Chargers', Rams' weak attendance Sunday

Is L.A. not a pro football town?

"...#Chargers can't even [get] fans to show up to a 27,000 seat high school stadium!" tweeted a game-goer
  • "...#Chargers can't even [get] fans to show up to a 27,000 seat high school stadium!" tweeted a game-goer
  • from fieldofschemes.com

More publications are wondering if Los Angeles will be a good home for two pro football teams after the Chargers (San Diego transplants this year) and Rams (St. Louis transplants last year) had poor attendance Sunday, September 17.

As announced, the Chargers only drew a bit over 25,000 at the StubHub Center, which seats only 27,000. "By one estimate, half the maybe 20,000 fans, if you're being generous, at [Sunday's] Chargers-Miami Dolphins were rooting for the Dolphins," says Neil deMause of fieldofschemes.com.

Only 56,612 were there for the Rams-Washington game at the mammoth L.A. Coliseum, which seats 93,607. The total attendance for the Rams and Chargers games was less than the 81,000 that showed up for the Texas-USC game Saturday at the Coliseum, says au.sports.yahoo.com.

The National Football League says it is confident that L.A. can support two league teams. Even DeMause points out, "None of this is is a crisis just yet: It can take awhile to build a fan base for a relocated team."

Publications such as Forbes and USA Today commented on the weak attendance for the teams. There is a general feeling that traffic and parking are so bad in L.A. that people might rather sit at home and watch games on TV. Traffic and parking, along with a boiling-hot sun, are turning off fans at the San Francisco 49ers stadium in Santa Clara.

The Rams had the second-best attendance in the league last year. Of course, the first few years are often prosperous because of the novelty effect. The Rams and Chargers will be home teams at the new Inglewood stadium in 2020.

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Interestingly, USC will start remodeling the Coliseum after this season, and two of the things they are doing is adding luxury suites and removing about 16,000 seats.

Regarding attendance--the NFL has created this, by allowing two teams to move there. The Rams, and Rams alone, made much more sense (as the NFL was never going to let the Raiders move back there). And with the NFL having been gone from LA for over 20 years, you can expect lots of fans from visiting teams in both the Coliseum and StubHub Center for the foreseeable future. Season seat holders will sell tickets for individual games they don't really want to go to (which could be most of them) to fans of the visiting teams for a big markup over face value, allowing them to keep buying season seats year after year. Two of the reasons why there were always so many visiting team's fans at Chargers games here: 1) season seat holders sold their tickets for big bucks for certain games. 2) Ticket brokers (part of the alleged 25% Chargers fan base in Orange County) bought season seats and sold them to visiting fans.

aardvark: Many of the big universities with very old stadiums, cited in my column this week, have done the same: erected luxury seats for rich alums.

Possibly people with the objective of buying and then scalping Chargers seats didn't find enough takers from Florida, even though, according to some, half the people there were Dolphins fans. It's a long travel and Miami residents have had other things to think about recently. Best, Don Bauder

Interestingly, the renovation of the LA Coliseum has been in the works since USC took over in 2013. The $270 cost and the scope of the renovation was announce before the Rams applied to move back to Los Angeles. Also interesting was the statement made by Dan Fouts during one of the preseason games that the Chargers had sold out the entire regular season schedule.

Dan Fouts meant to say 'the Chargers sold out their fans' . . . Hope the Spanos family chokes on their greed!

TJAPPLEG8: Ha! That's a good one. Best, Don Bauder

danfogel: Yes, Fouts's remark is interesting, if true. There could be a number of explanations: 1. It wasn't true and Fouts was either a liar or told to say it by his employers; 2. The seats were sold to scalpers who, as stated above, couldn't dump their tickets for a profit; 3. It was Chargers promoters trying to get a bandwagon going who misinformed Fouts. There are other possibilities. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder, My comment about Fouts was a trick comment, a test of sorts, which unfortunately you didn't pass. It was announced probably 6 months ago that the Chargers sold out their allotment of tickets for the upcoming season. I can tell you that I saw it on 2 different LA stations in one night and then read it in the LAT the next day. As I am sure you're probably not aware of, when a team "sells out" a game, any game, that does not mean they have sold every ticket to every seat. League rules stipulate that a certain number are set aside for the home team's players and the opposing team, as well as tickets for community relations and promotional use. I don't know what the "official" sell out figure is for StubHub, but I do know that for the Rams in the LA Coliseum last year had 70K season tickets and less than 10K single game tickets available per game; the remainder held back as I described above. As for your comments about Dan Fouts, I find it disturbing, and am not at all surprised, that part of your response, probably by instinct, was to impugn his integrity. For those who pay attention, Fouts is one of those announcers who calls it like he sees it, whether it be about a player, a team or the league. He has, in fact been critical of the Chargers move since it was announced, lambasting both the league, team ownership and to no small degree the city of San Diego, blaming both the city and Dean Spanos for not getting a stadium built in San Diego. During the game in which he mentioned the ticket sales, he referred to the Chargers playing at StubHub as am embarrassment for both the league, the team and the fans. BTW, in case you're not aware, which I am sure you're not, Dan Fouts is a Chargers employed broadcaster for the Chargers during the preseason, not for the network as is the case during the regular season.

danfogel: Why should Fouts have been critical of the city of San Diego for not keeping the Chargers? Is he one of those who believes the city should have subsidized the Spanos family? If so, Fouts's priorities are wacko. The city came up with suggestions for fat subsidies and the Chargers turned the suggestions down. Fabiani and Spanos went on to insult the city.


don bauder I do not appreciate being yelled at!!!!!

danfogel: The capital letters were just for emphasis. I am frustrated that San Diegans (I know you are not one) don't seem to understand that the team of Fabiani/Spanos worked overtime to make sure the Chargers would lose the election so Spanos could move the team north. Best, Don Bauder

Mike Johnson: The Chargers will be back in San Diego in 2127? That's 100 years from now. Much can happen in 100 years. Go back 100 years and you are in 1917. The league that became the NFL had not yet been formed, but the formation would come in three years (1920). The major reason for forming the league was to provide a vehicle for gambling on Sunday. Owners in those years were big gamblers; many had come from the rackets, organized crime. Al Capone was a major financier of the Chicago Cardinals. The owner of the New York Giants was a bookie. And so on.

In 2127, you can bet on one thing: fans will be able to place bets inside the stadium. In fact, don't be surprised if that comes by 2027. Best, Don Bauder

Many of my friends have disagreed with me but I have always felt that the Chargers move was not a good one. They argue that the team is worth more and that Spanos moved the team so he could sell it. I have zero expertise in this area but I know that a lot of Chargers stuff has been showing up at thrift stores. My observations is that, except for a few idiot Charger fanatics, their San Diego fan base has turned their backs on the Chargers.

AlexClarke: Keep in mind that Forbes's conclusion that the Chargers are worth something like $1 billion more by just arranging to go to Los Angeles is simply vapor -- based on the assumption that the Chargers will succeed there. But the team may not succeed there, just as the Raiders and Rams flopped and left. It will take something like 8 or 9 years to determine definitively if the Chargers will flop in L.A. You can bet that as failure appears to be imminent, Forbes will lower its estimate of what the team is worth. Best, Don Bauder

"SPORTING NEWS" REPORTS THAT NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE IS CONSIDERING MOVING CHARGERS BACK TO SAN DIEGO. The "Sporting News" reported today (September 22) that the National Football League (NFL) is considering moving the Chargers back to San Diego. The source is long-time NFL reporter Don Banks, who formerly worked for the "Sporting News," and NFL media and now writes for "The Atlantic." Banks says the NFL never wanted to lose San Diego as a market.

Banks told a San Diego radio station that "If there is anything viable that they could find to put the league back in San Diego, I think they will be in that camp strongly." Apparently, the league is upset that the Chargers are not selling out a soccer-size stadium, drawing fewer than 30,000, and perhaps realistically closer to 20,000, for their first home game.

In my opinion, several things would have to be done first. Dean Spanos would have to sell the team. He deliberately made himself hated in San Diego so he would lose the election and convince the NFL he was unwanted. He would get more for the Chargers, probably, if it were in L.A. -- unless the weak attendance continues. Spanos and Stan Kroenke, who dislike each other, plan to share the new Kroenke-built stadium and development in Inglewood beginning in 2020. The league may be aware of more animus between the two. And there could be many more variables -- including the possibility that this is a canard. Best, Don Bauder

LA Never wanted the Chargers...Even LA Times top Sports Writers publicly flamed the Chargers and encouraged them to stay in San Diego...He did not see a fan base for the Chargers and was skeptical that a fan base could be built in LA to support the Chargers.

LA fans are loyal to USC and UCLA, Pro Football is a much harder sell especially when the teams are terrible. After the Rams and Raiders left LA, LA fans were perfectly happy to watch any NFL game they wanted to watch on TV or satellite etc.. There are a lot of other things to do in LA.

Pro football teams must earn the business and loyalty of fans and their money. It is a long term proposition that Kroneke and his Wal Mart heir wife with their multi billion dollar deep pockets and purses can afford to wait out and build for a decade or more. The Rams have a much better chance at making a go of it in LA because of their long history in LA.

The Chargers are an iffy proposition. Deano has jumped into the shark tank with zero diving and/or successful business experience. No one informed Deano of his monopoly Chargers operation in San Diego would have to operate and compete as a competitive, well run, profitable business in LA?! Deano's checkered business history and mismanagement of the Chargers just will not cut it in the shark infested waters of LA billionaires. Deano could get "eaten alive" in LA.

Deano should sell to a local San Diego billionaire or group of billionaires who can afford this rich man's toy and hobby. Deano and his family are equity rich and cash poor. LA is the business big leagues and Deano's business errors will lose him big money in LA.

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