Why Los Angeles’ Mayor Doesn’t Want the Chargers in His City

January 22, 2016, 12:57 AM UTC
St. Louis Rams vs San Diego Chargers
SAN DIEGO, CA- NOVEMBER 23: Benny Cunningham #36 the St. Louis Rams is tackled by Manti Te'o #50 and Andrew Gachkar #59 of the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on November 23, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Photograph by Donald Miralle—Getty Images

Los Angeles’ mayor isn’t so keen on having the Chargers relocate to his city. But it’s for an unexpected reason.

Mayor Eric Garcetti says that he’d rather the Chargers stay in San Diego because he wants there to be a rivalry between the relocating Rams and the Chargers in the south, according to ESPN.

“We’d welcome any team to come here, but I love the idea of a great rivalry to the south,” Garcetti, who was a Rams fan growing up, said in an interview with ESPN. “We wish them luck.” (Of course, it’s notable that the teams wouldn’t meet regularly given that they play in different conferences.)

The comment comes as the NFL approved the Rams’ bid to move from St. Louis to Los Angeles last week. The Chargers or Raiders could still move to the city, according to ESPN, although the Chargers have a year to figure out if the team can continue to play out of San Diego. The Raiders would then have the opportunity to move to Los Angeles should that plan fall through.

Interestingly, there have been NFL teams in Los Angeles in the past. While the Rams played in the city from 1946 to 1994, the Raiders played there in 1982 to 1994.

But the economic impact from the move for St. Louis and Los Angeles may be overstated, according to a Fortune Insider piece published Wednesday.

Garcetti, meanwhile, had some advice for other mayors pondering bidding for a sports franchise in the future. “Don’t be so desperate for a sports franchise and don’t put your city in debt for decades,” he said in the ESPN interview.