L.A. fans still really don’t want to watch the Rams play at Coliseum

I decided not to make fun of the Los Angeles Rams for reports of low attendance at their opening game of their second season back in L.A. on Sunday, because they’re playing at the L.A. Coliseum, and also they’re still the Rams. But with photographic evidence, it’s really hard not to point and laugh, at least a little:

Okay, so maybe fans are just waiting to get a chance to see the Rams in their shiny new space stadium in 2020, by which point maybe the team will also be able to win more than four games in a season. (Assuming football hasn’t been banned as a health hazard by then, anyway.) Still, attendance was pretty bad last year too, so unless L.A. fans are more into seeing a fancy roof than actual football — assuming what the Rams play qualifies as actual football — this does not bode super well for the team’s plans to charge the highest price for seat licenses in recorded history.

The one interesting thing I would note is that, like last year, the empty seats are mostly distributed pretty evenly around the stadium, which would indicate fans who bought tickets but then didn’t feel like actually showing up to use them. (Tickets going unclaimed for as low as $6 on the secondary market would further support this theory.) So maybe there are lots of people in L.A. buying season tickets now with little intention of using them, but just hoping to be first in line for season tickets at the new place once it opens in another three years? If so, the Rams had better have a hell of a season in 2019 to ramp up the excitement, and/or consider backing off on those PSL prices some, because they’re going to have quite the sales drive required once it’s time to convince all those empty seats to become full ones in 2020.

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47 comments on “L.A. fans still really don’t want to watch the Rams play at Coliseum

  1. I was at the game. Ended up being over 60,000 people there.

    There were more empties up high, but I agree that the empties were distributed enough to suggest no-shows rather than unsold tickets. In some ways it was a perfect storm for no-shows: too hot & sunny, USC game the night before (I had two friends no-show b/c of that), no Andrew Luck, Rams expected to be bad, major game on TV head-to-head (Seahawks vs. Packers).

    I’d argue that any market would see similar issues, given the situation. I’m still expecting the Rams to overtake the Lakers for LA supremacy.

    1. Reports I’ve seen said 60,000 “distributed,” not turnstile count, FYI:


      1. Far be it from me to contradict the speculation of Business Insider’s sub- minimum wage blogger, but 60,000 was very close to the number of attendees. I can’t speak to whether the announced attendance was tickets sold or “turnstile clicks”. Unless NFL policy has changed since I last checked, the League allows either.

        1. Being dismissive of a “sub-minimum wage blogger” doesn’t alter photographic evidence, Ben. Eye-witness testimony, however, often turns out to be less than credible.

          1. Apparently, he hand-counted the crowd. And every single picture was taken before the huge throngs showed up?

        2. The announced attendance is ALWAYS considerably higher than real attendance and 60K is what they announced. No way was it “very close” to that number.

    2. If people in LA sit out an NFL game on Sunday either because they caught a college game the day before, decided to stay home and watch another NFL game involving two out-of-town teams or because it was “too hot & sunny,” the Lakers will have nothing to worry about. Shoot, the Chargers couldn’t even sell out a 27,000-seat stadium for preseason games.

      As the Dons/Chargers/Rams/Raiders have learned in the past, having a lot of people in your city doesn’t mean they’ll support your sports team.

    3. If anything could get the NFL to have a west coast post-NBC SNF game, it is more than half-empty stadiums in LA and Santa Clara/San Francisco. Wouldn’t an 8PM west coast time night game make more sense than early season Thursday night games?

      The Lakers have 16 titles and been to the Finals 31 times in a city that loves winners while also marketing themselves and their games in a successful way. It would take the Lakers rebuild to fail in epic fashion and the Rams to start winning a lot for that to change.

      1. A post SNF game would not work for the west coast or either coast. Early game kickoffs on the east are at 1 PM while the late game usually ends at around 7:30 PM. We would need a 7 PM Eastern time kickoff of NBC’s Sunday Night Football to even make a post Sunday Night Football west coast game viable. Those games would end at 1:30 AM on the east coast. Plus, it would be an even worse ending time of 3 AM Eastern if we allow for the traditional SNF starting time of 8:30 PM Eastern.

  2. It’s worse at Levi.


    1. Didn’t see the game, but heard about the empty seats on the radio. It’s worse to see it.

      Ann Killion had some great takes in that article:

      “The answer is far more simple. It’s a bad team, ripped from its historic roots, playing in a flawed building, charging exorbitant prices.”

      “Most of the seats are on the exposed side. And it’s miserable….
      Why is it so bad? Are 49ers fans soft, after years of cool Candlestick Park breezes? Why can’t they enjoy 90-plus degrees the way Packers fans revel in minus-9?

      No one can explain why it’s so terrible, but it is. Seats the color of Red Hots. A steep angle. Unrelenting sun. Glare off the glass tower. No circulation and no shade anywhere.”

      Can’t wait to see the Niners come grovelling/demanding to Santa Clara for $98M worth of sun shades from Amazon. 16′ x 16′ x 16′ versions are going for only $39 with shipping included.

      1. “Why can’t they enjoy 90-plus degrees the way Packers fans revel in minus-9?”

        I’ve done both, would take the latter any day of the week. You can put a jacket, toque, etc on. You can’t escape the sun.

    1. Let’s be respectful. It’s High School Football Stadium. The Chargers had to pay a lot of money to upgrade it from a Soccer Stadium to that.

        1. BTW most of money spent was to upgrade press box & luxury suites.Which apparently wasn’t up to pretentious standards. Also to add seats & concession stands that it turns out they really didn’t need to do. Also much of Spanos money went into expansion of toilet stalls to fit the average NFL fan waistline.

          1. P.S. forgot the luxury parking lot portable bathrooms capable of handling the poop coming out of NFL Meatheads.

  3. I’ve spoken to a few current Rams season ticket holders. Each indicated they have no intention of getting season tickets in Inglewood. They’re getting them for the Coliseum seasons because they’re reasonably priced.

    Still having trouble finding Charger fans in LA.

    1. So why are they buying them now and not using them? Or is it a question of them being so cheap that it’s worth it to buy season tickets even if you only go to half the games?

  4. I never understood why the Rams (or the NFL) thought spending $2 billion on a stadium in LA was a good idea. LA didn’t support the NFL when the teams were good (the Raiders had 8 winning seasons and a Super Bowl title in 13 years in LA). The sports landscape has gotten tougher since 1994 (the Angels went from a joke to a legit team and won a world series, the Ducks and Kings have won the Cup, and the Clippers are legit too). I also don’t get the valuations people are throwing around for the Rams and Chargers. How do you have that high a value if no one is coming to your games?

    1. Not true. The Rams had average-to-great attendance for 45 straight seasons, 1946-1990. It only fell off when the owner tanked the franchise and openly shopped it around to Baltimore, Hartford, St. Louis, etc. to make herself rich off taxpayers. In fact, when the Rams applied to relocate to St. Louis in March 1995, the owners initially voted it down 21-3 (6 abstain), and the Commish specifically cited the “extraordinary” fan support the Rams had enjoyed for nearly 50 years in L.A./Anaheim Only after another month of ugly lawsuit threats and arm-twisting did the NFL relent.

      The Raiders were a different story: They struggled to win over the city despite tremendous on-field success, because of the (deserved) bad rep of the fans and gameday atmosphere at the Coliseum. I can’t think of another franchise in all of sports that could have relocated to L.A. in the early 1980s, had that kind of success, and still have been struggling with support/attendance 10+ years in. Imagine if the Clippers, who moved to L.A. around the same time, had had that kind of success early on. They would have been a legitimate rival to the Lakers instead of a punchline. So don’t confuse Raider issues with LA/NFL issues. Raider issues are Raider issues, and have followed the Raiders from Oakland to L.A., back to Oakland, and to every road game where there are a lot of Raider fans.

      TLDR: Neither the Rams’ nor the Raiders’ experiences in L.A. remotely match the tired, lazy narrative of “LA fans didn’t want/support NFL football”.

      1. Don’t forget the Rams threw in the PSL’s as well as a de facto bribe for the other owners. Money talks, even if it’s short term money. I do agree Mrs Frontiere is largely responsible for the Rams attendance heading down the toilet then. The Raiders never had the hearts and minds of the LA fans and hardly tried. They didn’t have the Coliseum Commission doing them many favors either

        1. And the Coliseum only got a renovation because the LAOOC asked for it. Plus the LAOOC asked the Raiders what they wanted in the stadium, and they said, luxury boxes. Bingo, Luxury boxes in the stadium.

        2. Mrs. Frontiere did very well moving the Rams to STL; she won a Super Bowl and fielded the Greatest Show onTurf. When she died, the team began to lose–and very soon after, they REALLY started losing.

          STL had 96% attendance BEFORE Bidwill threatened to move to AZ. STL supported the football Cardinals despite them making the playoffs 3 times in 30-something years and NEVER winning a single playoff game.

          Rash judgments can be made until you get info from the source. I would never move a team to LA. I would start from scratch. But I’m not a billionaire…who knows how they decide besides $$$$?

  5. I’ll nitpick that the empty seats weren’t evenly distributed; the shady (south) side was much more packed than the sunny (north) side, indicating lots of people moved to better/shadier seats.
    But your theory that it’s no-shows as opposed to unsold tickets is IMO correct. Look at the photo: That section below the Jumbotron (Tunnel 28 to 27, bleacher seats, single-game tickets) is mostly full. The section to the left of it (Tunnel 27 to 26, ) is mostly empty.

    (That photo is an excellent example of “forced perspective”: You can see part of the west end zone in the lower-left foreground, but that tunnel directly above it in the photo (upper left) is Tunnel 25, which is *east* end zone seating. These seats have generally poor sight lines, many are obstructed-view, some are as far as 120 yards behind the east end zone. Worst seats in the stadium known for bad seats.)

  6. It’s all Colin Kaepernick’s fault, of course.

    Just the couple games I’ve seen (TN and Washington) had huge visiting fan numbers/empty seats in a home stadium of a decent team on a nice day on the first game of the year. Not to overgeneralize, but the NFL seems to have a lot of weak demand teams and LA seems to be adding to it. Since a lot of the TV numbers are justified on the “gameday atmosphere” the League probably has an emerging problem.

  7. J.D. Power rates going to NFL game the worst sporting experience in each and every NFL city ! No other league had such consistency.

  8. Which is why the NFL has such poor attendance and few fans…not. That survey was designed to favor smaller sports like soccer. It’s a lot easier to move 15,000 people out when a game is over than it is to move 80,000.

    No, I am not an NFL fan. Or a soccer fan.

    1. So your smarter than the industry respected J.D. Power ! Facts are facts , they surveyed fans and NFL fans were the least satisfied. It’s the reason why the sport is unable to gain traction outside the U.S. It’s part of our culture but in 3 generations it’s on life support.

      1. I hate the NFL and think it’s on an eventual slide to irrelevance, but even I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon, just because it has such a mammoth lead on all the other sports. As one of my friends likes to point out, the most famous professional baseball player right now is Tim Tebow.

      2. They came in last against all other sports in every city surveyed. That in itself makes a statement. Just like 4 dead highschool football players before the season even started makes a statement.

      3. Steven,

        Last I checked, football is popular in Canada, and it is outside the United States. Football is popular in Mexico too. And there are definitely enthusiastic people in Europe that like it–there’s even a European championship game every year.

        Stop it with the silly soccer talk. Soccer is barely popular in China (other than spending a lot on foreign players) and doesn’t register in India at all. That’s over two billion people where soccer doesn’t have “traction” and I don’t think anyone says that’s a knock on soccer.

        1. The CFL is on life support ! The league is a failure in Canada’s biggest city and on decline in both Montreal & Vancouver. The league would have gone under if the NFL hadn’t bailed it out. Saying football is popular in Mexico or Europe is like saying Cricket is popular in the US. What teams there my be are playing at a junior varsity level maybe.

          1. Both India & China have national leagues and the sport is indeed popular in China. As a matter of fact Manchester United is so popular in China that Chevy sponsor their jerseys just to sell cars in that nation.

          2. At least the sport of soccer and it’s high school coaching won’t kill 16 American boys this fall. Just the facts Gbud.

          3. Steven–sensitive much?

            The point is that real fans of sport don’t criticize others’ choices. Many people actually can appreciate that India and Pakistan can care more about cricket than soccer and not get all defensive–or even enjoy the diversity.

            Soccer teams go bust all the time–the CFL bailouts were over a decade ago. check out Mexican NFL TV ratings–sometimes people like a choice or even two things.

          4. Let’s try to keep this from devolving into personal attacks, guys.

            Soccer teams go bust all the time? I can’t think of any since the Florida teams, what was it, 15 years ago? And in Europe it’s pretty much unheard of.

          5. Cricket is huge in India & Pakistan, no kidding ? Football ratings are huge in Mexico, yes but you do know football means soccer in Mexico. The CFL has zero growth potential and old demo’s, it’s just a matter of time. The NFL lies about it’s popularity in other countries almost as much as they lied about the sport causing brain damage !

        2. And last I checked, the NBA is very popular in Asia including China. In fact, the 2008 Olympics had the super hyped game between the United States and China to finish the first Sunday of the Games. And who were the flag bearers at the opening ceremony for both nations. For China it was Yao Ming but I had to look up the US flag bearer and it was Lopez Lomong.

          1. Yes, what’s impressive is the growth in Asia has been organic. Not some marketing scheme by the NBA.

    2. I suspect going to a game is the key word here. Most NFL fans happy to watch on TV, they don’t need to go to the stadium.

    3. Both could easily be true. People like football and the NFL, at least passively. And the in-stadium experience could be awful too–the NFL treats its ticket-buying customers with the kind of gold-plated contempt that usually presages a serious crisis (think the US auto and steel industries of the 1960s).

      Besides stadiums that are ovens, the NFL has the ability to make fans all over the country miserable simply seeing a game in person. From 8PM starts in the north during the depths of winter, to transit-inaccessible stadiums, high prices, distant seats, moving home games to foreign countries, and the just generally over-“serious” and frequently boorish atmosphere of the games…I could do without seeing an NFL game in person ever again. It seems like a lot of people would rather sell tickets on StubHub to fellow casual fans than actually bother with the trouble of going to a game.

      Say what you want about baseball, MLB teams are far more forward leaning in reaching out to the ticket-buyers than any NFL team I’ve encountered.

      1. Yes I agree. I waste 5 hours to watch 11 minutes of action and fat guys blocking my view and acting like idiots.

  9. Probably late to the commenting party here, but I live in LA, and it was hot on Sunday. If the sun is out, day games at the Coliseum are miserable. I went to a USC game there when it was only 80 and baked, vowed to never do it again. You’re basically sitting in a Fresnel Lens.

    That said, very few care about the Rams, and most people give no poos about the Chargers. The only ones who seem to care about the NFL in this town are transplants with Sunday Ticket. Angelenos who care about football are Raiders fans who are probably already planning road trips to Vegas in a couple of years. USC games sell out because of alumni, a good pre-game atmosphere, and night games. I don’t know the last time UCLA was able to sell out the Rose Bowl, and UCLA has a much bigger following than the Rams.

    The whole Chargers thing will be interesting to watch. As someone who thinks Dean Spanos is a good reason to raise the estate tax, it will be fun to watch that cluster unfold.

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