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Chargers suddenly get coy about ticket sales

la_g_qualcomm_stadium_b1_300 Getty Images

In recent years, the Chargers routinely sent out emails warning of potential blackouts and identifying the number of non-premium tickets that remain to be sold.  This year, they’re taking a different approach.

There have been no emails regarding the looming blackout of “White Hot Sunday” against the Titans, and the Chargers have not specified the number of tickets remaining.  Instead, a team spokesman said only that the number is somewhere between 2,000 and 10,000, via Scott Bair of the North County Times.

The reasons for the sudden shift in P.R. strategy aren’t clear.  Maybe the Chargers have no intention of buying up the unsold tickets at 34 cents on the dollars, even though the Chargers chose not to reduce their minimum ticket obligation.  If the media doesn’t know the specific number of tickets that remain, there will be no way to calculate with any precision what it would have cost the Chargers to lift the blackout.  Maybe the Chargers plan to write the check, and they simply don’t want to create false urgency for fans to buy tickets when, in the end, the tickets will be bought by the team and/or its sponsors.

Or maybe the Chargers are just fed up with scrambling to fill the stadium.  Which could mean that the Chargers will be at the front of the line to relocate to a new one in L.A.

When Commissioner Roger Goodell hinted earlier this year at the possibility of a team moving to Los Angeles as soon as 2013, we explained that the only team that could comply with the league’s relocation policy so quickly is the Chargers.  With a pair of mayoral candidates who aren’t thrilled about kicking in public money for a new stadium in San Diego, the Chargers could indeed be thinking seriously about taking decisive action — and there’s a chance that the new P.R. approach to unsold tickets flows from an unspoken (for now) desire to load up the truck and move to Beverly.

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36 Responses to “Chargers suddenly get coy about ticket sales”
  1. insanelomein2 says: Sep 13, 2012 10:24 AM

    I place blame on Norv Turner.

  2. trollhammer20 says: Sep 13, 2012 10:24 AM

    After attending the season opener in Phoenix, I have to wonder what constitutes a “sellout”. While it was a good-sized crowd on hand, there were literally thousands of empty seats, including sections of the “club” level that were at 5-10 percent capacity.

    I bought my tickets off Ticketmaster two weeks before kickoff. There was a detailed map of the stadium that allowed me to pick a specific seat. According to that map, and the empty seats I saw in the stands, there were hundreds of tickets that Ticketmaster didn’t sell, and yet the game was announced as a “sellout” over the PA system, and broadcast on local TV.

  3. phoff12 says: Sep 13, 2012 10:25 AM

    The Chargers were to busy sending emails to the Titans fans, they forgot to remind their own fans to buy tickets……

  4. censorshipisbad says: Sep 13, 2012 10:33 AM

    trollhammer20 says:
    Sep 13, 2012 10:24 AM
    After attending the season opener in Phoenix, I have to wonder what constitutes a “sellout”. While it was a good-sized crowd on hand, there were literally thousands of empty seats, including sections of the “club” level that were at 5-10 percent capacity.

    ————————————————–
    This is true in many stadiums (certainly not all).
    The club or premium seats do NOT count towards the sellout.

    Those remaining “regular” seats were probably bough by the team or sponsor and left unfilled.

  5. panamon says: Sep 13, 2012 10:38 AM

    I think it’s pretty obvious they know they have to buy whatever tickets are left. If they gave an amount bigger than ever before when they did so (such as 4k-8k tickets) the fans would realize the threat of a blackout is actually very little. And remember the Bucs took advantage of the lower threshold available and still blacked out, that’s much worse PR for such rich ownership.

    It may sound questionable but it’s a lot better than the Jags blindly saying there will be no blackouts business-wise. If the policy must exist how can you blame the teams for using it as intended to stimulate ticket sales and fill up the stadium?

  6. tfoltz says: Sep 13, 2012 10:59 AM

    If they are doing this to setup a move to LA, then San Diego fans wouldn’t want to go anyway.

  7. boltfan24 says: Sep 13, 2012 11:21 AM

    Give it a rest! If it blacksout then u can write your article and rip the Chargers like u love to do. What a clown.

  8. mnomalley says: Sep 13, 2012 11:25 AM

    A bunch of fair weather fans, a horrible stadium, and a team that doesn’t excite like it used to. Maybe you’ll be able to sell out games in LA.

  9. dannymac17 says: Sep 13, 2012 11:27 AM

    I will be there, I always make the 2 hour trek from LA every opening day for Chargers home games. Considering they are retiring #55 and they HAVEN’T sold out, then I really can’t blame Spanos and the rest of them for considering such a move. The economy is in the crapper, especially in California. They really have tried to get the fans involved, but I really think its too early in the season to start the LA bug.

  10. sourdough says: Sep 13, 2012 11:30 AM

    No NFL team will move to LA because the Relocation Fee alone is ~$600 million & AEG wants a minority interest in the team. The financial numbers don’t pencil out, which is why no team has relocated. What part of that don’t you understand Florio!?!

  11. East Coast Raider says: Sep 13, 2012 11:32 AM

    What I honestly wonder about is what will happen during rebuilding years. It’s going to happen; it happens to every team at some point. Unfortunately for my Raiders, it’s taken a decade or so…

    But seriously, this team isn’t getting much younger. Ingram (one of the few people tough enough to get away with the first name ‘Melvin’) will anchor the defense, but the offense will eventually wear down. If people aren’t filling the place up to see them now, in the prime of this offense, when will they?

    I know there are plenty of games that San Diego sells out. I just think that if they really are having ticket sales issues now, it’s not going to get better as Rivers & Co. get older.

  12. dabears7190 says: Sep 13, 2012 11:33 AM

    Between Norv Turner and AJ Smith still being in San Diego and really strange season ticket packages that force the purchase of preseason games at regular game pricing, it’s not the fans who are to blame for empty seats in San Diego.

  13. manwhorzzz says: Sep 13, 2012 11:44 AM

    who writes this garbage? everytime you have a chargers article on the blackouts you mention LA. But you fail to mention that both LA Stadium sites want partial ownership of the team. you think the spanos’ family is going to give away part of there share just to move to LA? no way jose.

  14. oside760 says: Sep 13, 2012 11:58 AM

    please leave SD. we don’t want losers here anymore

  15. 303bengalguy says: Sep 13, 2012 11:59 AM

    I drove thru SoCal last week and passed Qualcomm for the first time. Granted, it was just passing by it on the highway, but it seems like where it’s at, is kinda disconnected from “true” San Diego, at least the heart of downtown… Kind of seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere…. not toooo far away, but not necessarily “in” San Diego.

  16. dougydougdoug says: Sep 13, 2012 12:03 PM

    The NFL is also on record as saying it has no intention of moving an existing team to LA. Their goal is to expand with two new teams (one AFC, one NFC) in LA.

    Also, the notion that you’re going to get an NFL team to play for a year or two in either the Rose Bowl or the Colosseum is preposterous. There are reasons that no NFL team has played in those locations for over a decade. Too many conflicting interests, and too much municipal oversight in both the two cities.

    Finally, it’s without a single bit of logic that Spanos stands to gain a single thing by ruining the team in SD, if he wishes to move to LA. One thing doesn’t have any value to the other.

  17. dougydougdoug says: Sep 13, 2012 12:10 PM

    303bengalguy:

    Actually, the Murph is perfectly centrally located in the county. You were just passing through, so you probably don’t realize that there is a huge core of the county populace east of there, as well as south and north. It’s a convenient spot where multiple freeways intersect, and major secondary roads route through. Also, there is a fantastic trolly line right into the stadium, which connects with downtown, and the east corridor of the city.

    Conversely, a downtown location limits the traction they hold on many residents. Such is already evident with the Padres downtown location. Bad team not withstanding, even when they had a playoff caliber franchise, attendance immediately suffered once they left Mission Valley.

    Downtown stadiums are pretty, and make great TV aerials on game day, but they’re not always ideal locations for all cities. There is a large percentage of residents in San Diego county who literally abhor downtown, and avoid going there.

  18. villa41 says: Sep 13, 2012 12:13 PM

    What will happen during the rebuilding years? This team is already rebuilding. The Dolts have year after year declined since Marty S. left town as head coach. Now, the team is just one (not the leader) of the AFC West pack. The Raiders had this team dead to rights on Monday night, hit them in the mouth, controlled the line of scrimmage, and outgained them by almost 100 yards. The horrible ST follies doomed Oakland, though.

    The point is Dolt fans aren’t hardcore football fams to begin with. They wouldn’t know cover 1 from cover 3. Without a front running team what do you think is going to happen? No interest, apathy, and no people in the stands that’s what.

  19. thesmartestmanever says: Sep 13, 2012 12:18 PM

    Norv Turner will be in Dallas next season as the latest in a long line of Jerry Jones sock puppets, so keep the faith Charger nation better days are coming

  20. 1phd says: Sep 13, 2012 12:23 PM

    Poor Chargers! The more money they have to sppend for unsold tickets, the less the Spanos family has to support right wing candidates for office. Hand me a handkerchief.

  21. bdickey33 says: Sep 13, 2012 12:37 PM

    manwhorzzz says:
    Sep 13, 2012 11:44 AM
    who writes this garbage? everytime you have a chargers article on the blackouts you mention LA. But you fail to mention that both LA Stadium sites want partial ownership of the team. you think the spanos’ family is going to give away part of there share just to move to LA? no way jose.

    ——————————–

    I’m sure they have a pretty good business sense. Would you rather have 100% of 30 million or 80% of 100 million? It won’t take much to get them to change their minds on that one.

  22. mhalt99 says: Sep 13, 2012 12:49 PM

    303bengalguy says:

    Have you been to Texas to see the Arlington Cowboys or to beautiful New Jersey to see the Secaucus Giants or the Newark Jets?

    ……just wait till you have the Bakersfield Chargers…er make that City of Industry Chargers that host empty games Sundays as nobody wants to deal with the traffic and the locals have two “professional” football teams that play on Saturdays while the rest of the transplants root for their home teams across the country.

  23. dougydougdoug says: Sep 13, 2012 1:06 PM

    House41:

    First. The Raiders never had the Chargers “dead to rights” as you say. The special teams implosion simply magnified Oakland’s deficiencies. But as has been stated before. The ST issues occurred when the team was already stopped, and punting. Rivers was sacked once, and neither he nor the team ever turned the ball over. You’re simply off base.

    As for the fanbase. San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities in the country, and is a true composite of people from all over the country, and world. By that very nature, it has lifelong residents who are still fans of the sports teams of their youth. That will never change.

    Raiders fans are loyal, for the sole reason that the team appeals to some two of the worst inner-city environments in the entire country. Oakland is a lifeless hole of bleakness, out-shined in ever way by the culture and desirability of San Francisco.
    People don’t move to the east bay. They’re born to that mess, just as they are in south central LA. It’s the same kind of loyalty you find in other undesirable cities like Buffalo. Those fans are loyal, because they have nothing else to strive for in their little lives.

    San Diego residents simply have more to live for, and much more to occupy their time, than the vast majority of Raiders’ fans – both in Oakland and in the poor parts of Los Angeles.

  24. eyeland2 says: Sep 13, 2012 1:16 PM

    Who cares where they play as long as they stay classy?

  25. nflhof says: Sep 13, 2012 1:27 PM

    Uncle Mikey tell us more stories about the Chargers and how much you hate them. Tell us why the Chargers should do things the way you think? Tell us how you would do it. Oh wait your just a member of the media who has zero stake in anything the Chargers or any team in the NFL do. Please stop pretending that your opinion is the shiznit.

  26. ttgb2 says: Sep 13, 2012 1:27 PM

    Assuming 8000 tickets at an average of $200 each, at $0.34/dollar, the team would be out $544,000 to air the game.

    To put that in context, that would be enough to fully pay the salary of a Rookie, 1st, or 2nd year player earning the league minimum this year.

    Want to know what I think these teams should do?

    LOWER TICKET PRICES.

    If it’s $20 to see a game, you’re going to sell out. Especially if it’s like $5 to park and $4 per beer.

    And if by some twist you don’t sell out, buying the tickets back is a lot easier… $54,400 in the above example, or, roughly how much some NFL owner spends on space pens each year.

  27. manwhorzzz says: Sep 13, 2012 1:37 PM

    dabears all season tix pacakges make you buy the preaseason too. every nfl team does that.

    lildickey- your logic makes great sense if those were the actual percentages and numbers?

    if the chargers were only worth $30Mill then i would try to buy them. but thats not the case obviously. The LA groups own the land, own the stadiums, and want partial ownership of a relocation team, and full of a new franchise.

    Why would spanos give away all that when he can use LA as leverage with the city here to get a new stadium? you said it your self he is a good business man.

    Also, can someone tell me how the damn padres got a stadium but we cant tear down and build a new Qualcomm/Murphy!

  28. sourdough says: Sep 13, 2012 1:42 PM

    @villa41 Three things to chew on my friend.

    1) Over 60% of the Raiders home games have been blacked out since they moved back to Oakland from LA in ’95.

    2) Chargers win, Raiders lose. “Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and *uck the prom queen.” – Sean Connery in The Rock

    3) Only seven (7) more losses this season and the Raiders reach ten (10) consecutive seasons w.o a winning record.

    Just lose, baby!

  29. alonestartexan says: Sep 13, 2012 1:44 PM

    sourdough says:
    Sep 13, 2012 11:30 AM
    No NFL team will move to LA because the Relocation Fee alone is ~$600 million & AEG wants a minority interest in the team. The financial numbers don’t pencil out, which is why no team has relocated. What part of that don’t you understand Florio!?!
    ———–

    This isn’t 100% true, I’m sure the Chargers could move up the road with a reduced relocation fee, and AEG wants a minority interest in a team for them to kick in money for a stadium by Staples Center.. there’s also another stadium plan in the works in Industry.. Keep the faith Sourdough !

  30. sdanation says: Sep 13, 2012 1:50 PM

    Villa,

    Man are you the definition of a delusional homer. First, are you serious? Dead to rights?! Your team scored 6 points through 3 quarters. Had and impressive 45 yds on 20 carries from the mighty DMC and recorded 1 sack, a coverage sack at that and zero turnovers. You had 100 more yds because of the garbage time drive when the chargers were in soft prevent D and because of dumb penalties the chargers pulled. The chargers on the other hand had 3 sacks from one player, shut down your vaunted run game and had one forced turnover. And the Raiders had the Chargers dead to rights?! Granted yeah the Chargers got some gift wrapped points from your long snapper but they were fully in control of that game and came to your house and won! Child please!

  31. National Fanatic says: Sep 13, 2012 1:54 PM

    Venue is a serious factor. Qualcomm Stadium looks more like a concrete prison vs. NEW stadiums (that look more like MALLS or HOTELS). SD needs a NEW stadium do draw in more people…

    Yet, I moved away from SD 4 years ago, so I don’t care if they move to LA (a I’ll be a fan if they’re the Bakersfiled Chargers or Alaska). LOYAL CHARGERS FAN!

  32. National Fanatic says: Sep 13, 2012 1:54 PM

    Venue is a serious factor. Qualcomm Stadium looks more like a concrete prison vs. NEW stadiums (that look more like MALLS or HOTELS). SD needs a NEW stadium do draw in more people…

    Yet, I moved away from SD 4 years ago, so I don’t care if they move to LA (a I’ll be a fan if they’re the Bakersfield Chargers or Alaska). LOYAL CHARGERS FAN!

  33. socalraider909 says: Sep 13, 2012 1:56 PM

    Just move already whenever I drive down to San Diego I see nothing but Raider Fans as it is but then again its the same way with L.A nothing but Raider Fans so the Chargers are screwed either way

  34. pondbridge says: Sep 13, 2012 2:06 PM

    With the Niners going solo on a Bay Area mega-stadium, the race is on between the Jags, the Bolts and the Raid Duhs to end up in LA. Like kiddies playing musical chairs, all three are cautious, as no one wants to be viewed as the bad guy.

    So what happens? Rams and Raiders return to LA in shared stadium, Jags to St. Louis,

  35. dougydougdoug says: Sep 13, 2012 2:06 PM

    socalraider909:

    You’ll only see Raiders’ fans in the poor parts of LA and Long Beach. No where else. You’ll see a few in scattered regions of San Diego, again, because San Diego is a vastly nicer area of Southern California, and anyone would rather live there than the crap pits where the vast majority of Raiders’ fans live.

    But being on the road in SD, often, I say you’re full of BS. I see twenty cars with lighting bolts for every broken down Chevy with that ridiculous little pirate face greased onto the rear window. And Bud Light stickers on the fenders. And some pathetic “R.I.P.” vinyl remembrance for someone who didn’t make it back over the border.

  36. sdanation says: Sep 13, 2012 2:35 PM

    The question really for Florio is what does not selling out a stadium on Sunday have to do with the product on the field? Is it just to antagonize the fans of those cities? Do you dislike these teams? Every week you report of some threatened blackout as if fans of the NFL truly care. And instead of reporting fact, you present conjecture and hyperbole in order to get reaction. Florio, ask your self this since you are very knowledgeable in the business aspect of football, why would an owner of a multi million dollar organization give up any control of their team for a short term solution when the projected profits for owners in the next 10 years is in the billions? And why would an owner agree to move to LA where the NFL has failed twice before? What makes this time different? LA doesn’t even support the Lakers if they lose 3 games in a row. The Chargers organization and Dean Spanos have repeatably stated that they are not going to move to LA and have spent upwards of $10 million to stay in SD. Why invest that much if your just going to throw it away? I’m sure Dean just loves to throw away millions of dollars! Please report both side fairly unless AEG is handing you checks to push stories for their cause…

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