Industry News

Los Angeles Chargers undeterred by poor preseason crowds

The Los Angeles Chargers’ decision to relocate to the Californian city is being questioned after poor attendances during the NFL franchise’s first games at their new home.

While StubHub may be expert at selling tickets, the StubHub Center – the Chargers’ home for the next two seasons – has seen fewer than 80 per cent of seats filled for the games against New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks. That’s despite the 27,000-seat StubHub Center being by far the smallest stadium in the American football league.

The former San Diego Chargers vacated the 70,000-capacity Qualcomm Stadium at the end of 2016 and will share the new 80,000-seat Los Angeles Stadium in Inglewood with city rivals the Rams from 2019.

However, while all available season tickets for StubHub Center have been sold for the 2017 season, just 21,197 attended the Saints game, with 21,054 at the Seahawks game.

The attendances were almost 5,000 fewer than the crowd that LA Galaxy attracted on Saturday night for their Major League Soccer game against New York City FC. The Rams attracted 62,888 people to see them take on the Dallas Cowboys earlier this month, but while that figure meant just 67 per cent of seats were filled at Los Angeles Coliseum, it is clearly more difficult to fill a 93,000-capacity stadium for a preseason ‘friendly’.

Despite concerns that the demand is not there for a second NFL team in Los Angeles – population 18 million – Chargers owner Dean Spanos is apparently unconcerned about preseason crowds.

Los Angeles Daily News reporter Vincent Bonsignore wrote: “Based on my conversations with Spanos, he remains ecstatic with the decision to relocate to Los Angeles and is fully engaged in figuring out how the Chargers can create a strong niche for themselves in the crowded Los Angeles sports market. And he’s pleased thus far with where the Chargers are, ticket-wise.”