On-Field Success Doesn’t Translate Into Off-The-Field Popularitycsudhbulletin December 12, 2018 0 COMMENTS
By Antonio Flowers
If you are a big fan of the National Football League, you are most likely aware of it, but casual fans may not realize that one of the top teams in the league this season plays its home games only a few steps west of the CSUDH campus. Heck, they may not even know that the team is there.
It’s the Los Angeles Chargers, which is playing its second season at the StubHub Center, as it waits for its future home, the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park, to open in 2020.
The Chargers are currently 10-3, second in the AFC West Division and guaranteed a playoff spot. But in their five home games this season, they are only averaged 94 percent of capacity, at a stadium that seats a mere 27,000. No other NFL team averages less than 50,000 spectators.
And of those fans, a minority support the Chargers. Having worked its home games as an intern for the company that handles crowd management for the center, I can personally attest that in most games, the road team’s supporters outnumber Chargers fans.
Part of that is many Chargers fans from San Diego, where they had been located since 1961 before moving to Los Angeles last year, have disowned the team for abandoning the fans that had supported them for so long. Another reason is that the Chargers moved to Los Angeles a year after the Rams returned. This is a Rams town, particularly since the team has the best record in the league in 2018.
But still, you’d think a team that has already locked up a playoff spot would be big news on the college campus that it sits upon.
But it isn’t. When I walked around campus last week and asked random 20 CSUDH students about whether they were Chargers fans, 12 said they didn’t care about the Chargers and were Rams fans, three didn’t even know the Chargers had moved to Los Angeles, and five didn’t care about football.
Admittedly, it was a very small sample size and not exactly scientific. But it is one more piece of possible evidence that the Chargers have a long road to go before they are eagerly supported by local fans.
And that is a shame.
Not only are the Chargers missing the mark on growing their brand locally, but CSUDH students are missing an opportunity to see one of the most exciting teams in the league, led by one of the top quarterbacks in the league, Philip Rivers. Rivers led the Chargers to a 45-10 victory on Nov. 25, completing 25 consecutive passes and setting a new NFL single-game record with a 96.6 completing percentage and threw for three touchdowns and 259 yards.
The week after the Chargers beat the Steelers 33-30 in Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football.
They are fifth in the league in offense, sixth in total points and scoring margin, and are ninth in yards allowed. At age 36, Rivers, in his 15th NFL Season is having his best season to date and, thus far, best start of a season since 2009, when they finished 13-3.
But the age-old question applies: if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? The same can be said, so far, for the Chargers’ short visit in Carson: if an NFL team is playing lights-out, but no one cares about it, does it really matter?
Photo by Jevone Mooreitor | Fi360 News