The Chargers’ struggle to attract fans in Los Angeles continued to be a source of derision this week when Melvin Gordon referenced the situation during an interview with former NFL cornerback Marcus Cromartie.
“Bro, we didn’t have fans anyway,” Gordon said while laughing. “We didn’t have many Chargers fans at the game. I’m just going to be honest. … Much loyalty, love, but we didn’t have many. So I’m not missing anything.”
After five seasons with the Chargers, Gordon and the team parted ways this offseason. He signed with the AFC West rival Broncos as a free agent in March.
Gordon was among the Chargers who, while trying to remain optimistic, at times expressed frustration with the team’s lagging fan base since relocating from San Diego before the 2017 season.
After playing in Carson for three years, the team is now moving into the new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
The pandemic has notably slowed season ticket sales for 2020. Original projections had the Chargers generating about $400 million in seat licenses. To date, they have sold only about a quarter of that total, according to individuals with knowledge of the situation.
Playing at Dignity Health Sports Park, Chargers’ games often featured thousands of fans from the opposing teams. That situation is expected to continue in Inglewood.
The potential circumstances in 2020, however, would be much different. Rather than playing in front of hostile fans, the Chargers — and every other NFL team because of the COVID-19 pandemic — could be playing in front of no fans.
“I play this game to play football,” Chargers safety Derwin James said. “I started off in the yard. There wasn’t nobody watching me playing growing up. So I just really want to play football, no matter who’s out there watching.”
Added receiver Mike Williams: “It would just be different. I’ve never played with nobody in the stands. At the end of the day, I feel like everything else will be the same. You still gotta play football.”