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Chargers Couldn't Sell Out 27,000-Seat Stadium For Home Opener

Empty seats at StubHub on Sunday. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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There were plenty of logistics to figure out when the Chargers announced they were moving back to Los Angeles (they’d spent one season here as part of the now-defunct American Football League). One of the major things was the where. The plan was to move into the upcoming Inglewood stadium with the Rams, but the building wasn’t yet ready. The team therefore looked towards to the StubHub Center in Carson as a temporary home.

The setup is a bit weird, as StubHub was originally built for the purposes of the L.A. Galaxy and Major League Soccer. Soccer, while a burgeoning sport in America, doesn’t command the type of fanfare here as the NFL does. As such, the capacity at StubHub stands at a more modest total of 27,000 seats, whereas the usual NFL stadium holds more than 60,000 seats.

Which makes it all the more embarrassing that, in the Chargers' first regular-season game back in L.A., the team failed to sell out the joint. As reported at Forbes, the game drew 25,381 people, with a large chunk of them rooting for the visiting Miami Dolphins. The “announced” attendance is often a euphemism, so it’s likely that the actual number of people in the seats was even lower than 25,381. One San Diegan tweeted a comparison of Sunday’s game with a season opener from the past (when the team was still in SD). The difference is stark, to say the least:

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And here’s another look:

Across town, the Rams had some trouble of their own filling the seats at the Memorial Coliseum on Sunday (a much loftier task, as the stadium seats about 90,000). They had a similarly hard time drawing fans in their season opener.

The evidence is obvious that, when it comes to football, L.A. favors its college teams. One Twitter user noted that the USC-Texas game on Saturday drew a bigger crowd that both the Chargers and Rams games combined (though, to be fair, that USC game was buoyed with some serious historical background)

This is pretty bad news for the Chargers (and the Rams), and obviously doesn’t bode well for the rest of the season. Aside from the attendance issue, the Chargers lost to a not-good Dolphins team off a botched kick.

Though, if you’re a Chargers fan, the upshot is that people are discovering that StubHub offers the most intimate seats in the NFL. With such a close view of the action, and with tickets apparently always available, it’s perhaps not a bad idea to drop in on Philip Rivers and co.: