Chargers Editorial: Home Field (Dis)Advantage

Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego
Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego

Although San Diego Chargers season tickets reached a 7-year high in 2015, this past Monday night at Qualcomm stadium sounded more like a home game for the Chicago Bears than for our Bolts.

Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker and current ESPN NFL analyst, Ray Lewis, really drove that point home on the post-game show.  He pointed out things that so many others have in the past regarding Charger fans consisting mostly of the fair weather variety and home field advantage being non-existent.  Lewis was also quick to note that the fans seemed to disappear after the Bears took a late 4th quarter lead and how that would never happen in Baltimore.

Before the season began I can vaguely recall two hosts from one of San Diego’s more popular AM radio programs counting how many of those 8 home games would have an actual home-field atmosphere.  They quickly agreed that the 3 games against division rivals would have a split stadium along with Pittsburgh and Chicago, leaving just Detroit (home opener), Cleveland and a late season visit from Miami as the three games that should be Charger fan dominated.  Seemed fair then, seems fair now.

I’ve personally been guilty of bandwagon criticism against Charger fans, most recently this Monday night after hearing Lewis’ rant and hearing about how ownership isn’t attempting to build a real winner during what seems like the teams last season here.  I was quick to make snap judgements about my friends and their loyalty, but then I thought further and dug deeper than the surface statements made by radio show hosts and the likes.

I began thinking about why Baltimore has a jam packed stadium on Sundays or why Seattle and Kansas City have the loudest stadiums.  It’s actually simple.  Have you ever taken a winter vacation to Minneapolis during the winter?  I’m sure the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is really nice, but unless Charger fans have family in Garfield Heights, I can’t imagine many of them taking a trip to Cleveland for an out of division game.

When fans from Pennsylvania see that their team is playing in San Diego during December they immediately see it as a vacation opportunity with the feelings not being mutual the other way around.

Fans from other cities making it a point to come to San Diego when their team plays here creates a huge opportunity for the public to make some serious coin if they resell their tickets privately.  That means a lot of the season ticket sales are likely going to people that have zero intention of supporting the team and are just looking to turn a profit.  Fans from other, less attractive and more boring cities, wouldn’t dare sell their seats in fear of being bored out of their minds with nothing else happening that day.

Here, we have options, many of them being outdoors under a warm sun.  It really is tough living where the rest of the country vacations, isn’t it?

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Santiago Haugen
I write, I write, and then I write some more.. Lifelong Padres & Chargers fan who is tired of the acceptance of losing that grips all of San Diego sports fans!

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