The Chargers' attendance issues are legendary. The weather's too nice. The stadium's too old. Norv Turner's just going to do something stupid and they're going to crash out just shy of the playoffs again. There are all sorts of reasons why Qualcomm doesn't fill up. Failing to adequately advertise to fans of the other team isn't going to be one of them, not anymore.
The Chargers-Chiefs rivalry goes back a long way, but isn't as heated as some of those other AFC West pairings. Last year's matchup in San Diego, in just the third week of the season, was played in front of 62,00 people—8,000 shy of a capacity crowd. This year's edition is a Thursday night game, which can be attendance poison.
To head off embarrassment, yesterday the Chargers sent out an email blast to a number of Chiefs blogs, including Arrowhead Addict. This was the personalized invitation senior editor Patrick Allen received from a Chargers ticket rep:
It's the typical group plan offer, and though it reeks of desperation, by this point the Chargers would be negligent in not targeting fans of the opposing team. Chiefs fans' money is just as green as anyone else's, and if Chargers fans are concerned about being shouted down in their own stadium? Well, buy more tickets.
Let's say it doesn't work. Let's say not enough thousands of Chief fans hop on I-70 for a long-ass drive, and the game isn't close to being sold out. What would that mean for Chargers fans? I've got good news and bad news, and good news and bad news. The good news is, the NFL is giving teams the option of relaxing blackout restrictions, setting a new 85 percent minimum capacity. The bad news is, the Chargers aren't going to exercise that option. The good news is, that Chiefs game will be on NFL Network, so with any cable game, it'll be shown on local TV no matter the attendance, so Chargers fans will be able to watch the game. With the Chargers seemingly on the downswing, that might also be bad news.