LA Chargers: Season ticket sales are good, but should be interpreted with caution

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Last week, it was announced that the LA Chargers have "blown past" their previous 20 year average on season ticket sales. That would put the Chargers over 45,611 season tickets sold, without an exact figure being given at this point:

Without a doubt, this is good news for the state of the Chargers in Los Angeles. The outlook is much better at SoFi Stadium than it was at Stubhub/Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.

For one, there are more seats available and the area is generally better for Chargers fans in LA. The team has some optimism behind it as well as a budding star to sell in rookie of the year winning quarterback Justin Herbert.

However, the brand of optimism around the LA Chargers should be cautious.

The Chargers are certainly on the right track, but the issue won't be fixed in one season. Let's say that the Chargers have sold 50k season tickets, as their summary of the numbers would indicate.

Not all of those people are Chargers fans, but at least over half of them probably are. On the flip side, there absolutely will be Los Angeles-based businessmen, celebrities, and resellers buying tickets to give to visiting fans.

Let's also be realistic about some of the teams the Chargers play at home this year. The Cowboys come to SoFi for the home opener, the Raiders visit in Week 4, and the Steelers come later in the year during primetime. T

hose fans travel incredibly well and I do absolutely see a resale market taking place for those fanbases in particular. If Chargers fans can take up 30-35% of the stadium during those games, I'd be impressed.

This stat and explanation from Roger Goodell on a conference call floated around Twitter the other day, giving Chargers fans reason for more optimism. But let's talk about what it actually means. Y

es, the Chargers have sold more season tickets than any other team in the NFL this year. At the same time, teams like the Packers, Cowboys, and Patriots don't often sell season tickets because they have backed up waiting lists that extend decades.

The Chargers also had the most room to grow in season ticket sales from a capacity standpoint. The soccer stadium in Carson had a capacity of 27k. SoFi has a capacity of 70k that can be expanded to 100k for crucial playoff games and the 2022 Super Bowl.

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Compare that to the Rams and Raiders, who aren't adding 50k seat capacity. LA Memorial Coliseum had a capacity of 78k, so the Rams actually have fewer season tickets available at SoFi in that instance. The Raiders in Las Vegas will have a similar stadium capacity they had in Oakland.

This isn't really to pour water on the numbers, because the numbers themselves are still good for the Chargers. But the Chargers should be selling more season tickets than any other team because of the stadium change, capacity increase, and Herbert excitement. It would be incredibly problematic if they weren't.

Expecting the Chargers' attendance problem to be fixed in one year is ultimately unrealistic as well. The Spanos family themselves views the LA rebranding as a 10-20 year project.

They want the team and product to be good so LA kids grow up with the Chargers. With a budding star in Herbert and some playoff games in a 5-10 year span, the Chargers can start to grow it out.

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But this is simply the beginning of the transition to winning over the LA market, now that the team is approaching half a decade removed from being in San Diego.