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Economic benefits of NFL stadium boom are ‘vastly overblown’

September 22
14:04 2017

Perhaps you saw the many mocking social media posts last weekend pointing out the rows and rows of empty seats at the LA Rams and LA Chargers games in Week 2 of the NFL season. Both teams are playing in temporary homes — the Rams in LA Coliseum, a college stadium, and the Chargers in StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., a soccer stadium — until they move into LA Stadium at Hollywood Park, projected to open up in 2020 and cost $2.6 billion.

The Chargers got 25,381 fans at a stadium that holds 27,000, while the Rams only attracted 56,612 to a stadium that holds more than 90,000. As many stories pointed out, the two NFL games combined had a smaller in-person audience than the USC vs. Texas college football game Saturday night at the Coliseum, attended by 85,000 people. (The empty NFL seats were “not a great look,” the AP wrote.)

The reasonable conclusion from the low turnout might be that LA doesn’t have enough NFL fans to support two new teams. And that, in turn, may look like a reminder of how outrageous the trend is of teams relocating and building $2 billion-plus stadiums, and, often, obtaining public money to help build them.

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