Debunking the myths of the Chargers

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Updated: October 21, 2017

9:55 AM ET

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Anthony Lynn says he doesn’t have an “us-against-the-world” mentality when the Los Angeles Chargers host games at StubHub Center, with opposing fans taking over the stadium.

“No, I don’t think it’s that bad,” Lynn said, smiling. “We have a lot of Chargers fans here at home.”

While that’s true, there’s no denying opposing fans made their presence felt during a three-game homestand earlier this season in which the Chargers went 0-3.

After winning consecutive games on the road, the Chargers return to StubHub Center on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS) to face the Denver Broncos for a second time this season.

The perception nationally remains that the Chargers (2-4) are unwanted in Los Angeles. And only winning will change that for the franchise.

However, Lynn attended Thursday’s opener for the city’s NBA franchises — the Los Angeles Lakers hosted the rival Clippers — and reportedly received a warm welcome.

“It doesn’t matter who shows up,” Lynn said. “I believe our crowd will show up. When we make plays, they stand and they’re loud. I hear them. So that really hasn’t been an issue.”

That said, let’s take a look at five issues that provide some context to what’s really happening here.

Myth No. 1: Fans aren’t showing up to StubHub Center

The Chargers have sold out all of their home games so far, and will again Sunday, with a paid attendance of about 25,400. StubHub Center seats 27,000, but the team does not count 1,200 comp seats or 400 unsold ADA-compliant seats toward that number. So the stadium for the most part is full at game time. A good number of tickets sold on the secondary market are being purchased by opposing fans. That’s the problem in terms of perception nationally, taking away from the Chargers’ home-field advantage in L.A. That presumably won’t change Sunday, when the stadium will be half-filled with orange-clad Broncos fans. Opposing fans showing up for Chargers games is nothing new. Why wouldn’t you want to go to Southern California in December if you’re a Pittsburgh Steelers fan? But here’s the issue: When 15,000 opposing fans showed up at San Diego’s 70,000-seat stadium, their presence wasn’t felt as much as when 15,000 fill the seats in the 27,000-seat StubHub Center.

Myth No. 2: Chargers fans from San Diego are not attending games

Most Chargers season-ticket holders are now from Los Angeles and Orange counties. Some San Diegans continue to make the trip a few hours north to attend games, but the Chargers have work to do if they want to recapture these fans. For those making the trip, San Diego-based bus services, such as 5 North Bolt, which taxis about 100 fans from down south to StubHub Center on game days, help make travel easier for Chargers fans from that area.

Myth No. 3: The section tarped during home games are seats the Chargers failed to sell

There are not seats underneath the tarped area. The Chargers do have the ability, however, to use that space to expand to 30,000 seats in the future. The franchise believes it could sell seats installed there because those would be among the cheapest tickets in the stadium. However, with the Chargers placing a premium on fan experience, expanding beyond current capacity in the first season at StubHub Center was ruled out by AEG — the overseer of the facility — and the team over concerns about how the building would accommodate a football crowd’s ingress and egress, plus congestion at restrooms and concessions. This season is a trial run at StubHub, and those sections will not be built out in 2017 but could be as early as 2018.

Myth No. 4: The Chargers are considering moving back to San Diego

The Chargers are not going back, and are only looking at the long play in Los Angeles, building momentum for when they move into the reported $2.6 billion new facility in Inglewood in 2020. From the team’s perspective, there has never been a workable stadium solution that would have kept them in San Diego. From a long-term financial standpoint, the Chargers believe the value of the franchise will increase and the team will generate more revenue in Los Angeles. “The transition is never easy. It was a difficult decision, an emotional decision,” Chargers chairman Dean Spanos said earlier this year. “But we’re here. I’m looking forward to the future. Los Angeles has been great. The people have been great. It’s a new chapter for us and we’re moving on.” For the Chargers, that means investing a million dollars in their training camps, tens of millions in a temporary training facility in Costa Mesa and tens of millions more in upgrades to StubHub Center.

Myth No. 5: The Chargers have abandoned San Diego

The Chargers still support and participate in community projects in San Diego. The team’s youth and high school football programs remain a focus, including the high school coach of the week program in San Diego (they also run it in Orange County and Los Angeles), their renewal of an annual sponsorship of the California Interscholastic Federation’s San Diego section, a commitment to run the Spanos Classic (a high school all-star game) again in January, and the continuation of Junior Chargers Training Camps at elementary and middle schools throughout San Diego County via a partnership with non-profit STAR/PAL. The team has also continued its partnership with Make-A-Wish San Diego and its allocation of hundreds of auction items to charities throughout greater San Diego County.

Article source: http://www.espn.com/blog/los-angeles-chargers/post/_/id/22190/debunking-the-myths-of-the-chargers-in-los-angeles