But the Rams and the Chargers are eager to show you to your seat.
Los Angeles’ two NFL teams will begin selling season ticket memberships for their new stadium for the first time next week. Both will start with only their premium seating [url=http://www.pantherscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-fozzy-whittaker-jersey]Fozzy Whittaker Jersey[/url] , offering an array of privileges and amenities befitting the sizable price tags for the best 13,000-odd seats in what could be the most expensive arena in the world.
With relocation fading into memory after a pair of winning seasons in LA, both franchises are eager to move into the bright future promised by the palatial project rising in Inglewood. The 70,240-seat arena will also host the Super Bowl, the College Football Playoff title game and Olympic events in its first decade of existence after it opens in 2020.
”This has been a long time coming,” said A.G. Spanos, the Chargers’ president of business operations. ”When I was at USC, we were talking about a new stadium in LA back then. This has been a slow pot to boil in Los Angeles, but the future is here. This venue is incredibly exciting.”
In an office building in coastal Playa Vista, the teams will begin showing off the project to their fans on Tuesday, starting with visits from many current season ticket holders for both clubs. The sleek LA Stadium Premiere Center features detailed scale models, video hype reels and a staff with carefully curated sales pitches for the privately financed project spearheaded by Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
”It’s exciting when you fly in and you see the steel coming out of the ground, or when you drive up and you see the stadium starting to take shape,” Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff said. ”And now this is the first chance the fans really get to participate in being part of the stadium and seeing Stan’s vision come to life.”
The Rams and Chargers have also unveiled the first prices for tickets – and the prices for the stadium seat licenses that provide the opportunity to buy tickets.
Instead of selling the now-ubiquitous personal seat licenses, with which fans pay a sometimes-hefty fee for the opportunity to buy their tickets, the Chargers and Rams are selling a similar concept with a similar name, but one big difference: For the first time in NFL stadium history, that money will be returned to the fans – albeit in 50 years.
Instead of the naked cash grab of a PSL, the SSL is essentially an interest-free loan to finance the stadium construction. The structure also allows both the teams and the fans to avoid paying taxes on the licenses.
”We really feel like they are making an investment, and they’re a shareholder in the team and the stadium project,” Demoff said. ”For us, rather than fan money going to taxes, it can go directly to the construction of the building. It builds a better building, and it requires no taxpayer money to do so. It’s a unique concept that we expect will be replicated from here on out.”
The Rams’ stadium seat licenses will begin at $100,000 for the stadium’s 500 ”all-access” seats, located in two sections on either end of the 50-yard line. The Chargers’ SSLs will be $75,000 for the same seats, which include food and beverages, access to clubs, special parking and the guaranteed opportunity to buy tickets to the Super Bowl and every other event controlled by the stadium owners.
Those prices are higher than the most top PSLs for many recent NFL stadiums, but significantly lower than the reported $150,000 charged by the Dallas Cowboys for their top seats at AT&T Stadium [url=http://www.brownsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-baker-mayfield-jersey]Authentic Baker Mayfield Jersey[/url] , which opened in 2009. The 49ers charged $80,000 for the PSLs for the top 1,000 seats at Levis Stadium, which opened in 2014.
The Rams’ remaining SSLs for the premium seats range from $80,000 to $15,000, with most falling in the lower category for club seats. The Chargers’ other SSLs range from $50,000 to $10,000.
The Rams and Chargers are confident the structure will help as they persuade fans to pay for the licenses while knowing they’ll get all the money back in 2068 – or at least their heirs will.
Once the SSL is purchased, the Rams’ tickets for those premium seats are $375 per game, and the Chargers’ are $350.
Both teams obviously will sell the other three-quarters of the stadium at much lower prices, and the ticket prices won’t change during the stadium’s first three years.
”It’s very hard to compete at the highest level if you don’t have a first-class facility, and that’s something that our family has been working toward for a long time,” said John Spanos, the Chargers’ president of football operations. ”We’re excited that it’s here soon.”
Four of the five teams that gave up the fewest points during the regular season are the last four left with a shot at the Super Bowl, something that had never happened since the NFL-AFL merger nearly a half-century ago.
And three of the four toughest to gain yards against are still around, too.
Still think that all a team needs to succeed in the modern game is an elite QB? Go ahead and take a close look at Sunday’s matchups for the conference championship games.
Sure, Tom Brady (assuming his injured right hand is good to go) and the New England Patriots will be playing for the AFC title, just like they always do, but they’ll be going up against Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Over in the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles will send Nick Foles out to face the Minnesota Vikings and Case Keenum, hardly a marquee matchup between quarterbacks, and one set up by injuries to other signal-callers.
What this quartet of teams does have in common is solid defense, showing once again that while everyone is paying so much attention to one side of the ball, it’s the other that might truly matter the most. The more league rules and officiating tend to favor offenses, the more figuring out ways to slow that down is imperative.
”When you have a defense that can shut that type of firepower down,” said Brian Robison, a linebacker on the Vikings defense that ranked No. 1 in yards and points allowed, ”it allows you to win ballgames.”
Minnesota gave up 15.8 points per game. Jacksonville was No. 2 at 16.8, followed by No. 4 Philadelphia’s 18.4 and No. 5 New England’s 18.5.
”There’s teams that have really good defenses that aren’t talked about,” Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy said. ”We’re one of them.”
It’s the first time since the 1970 merger there has been that sort of defensive dominance among the NFL’s final four. The closest was at the end of the 2010 season, when teams that ranked No. 1 (Steelers) [url=http://www.officialcoyotes.com/authentic-adidas-clayton-keller-jersey]http://www.officialcoyotes.com/authentic-adidas-clayton-keller-jersey[/url] , No. 2 (Packers), No. 4 (Bears) and No. 6 (Jets) in points allowed reached the conference title games.
”The most heralded guys on the field are the quarterbacks. So I would say, nine times out of 10, your detail goes into your offensive planning and things like that,” said Jacksonville’s leading tackler, Telvin Smith, who returned a fumble 50 yards for a touchdown last weekend. ”Offense sells tickets, and defense wins championships. I’m happy I’m on the defensive side.”
He is part of a young, talented and speedy D that rose to prominence quickly via a combination of shrewd drafting (linebackers Smith and Myles Jack, defensive ends Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler Jr., cornerback Jalen Ramsey) and free-agent signings that panned out (defensive lineman Calais Campbell, cornerback A.J. Bouye, safeties Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson).
Take a look at the rankings in various regular-season categories related to defense, and you can’t miss the Jaguars. That helps explain how they made it this far with Bortles, whose 84.7 rating ranked 22nd among QBs with at least 100 pass attempts and whose 13 interceptions were exceeded by only six players.
Campbell tied for second in NFL with 14.5 sacks, while Ngakoue added 12 and led the league by forcing six fumbles. Bouye tied for third with six interceptions, while Ramsey, Gipson and Church each had four. As a unit, the Jaguars were No. 2 in yards allowed at 286.1, trailing the No. 1 Vikings (275.9), with the Eagles (306.5) at No. 4. The Jaguars were also second in sacks and total takeaways, while they topped the NFL with seven defensive TDs.
Exceptional defense can carry a team far: In nine of the last 10 seasons, the No. 1 or No. 2 team in points allowed participated in a conference championship game. The exception was 2015, when the Seahawks led the league in that category but lost in the divisional round, and the Bengals ranked second but lost in the wild-card round.
”Now it’s down to, `May the best defense win,”’ Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham said. ”We each get to showcase what we can do.”
AP Sports Writers Dave Campbell in Eden Prairie, Minnesota; Kyle Hightower in Foxborough, Massachusetts; Mark Long in Jacksonville, Florida; and Rob Maaddi in Philadelphia contributed to this report.