The Chargers are now entering their 4th Season in Los Angeles. Without a doubt, the venture to LA has been a complete disaster. From finding new ways to lose to choking in big games, this move has been anything but a success. However, the most prominent and on-going issue since moving is the noticeable home attendance issues. What more needs to be said? Look at almost any game since their move to LA: either the 27,000 seat Dignity Health Sports Park was either overrun by the away team’s fans, or the stands were nearly empty. Why has this happened? Where did the once plentiful, loyal Chargers fans go? Can it get worse? How, or can this be fixed?
There is no question that the Chargers have an attendance problem; it is difficult to pin point exactly why this has happened. Of course, the most prominent reason as to why the Chargers’ attendance has declined is when the Bolts moved to LA. They killed off a majority of the die hard fan base in San Diego as that is where they had been for decades. Three teams had a chance to relocate to LA in 2016: The St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers. While all 3 teams had played in Los Angeles at some point in their life-span, the Chargers had only played in LA in their inaugural season, compared to the Raiders’ 12 years (1982-1994), and the Rams’ 48 years. (1946-1994). With this, the Chargers would have the least fan following in LA. As the attendance has shown for the Chargers, that statement is true. So, with the loyal fans from San Diego gone, the Chargers were left with the loyal fans from San Diego and the few new ones from the select crowd in Los Angeles. Now, combine this with an average ticket price of $199.10 (2018). The lacking of fans, combined with high charges are without a doubt the catalyst in the Chargers’ poor attendance.
With the fan base rebuilding, another reason as to why fans are not showing up to games is that the Chargers simply have not been very good recently. They have only made the playoffs twice in the past decade and only once in the LA era. This contributes to the decline of Chargers attendance.
In 2016 (The Chargers’ final season in San Diego), the Bolts had a total home attendance count of 456,197 fans throughout the season. In the Chargers’ first season in LA, their attendance dropped drastically. Their numbers dropped by over 50% (202,687). While it improved the year after with a 12-4 record, the attendance got even worse the next year. A pitiful 177,755 fans showed up to watch the Chargers in 2019. Granted, the team went from a 70,000 seat Qualcomm Stadium meant for football to a 27,000 seat soccer stadium. However, there is no excuse for a team to have this bad of attendance. To rub salt in the wounds of the Chargers, the LA Galaxy, the MLS Team that the Bolts shared Dignity Health Sports Park with had a total attendance of 394,447.
So obviously, all these problems needs a solution. Unfortunately, I do not see the Chargers coming up with a solution for this anytime soon. Despite a re-brand, new stadium, and a new look cosmetically and on the roster, unless this team gets good fast (and maybe win a Super Bowl along the way), the fans and organization may just have to learn to live with this. Of course, there is always the option of moving back to San Diego right? Was the move even smart in the first place, and is San Diego the Chargers’ true home?
It is unfortunate that a franchise like the Chargers has turned into a joke among the league. This is a very likable team. They have a great future ahead of them, some of the best jerseys in the league, and a beautiful new stadium. Hopefully, this Bolts can progress soon, and shred this joke label.