College Professional Sports

SPORTS DIGEST: USC outdraws Rams and Chargers combined

At least the Trojans won.

It wasn’t much of a weekend for local football fans. With both the Chargers and Rams playing at home Sept. 17, we showed the world how much we missed the NFL in the 21 years it was gone: not much.

At the Coliseum, 56,612 fans showed up to see the Rams look like last year’s team in a 27-20 loss to Washington.

A few miles to the south, the Chargers again missed a last-second field goal and lost to the Miami Dolphins, 19-17. Only 25,381 fans managed to make it to StubHub Center in Carson for the game. Many of those who did complained about paying $100 to park their car.

The 81,993 the Chargers and Rams drew combined paled in comparison to the 84,714 fans the USC Trojans drew in a 27-24 double overtime thriller against Texas.

That shouldn’t be a big surprise. This has been a USC town football wise since Pete Carroll revived the program 15 years ago. The Trojans are a top-five program nationally, they were playing Texas for the first time since the 2006 Rose Bowl and were coming off what seemed like a big win over Stanford, until Stanford lost to San Diego State later that night.

Texas brought a loud contingent of fans to help pad that 84,714 attendance, but if you paid attention to the Rams and Chargers games on television the next day, the Dolphins and Redskins had their share of fans at the StubHub Center and Coliseum, respectively.

Many Rams fans that I know have purchased season seats the past two seasons just to be in line for season tickets when the new stadium in Inglewood opens in 2020. They put their tickets up for resale, hoping to get some return on their investment while hoping to get good seats in the Inglewood stadium that they will also try to resale once the opportunity arises.

That is a reality the NFL will have to face in a few years. Game tickets are too expensive for a family outing, especially when you add a $100 parking charge. It’s cheaper and more relaxing to watch the game at home or the closest sports bar. No long lines at the bathroom and $15 will get you a pitcher, not a glass, of beer.

The Chargers better figure out how to win a game in the fourth quarter or they soon will be drawing crowds like the old Los Angeles Express did in the days of the United States Football League. Crowds got so small for the Express that they played their last home game at Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley.

The Chargers and Rams both have home games on the same Sunday only once more this season, on New Year’s Eve when the Rams host the 49ers and the Chargers host the Raiders. Expect Raiders’ fans to outnumber Chargers’ fans that day.