Much has been written about how much of a disaster the first two preseason games for the Los Angeles Chargers have been. The Chargers’ first preseason game drew 21,054 people. The second preseason game, on Sunday night, drew 21,197 — that’s 6,000 seats short of the capacity for the Stub Hub Center. In contrast, The Rams reported a crowd of 62,888 for their first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys. The way-too-early-too call verdict isn’t looking good for the bolts and the upcoming preseason game between the Rams and Chargers at the LA Coliseum is only going to amplify the noise.
The fight for LA is a disaster for the bolts because of how indifferent Los Angeles sports fans feel about the Chargers. You’d think they could pack the Stub Hub center for a preseason game against the Saints, but without any built-in loyalty, other distractions became more desirable. Like brunch. Think about that. The Chargers are losing to brunch.
However, I think the “fight for LA” tactic was a card the Chargers marketing department had to play because they needed eyeballs. And the Chargers came out swinging — even though it was very, very, very awkward.
Those photos of the sparsely attended games at the tiny Stub Hub Center are hilarious to Rams fans, but once you realize that the move from San Diego to Los Angeles was going to take years before it wasn’t a laughable, then the whole PR stunt starts to make sense. In Hollywood, there’s no such thing as bad press and the Chargers are just trying to make a dent in the busy sports landscape of Los Angeles.
Rather than starting a fight, I would have emphasized the fact that they have lightening bolts on their pants. Fashion sells, people.
But, you know what? San Diego is still watching their team and that matters. The Chargers aren’t a terrible team when they aren’t lying on stretchers.
The only way the Los Angeles Chargers are going grow their fanbase is to be ultra competitive in the hopes of filling up the bandwagon. And one of the best cities for bandwagon fans is Los Angeles. Go into any Lids store in Southern California and there’s an entire wall dedicated to Golden State Warriors stuff. LA loves a winner.
The reason why the Rams will win the fight for LA is simple: they have legacy fans that are here and ready to support their team. History matters. No matter how you slice it, the Chargers don’t belong in Los Angeles.
The sad part of the season for the Chargers is obviously going to be their home game with the Oakland Raiders. That stadium is going to be taken over by Raider fans to such a degree that you might as well play Sarah McLachlan slow jams during the game — it’s going to be sad. But that’s just part of this process. The Chargers’ owner, Dean Spanos, didn’t get his own stadium and now he’s forced to rent from the Rams.
Personally, I think the Chargers need to sell the team, build a stadium in San Diego, and move back ASAP. Is that a pipe dream? Sure. But it’s still the best option for everyone.
Another way to look at it is this: the fight for LA is gift for Rams fans. This upcoming Rams-Chargers game on Saturday is a perfect opportunity for the Rams to show what kind of fanbase they actually have. People are paying attention to these two franchises and it’s time to take out the banners, horns, and watermelon helmets. Let’s get crazy.
This fight is a warning to the Rams’ front office that they can’t just sit back — they need to put out a product that will galvanize the faithful that have waited years and years to watch Rams football in person. And from what we saw last weekend, the Rams are well on their way.