(Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Zuna Press/Icon Sportswire)
It has been about 6 or 7 months leading up to their first game at their new soccer stadium home in Carson, California, the StubHub stadium. Dean Spanos and his efforts in creating momentum and bolstering a new fan base culminated into his L.A. Chargers team barely drawing in 21,000 people.
In the 7 months since the team’s relocation, we are already seeing into a window previewing the most disastrous moves in NFL history.
The stadium in Carson is able to hold up to 27,000 people. An MLS team, Los Angeles Galaxy, averaged over 25,000 (a 7% increase since last year) people in the 2016 season in the very same stadium. Biggest sports entertainment business in the United States, the NFL, and Dean Spanos with seven months to prepare couldn’t even reach the average of an MLS team.
The obvious rebuttal is that this was a preseason game. Not only that, but it was also the very first preseason game. Although at the same time at the Los Angeles Rams’ first home game drew in over 91,000 out of 93,000 available seats. A trend like this will detail a downfall of the Chargers and for Dean Spanos.
Even the relocation itself went through on shaky foundations. It was not like San Diego wasn’t a viable spot for an NFL team, but Los Angeles were by no means “clamoring” for anNFL team either.
“Fight for L.A.” was the slogan created by Spanos in his letter addressing the relocation. The marketing plan’s goals were to connect with L.A. fans and drain money from them as well. If his plan was to have San Diego’s fans follow him to L.A., and combine with the fans in the great O.C. to create a mega fanbase — then it is an obvious failure.
A plan like this could have worked if San Diego and the Charger’s 56-year relationship wasn’t on the down a decade long downslide. Plus Los Angeles is one of the few sport cities where they largely root for more than their home team. The ever increasing popularity of the Raiders, and the 49ers make it more difficult for Spanos’ master mega fanbase plan to work.
And it is hard to blame the football roster for the failure. The team is a playoff prospect for this year! Two future Hall of Famers in Rivers, and Gates, and a tough run-stop defense led by Bosa, can put together 9 to 10 wins together. Even still this playoff contender isn’t being fully supported by either San Diego or new L.A. fans.
Over the next few years a future Hall of Famer, Rivers, will play in front of crowds smaller than southern football high schools, and get booed by opposing fans. The worst part of it all, I am not sure if San Diego natives would even want their team back at this point. If this trend continues, Roger Goodell will have to interject, intervene, and help fix what will soon be called the “L.A.’s Biggest Football Failure”.