NOTE: SoFi Stadium, the Chargers’ new home in LA, wasn’t open to the general public for the 2020 season. Once it opens to full capacity, I intend to make a visit and offer a review. Until then, to ensure all teams have representation, I still include this review of Dignity Health Sports Park. Hopefully, COVID goes away and I’ll be able to update this soon.
DIGNITY HEALTH SPORTS PARK
STADIUM DUDE’S NFL STADIUM RANK: #18
- Location: Carson, CA
- Opened 2003; Retired for NFL football 2019
- Capacity: 30,000
- Football Weather Misery Index: 17.0 (The best of the 23 outdoor venues)
- Games attended: 1
- Last visited: 2019
This was a pleasant surprise. I expected this to feel much weirder than it was; instead it kind of made me wish all NFL stadiums were this tiny.
The Chargers regrettably left San Diego after not being able to get the public funding needed for a new stadium. Instead they decided to become the 12th most popular team in LA (after the Lakers, Dodgers, Angels, Rams, Clippers, USC Trojans, Kings, Ducks, LA Galaxy, UCLA Bruins, and LAFC). Los Angeles greeted them with all the enthusiasm of one awaiting a proctologist visit, and San Diego disowned them for leaving. As such, it’s a team without a fanbase.
Ownership tried to grow its LA cred by moving to a small soccer stadium until their new stadium is built. Alas, the Chargers struggled to sell out even this tiny venue, and the majority of fans cheered for the visiting team.
It was a cool place to watch a game. Like watching U2 play at a House of Blues, you got a big league product in an intimate space. But the cool came at a price. Tickets were well above average, good craft beers were $17, and parking was exorbitant.
The park itself was quite nice: many of the seats were protected from the SoCal sun thanks to large shade canopies, the videoboards were solid, the seats themselves were comfy, and the concourses were wide and filled with nice choices. Lines for food, beer and washroom breaks always moved because crowds were half the size. Traffic in and (especially) out was a lot easier to deal with given the smaller crowd. And every seat was close. It felt like a modern NFL stadium but with only the lower bowl.
We may never see something like this again. I’m glad I had a chance to experience it.