By Steffen Vukojevich
For the second year in a row, an NFL team has relocated to Los Angeles.
On Jan. 12, the Chargers announced they will play home games in Carson, after 56 years in San Diego.
The Bolts will play their first two seasons at STUB HUB CENTER on the Cal State Dominguez Hills campus. At the start of 2019 NFL season, they’ll share a newly built stadium with the L.A. Rams in Inglewood. (The front office and practice facilities will be in Costa Mesa, not Carson.)
Built for soccer, StubHub will become the NFL’s smallest stadium with a capacity of about 27,000 fans. That’s 26,000 fewer seats than the second-smallest, the 53,000-seat Oakland Coliseum, where the Raiders play, and 44,500 less than the 71,500-seat capacity at Qualcomm Stadium, the Chargers’ previous home.
A stadium of StubHub’s size will be an interesting temporary home, but how will it affect the adjacent CSUDH campus and its adjoining parking lots? Even a smaller NFL stadium is likely to have an impact, particularly if there are Monday and Thursday night games – two days heavy with classes.
CSUDH Police Department’s Lt. Hall said the campus already has experience with pro-sports.
“Chargers’ games at the StubHub Center will be treated the same as Galaxy games,” Hall said of the professional soccer club. “These games will be considered Level 3 events, the highest level of security, and our campus police will monitor them as such.”
Some students have concerns about finding parking when the Chargers play, as it can already be a hassle to park during Galaxy matches. This would only come into play if the Chargers hosted Monday or Thursday night football games, as there will be no students on campus during regularly scheduled Sunday games.
The 2017 schedule has yet to be released, but the 2016 Chargers hosted one Thursday night game and no Monday night games. NFL teams play 16 regular-season games, usually eight of them at home.
CSUDH student Terri Lewis, a San Diego native, believes parking is going to be a big concern when the Chargers play, but is optimistic about potential improvements being made on campus.
“It is going to cause major traffic at school,” Lewis said. “One good thing about the move is that any plans of CSUDH expanding will be brought to light because the city of Carson is going to have to show off and make CSUDH more appealing with so many eyes on us.”
Surely, CSUDH may turn into a mecca for college-age football fans. The energy on campus should be electric, especially if the Chargers can return to their 2007 form, in which they missed going to the Super Bowl by 10 points after losing the AFC Championship to the New England Patriots 21-12.
Of course, the Chargers went a lackluster 5-11 in 2016, finishing last in the AFC West.
Nevertheless, CSUDH senior Josh George, a fan, is excited about the move.
“I think it’s going to be awesome having a pro team play across the street,” he said. “If the Chargers start playing better I think the energy and excitement on campus will be very high.”