The Los Angeles Chargers Have No Fans and Can't Fill Their Stadium
In a season full of NFL missteps this may perhaps over time prove out to be the worst of them. And while the "Los Angeles" Chargers won't necessarily go out of business---they have no fanbase and are not particularly good as a team, they're now 0-4 this season.
The Chargers lost Sunday to Philadelphia 26-24 which actually was an improvement for them--a close game. The bigger issue was their "Home Field", 27,000 seat Stub Hub stadium which the team is not even close to being able to fill.
No, those aren't actually covered seats believe it or not---they are sections without actual seating. But it does not change the fact just over 25,000 showed up for the game.
And the majority of those 25,000 were not Chargers fans.....
The NFL just assumed Chargers fans would gladly make the 90 minute or so drive north to Los Angeles and fill up the leagues smallest stadium while the Chargers waited for Rams owner Stan Kroenke's palace to be built. It doesn't appear the experiment is going well.
Los Angeles in many ways is like OSG Home Base Atlanta due to the fact there are a bazillion things to do on a Sunday afternoon besides go to an NFL game. Which isn't to say fans won't turn out---for a winning team they will come.
But the Chargers are not that.
I had the experience of covering the Tennessee Titans in the mid/late 1990's when they were born and the problems were very similar. Upon the former Oilers move to Tennessee---they spent season #1 in Memphis, 4 hours from Nashville with no ties to the team. And nobody came.
Season #2 was spent in Nashville at Vanderbilt's Memorial Stadium and it went a bit better. The 35,000 seat or so stadium did fill up---mostly with visiting fans. Season #3 was played in their own stadium and by that time due to a TON of community outreach and grass roots support they were able to fill it up. So it can work. But the battle to get there is difficult.
The NFL needs this to work and perhaps might consider spending a few bucks on marketing (just a thought)....the team is going to have to work overtime in the community making inroads and building a fanbase organically.
The question is this: Will either the team or the league be willing to do it??