NFL still confident in Los Angeles market despite attendance for Rams, Chargers games

The optics of the NFL’s first Sunday with two home games in Los Angeles in more than 20 years were undeniably bad.

The Chargers failed to sell out their first home game in the StubHub Center, a 27,000-seat stadium most notably used for Major League Soccer, while the Rams announced an official attendance of 56,612 for their home game against Washington at the Coliseum.

An NFL spokesman on Monday said the league and officials from both teams “remain confident” about the Los Angeles market moving forward.

“To a person, both at the club level and here at the league office, we remain confident that the city of Los Angeles can support in a very strong way two franchises, and we’re committed to making that happen as we work toward the opening of the new stadium,” spokesman Joe Lockhart told reporters on a conference call.

The Rams and Chargers will share a new stadium at Hollywood Park starting in 2020. That stadium is expected to have a capacity of about 70,000 for NFL games, but can be expanded for other events, including the 2028 Olympic Games.

The Chargers’ struggles to sell tickets are especially notable, given the small size of the StubHub Center, the gamble the team took on hoping fans from San Diego and Orange County would follow the team after the relocation and the strong presence of visiting fans during the home opener against the Miami Dolphins, a team not known for a massive West Coast fan base.

The Chargers host their first AFC West game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

“They knew going in this wasn’t a one game or a one-year solution, where they could just turn the light on and expect the type of support they are very confident they’re going to get as they move to the opening of the new stadium,” Lockhart said.

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