Is poor attendance for Los Angeles Chargers preseason games a concern?

The Los Angeles Chargers are playing in front of small crowds this preseason. (AP)
The Los Angeles Chargers are playing in front of small crowds this preseason. (AP)

There are an estimated 18 million people in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The Los Angeles Chargers can’t get 27,000 of them to come out and watch their team this preseason.

The Chargers’ first preseason game drew 21,054 people. The second preseason game, on Sunday night, drew 21,197. Sure, it’s preseason. No, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers didn’t even play a snap on Sunday night. But every relocated team gets a first-year buzz, even for exhibition games. Not the Chargers.

There were many reasons this move never made sense. Terrible attendance in a small soccer stadium in Carson, California, doesn’t make it seem any better. Capacity in the stadium is about 27,000 and the Chargers aren’t hitting 80 percent of that so far.

There are reasons to believe this is no problem at all. People in Southern California have better things to do than watch preseason football. The Los Angeles Times reported in March that all season tickets had been sold out. Tickets for regular-season games at the StubHub Center aren’t going cheap on StubHub, so the secondary market indicates some interest in games that count.

Still, this is the first time a professional sports team has moved to a city that didn’t seem to want it. They’re playing in by far the smallest home stadium the NFL has used during the Super Bowl era, before they move in as the Los Angeles Rams‘ tenants in Inglewood. It’s less than half the size of any other NFL stadium, and the Chargers still aren’t filling it. That the Chargers aren’t even pulling in bigger crowds than Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, when the novelty for any Chargers game should be fresh, isn’t a good sign.

If we’re still seeing shots of a three-quarters full stadium for regular-season games, it will be really concerning.

Give the Chargers the benefit of the doubt for now, and chalk it up to preseason and unused tickets for games that don’t count. But two preseason games in, it’s not like the people of Los Angeles are warmly welcoming their new NFL team.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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