We don't need to go into all the speculation as to why the San Diego Chargers have difficult selling out home games. It's pretty simple, actually, and his nothing to do with our sandy beaches. The Chargers don't have enough of a "base" that they can guarantee a sell out for every home game, and that's half because we're a city of transplants and half because the team hasn't had the couple of sustained playoff runs that it takes to make all the fringe fans into season ticket holders. Those things aren't changing for this regular-season so, unless the team goes undefeated for the first half of the season, we can pretty easily figure out which games will sell out and which ones won't.
- Week 3, Atlanta Falcons - The Chargers have conceded this one. Their e-mail to the media says that they expect going to this game will be the only way to watch it in San Diego. They've also started a program where you have to buy a ticket to this game to be able to buy one to the MNF matchup against the Broncos, but that won't boost sales enough to sell 11,000 tickets in the next two days. This one will be blacked out.
- Week 6, Denver Broncos - Monday night games sell out. Games against divisional opponents sell out. Games against Peyton Manning sell out. The fact that the Bolts are only allowing you to buy this ticket if you also buy another ticket means they see the writing on the wall: This is a sure-thing sell out.
- Week 9, Kansas City Chiefs - Thursday night games are always tough, but the NFL Network is pretty good about stepping in and helping if the team sells almost all of the tickets. If the Chargers have a winning record heading into this matchup against a division rival, this should be an easy sell out.
- Week 12, Baltimore Ravens - This should be a sell out for two reasons. One, people love seeing the Baltimore Ravens and Ray Lewis. It's almost always a good game. Two, the Chargers stomping of the Ravens last year was one of the most fun home games to attend. Lots of the people that were there last year will want to see the same matchup this year.
- Week 13, Cincinnati Bengals - Tough game. Bengals lack star power and don't look like they'll be a great team this year. Whether or not this game sells out is almost entirely dependent on if the Chargers are first in their division when it rolls around. Probably a 50/50 chance.
- Week 15, Carolina Panthers - This one seems bad. Not a lot of Carolina transplants in San Diego, and not much of a rivalry despite half of the Carolina coaching staff being comprised of ex-Chargers coaches. Even with a winning record, this one would be a struggle. I'm saying it's blacked out.
- Week 17, Oakland Raiders - Easy sell out, as are all Raider games.
There you have it. Two, maybe three, blackouts this year. That's become pretty standard for the Chargers in this down economy and with Norv Turner (a man that the fringe fans are taught to despise) as the Head Coach. A good record could probably change that, but it would have to be ridiculously good. One-or-less-losses-when-the-game-rolls-around type of good.
There's no need to complain. It really won't change anything. Simply take solace in the fact that, after this blackout against the Falcons, you'll be able to watch the Chargers for 9 consecutive weeks without issue.