The Chargers gave out free tattoos on Tuesday at Shamrock Social Club on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. You are forgiven if your first thought was something on the order of Oh, right, the Chargers play in L.A. now. Except they don’t. Not really. Not if we’re being honest about the geography. The Chargers play in Carson, which can be charitably described as L.A. adjacent. Carson is 17.5 miles south of Los Angeles. So, with traffic, the Chargers might as well play on the moon.
As the Rams learned last season, it’s tough to get Angelenos to care about stuff. If there was any buzz a year ago about the first team to return to Los Angeles, it died out before anyone around here seemed to notice. Going 4-12 has a dampening effect on enthusiasm. In fairness, the Rams were fourth in total attendance a year ago, but they also relocated to the second-biggest city in the country and played home games in a stadium big enough to accommodate all of Santa Monica . Everything is relative.
Being the second team to colonize the market can’t be easy—as evidenced by the meager turnout for the Chargers’ first preseason game at StubHub Center. Even considering the sunny reaction by The Ringer ’s most optimistic staffer, the scene probably wasn’t what the team or the fans hoped for when the Chargers hosted the Seahawks.
On some level, the lack of local enthusiasm had to be expected. Los Angeles went from no NFL teams to two teams in a blink, which is a lot to ask of a city with countless distractions and wonderful weather. Not to mention that the (RIP) San Diego Chargers had a nice, if not exactly storied, history and a nice, if not exactly frenzied, fan base. (The Chargers were last in total attendance last year.) When Dean Spanos uprooted them from laid-back sunny Southern California and moved them to slightly less laid-back, slightly farther north […]