Los Angeles Chargers are a professional American football team based in Los Angeles, California. The Chargers compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s American Football Conference (AFC) West division.
The team was founded on August 14, 1959, and began to play on September 10, 1960, as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL). The club spent its first season in Los Angeles before moving to San Diego in 1961, with all the sportsmen and intellectual property becoming San Diego Chargers. The team was based there for a long time – until 2016. The return of the Chargers to Los Angeles was announced for the 2017 season, and now its home stadium is located in this city.
The Chargers’ original owner was hotel heir Barron Hilton, son of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton. Lamar Hunt, who was instrumental in organizing the AFL, said that he had asked Gene Mako for a suggestion for somebody to start a team in Los Angeles, and he recommended Hilton. Hunt said that he visited Hilton for less than an hour, and Hilton immediately agreed to start a team.
In 1966, the first owner sold the Chargers to a 21-member group for $10 million. The leading investors were Gene Klein and Sam Schulman. Alex Spanos purchased a majority interest (60%) of San Diego Chargers from Klein on August 1, 1984. Over the next ten years, he bought out the shares of several small co-owners, bringing his control of the team to 97%. George Pernicano, San Diego restaurateur, owns the other 3%. Since 1993, Dean Spanos has handled the daily operations of the franchise.
Barron Hilton held a contest to find a name for his team. The prize was a trip to Mexico. A man from Hollywood named Gerald Courtney submitted the name “Chargers” and won. Conrad Hilton said, “I liked the name because they were yelling “charge” at the stadium during the games. Hunt said he thought Hilton picked the team name from the first batch of letters as publicity for his new charge account business Carte Blanche.
Meaning and History
Los Angeles Chargers used to have several logos. They were transforming along with the team development, dislocation, change of the owner, or of the image. However, each version had one unalterable element – a lightning bolt as a symbol of sportsmen’s unlimited energy. It gives them power, inspiring them to win. The debut logo was a circle with a shield in the center; then, it was only the shield, helmets, and lightning bolt. Color schemes always remained the same – yellow, blue, and white.
The original Chargers logo has a reference to heraldry – to so-called roundel. Los Angeles Chargers logo is designed as a circle with an element inside. There is a shield with a dark blue horse head in the center of the logo. The logo features “LA” in blue and “CHARGERS” in white on either side of the horse head. The wordmark “CHARGERS” is white like the lightning bolt. This is done to make it stand out. A wide blue stripe with the gold nickname of the team encircles the logo.
1961 – 1973
In 1961, the franchise moved to San Diego, which automatically required the change of the logo, because it mentioned “Los Angeles” twice. Designers redesigned the logo and removed the blue circle with a wordmark. On the shield, the “LA” is also removed. They kept only the shield (it was enlarged), horse head, lightning bolt, and the word “CHARGERS” below it. The color was changed: the navy blue became powder blue.
1974 – 1987
The team’s logo moved away from the previous standard in this period: San Diego Chargers’ logo comprised of a helmet side view. The design is minimalistic without small details. The main element is blue, and its components are yellow. The helmet features a gold lightning bolt with a white and blue border and a gold facemask. The team owner decidedly didn’t want to give up on the lightning bolt’s image: he considered it a very important element, which motivated the players to win. The outline of the helmet and metallic rods is black.
1988 – 2001
A new helmet logo was introduced in 1988. The idea is the same as in the previous emblem. The only changes were the color scheme, which darkened, more modern facemask, and the lightning bolt’s location, which was moved closer to the nape. It was made for the elements of the facemask not to obscure the lightning bolt.
3/4 view of the navy blue helmet looked more realistic due to the small details. The colors and shapes of the lightning rod are unaltered – it looks like a zigzag with a two-colored outline.
2002 – 2006
The San Diego Chargers logo was fundamentally changed due to frequent relocations of the team. The Chargers changed from the helmet logo to the arc-shaped bolt logo. The bolt is white with a navy blue and gold outline. This key element looked like the image of 1974 when it was on the helmet.
2007 – 2016
The use of the new logo marked the next decade. It was the adaptation of the previous Chargers’ logo. It featured the arc-shaped gold lightning bolt with a powder blue and navy blue outline. The designers used yellow on purpose: it was making a reference to the remarkable speed, agility, and energy of the team.
In 2017, there was an unused design. They were trying to replace the main design with it because the club moved to Los Angeles. But fans, mass media, and franchises-competitors didn’t like this version. They criticized it for being similar to the Los Angeles Dodgers logo. As a result – this emblem was used for only two days.
This version depicted the letters “LA” with a lightning bolt coming out of the lettering. The letters are interlocking, resembling a lightning bolt: zigzag-shaped lower part of “L” is extended forward and up. The background is dark blue like a stormy sky; central elements are white like a brilliant flash in the dark.
2017 – present
This Los Angeles Dodgers logo is a carryover from San Diego. The logo is designed as an arc-shaped gold lightning bolt – a key symbol of the club. It’s making a reference to the remarkable speed, agility, and energy of the team. The primary color is dark yellow. The outline is powder blue and navy blue.