Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Chargers provided fans with a glimpse of the StubHub Center, their new temporary home.
After moving from San Diego earlier this year, the Chargers are utilizing the StubHub Center in Carson–home to MLS’ LA Galaxy–on an interim basis until their new stadium that will be shared with the Los Angeles Rams opens in 2020. The move is notable in several respects, including the configuration of the StubHub Center.
Since it primarily serves an MLS franchise, the StubHub Center is much smaller in terms of seating capacity than the typical NFL stadium. The close confines could make for a unique atmosphere at home games, something the Chargers and their fans previewed on Saturday, when the team opened the StubHub Center’s lower level for a joint practice with the Rams. Though the Chargers estimated an attendance of 8,000, the event did build some anticipation for what the atmosphere will be like when the season rolls around. More from The Los Angeles Times:
“I walked out and saw the place and said, `This is pretty cool,’ ” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “It was good energy today. I can only imagine when it’s packed.”
It is a bizarre experiment, NFL games in a 27,000-seat venue, one less than half the size of every other stadium in the league. The Chargers will play here for three seasons while Rams owner Stan Kroenke is constructing his $2.6-billion palace in Inglewood.
With the nation’s No. 1 sports league competing against the couch — fans are increasingly fond of staying home to watch games on TV — it will be fascinating to see whether the intimate feel of StubHub causes a ripple effect around the NFL.
“This feels more like a college stadium,” said former NFL linebacker Kirk Morrison, now an ESPN analyst. “It feels like the fans are really holding your hand if you’re the home team. You’re going to be able to feel that. At the same time, if you’re playing poorly, you’re going to be able to feel that as well.”
It will not be much longer until the StubHub Center is put to use for more meaningful NFL games. The Chargers’ first preseason game at the facility is scheduled for August 13, while their regular season home opener is slated for September 17.
Image courtesy Los Angeles Chargers.