California’s team.