Daily 49er

Los Angeles Chargers don’t belong at the StubHub Center

The Los Angeles Rams seem to have bigger audience than the Chargers in LA.

Los+Angeles+Rams+defensive+back+Isaiah+Johnson%2C+right%2C+breaks+up+a+fourth-quarter+pass+to+the+Los+Angeles+Chargers%27+Matt+Weiser%2C+left%2C+at+the+Coliseum+in+Los+Angeles+on+Saturday%2C+Aug.+26%2C+2017.+The+Chargers+won%2C+21-19.+
Los Angeles Rams defensive back Isaiah Johnson, right, breaks up a fourth-quarter pass to the Los Angeles Chargers' Matt Weiser, left, at the Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. The Chargers won, 21-19.

Los Angeles Rams defensive back Isaiah Johnson, right, breaks up a fourth-quarter pass to the Los Angeles Chargers' Matt Weiser, left, at the Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. The Chargers won, 21-19.

Brian van der Brug | Los Angeles Times

Brian van der Brug | Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Rams defensive back Isaiah Johnson, right, breaks up a fourth-quarter pass to the Los Angeles Chargers' Matt Weiser, left, at the Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. The Chargers won, 21-19.

Christian Gonzales, Sports Editor

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While the NFL’s decision to place two football teams in Los Angeles was an interesting move, it wasn’t the most popular choice for Los Angelenos.

Yes, based on record alone the LA Rams are better than LA Chargers, who just moved to Los Angeles this season. But neither team seems to have a legitimate shot at contending for a Super Bowl this year or anytime soon. This will prove to be a problem in a city that finds itself with two professional football teams after years without none.

To make it in the demanding city that is Los Angeles requires being something that neither the Rams or Chargers have been: a winner. This is what will attract crowds and build positive momentum toward developing a fan base over time. Both teams have only hurt themselves with the risky moves to Los Angeles.  

When it came out the Rams were moving back to LA, Los Angelenos found the news to be pretty digestible. The lack of a football team and a historical connection to the Rams was something fans could get excited about. But the Chargers only spent two years in Los Angeles in 1959 before their move to San Diego. Since then, they hadn’t been doing much in San Diego but stay perennially mediocre.

Angelenos don’t care about the Chargers, and the proof is in the crowd size.

The Rams or Chargers have not brought a legitimate crowd to their home games, and I don’t think they ever will. Although it gives LA natives something to do on a Sunday, there’s plenty of other options for sports fans.

It’s gotten to the point where the only crowds visiting these stadiums are from the visiting teams.

Not only did both teams lose a pair of close games this past Sunday, they also failed to fill the seats with an embarrassingly low turnout. It was so low that a USC football game against Texas on Saturday night at the Coliseum had more people in seats than both NFL teams combined. The college game had 84,714 fans in attendance in the Trojans 27-24 double-overtime victory.

On Sunday, the Rams only managed to get a crowd of 56,612 people to their game against Washington. And not that far away from the Coliseum in Carson, the Chargers got a measly 25,381 of fans in their first home game at StubHub Center. In a 27,000-seat stadium used for Major League Soccer team LA Galaxy, it seemed that the Chargers can thank the team from across the country the (Miami Dolphins) for half of their crowd, with most of the seats filled with aqua green jerseys.

While the Rams’ organization is more familiar than the Chargers around Los Angeles, it seems that one team should be in the big city. It’s even to the point that during the Chargers’ and Dolphins’ game, referee Tony Corrente said “Timeout San Diego … excuse me, Los Angeles’’ twice during calls.

At the end of Sunday’s game, Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers noticed that the away crowd was noticeably louder when Chargers’ rookie kicker Younghoe Koo missed the game-winning field goal. While the Chargers are new to this situation, they will have to adapt to the sports fans in Los Angeles like the Rams are trying to.

Unfortunately, with every loss the Chargers rack up, they’re losing the chance of building a positive relationship with the city.

The only way for the Rams and Chargers to attract fans to their home games is to start winning — if not this year, then next season. And that doesn’t seem to be coming to Los Angeles anytime soon.

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