“Thursday Night Football” gave football fans something of a surprise as the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium in a barn-burner of a football game, ending with an enthralling fourth quarter by the Niners before falling just short of completing the comeback.
The 41-39 Rams victory was a shootout, and some of the most exciting “Thursday Night Football” fans had seen in recent memory, featuring a successful onside kick attempt, late turnovers, and a backdoor cover that sent gamblers home elated or furious depending on what side of the bet they had.
There was even an uptick in television viewership!
But the game also served as a reminder of one of the NFL’s recent woes: poor attendance.
Shots around the stadium, like the one you see above, made clear that attendance was dismal for the primetime game. Despite claims that attendance was over 70,000, anyone with eyes could see that the stadium was largely empty, with even the best seats of the lower bowl sometimes left untaken.
As SFGate noted, tickets were available on secondary markets for just $US14, or cheaper than the price of a beer and a hot dog inside the stadium, and still few people found the time to support the Niners in person.
People across the internet took notice, inspiring headlines including “The 49ers and Rams Played a Great Game In Front Of An Empty Stadium” at The Big Lead and “It Appears Not Many People are Physically at the Rams-49ers Thursday Night Game” from Sports Illustrated. Additionally, Twitter was quick point out the empty stadium seats, sharing images of the empty stadium all far and wide.
The Niners aren’t the only team struggling to get fans into their stadium on gameday. Their opponents on Thursday, the Los Angeles Rams, have also started the season in an empty home.
Playing the the storied Los Angeles Coliseum, the Rams opened their season in front of roughly 25,000 people in a stadium that can hold almost four times that. Additionally, Los Angeles’ newest team in town, the Chargers, have seen visibly poor attendance despite playing their season in a converted soccer stadium that can only hold 27,000 fans.
In fact, last weekend both Los Angeles teams hosted NFL games, and their ticket sales combined didn’t reach the number that USC and Texas drew to the Coliseum on Saturday night.
After years of fighting to bring one, and now two teams to Los Angeles, the NFL and both the Chargers and the Rams are going to have to figure out a way to start generating interest in the teams.
As for the Niners, they don’t have another home game until October 22 when the Dallas Cowboys come to town. Thankfully, it’s not a nationally televised primetime game like Thursday’s matchup against the Rams, so if attendance is low once again, at least less people will see it.
At Levi’s Stadium for @49ers vs Rams game I found cobwebs in my row. #cheapseats #signofthetimes #GoNiners #49erFaithful pic.twitter.com/NCnOtdUZ1k
— Michael Peredo (@MichaelPeredo) September 21, 2017