Chargers Add Aspire To Sales Lineup

Group joins Legends to market season tickets, premium seats for two stadiums

  • by Don Muret
  • Published: October 26, 2018

The NFL's Los Angeles Chargers have premium seating to sell at the Inglewood, Calif., stadium where they'll move in 2020. (Courtesy LA Stadium & Entertainment District)

The Los Angeles Chargers, struggling to get a foothold in the country’s second-largest market, have strengthened their ticket sales program. They’re now using multiple agencies to sell season tickets and premium seats across two stadiums, underscoring the team’s critical need to move inventory after relocating from San Diego nearly two years ago.

Legends Global Sales, the company originally hired by the Los Angeles Stadium & Entertainment District, recently signed a deal with The Aspire Group to set appointments for potential suite holders and club seat patrons for the roughly $3 billion NFL stadium in Inglewood.

Both firms are also selling season tickets at StubHub Center, the Chargers’ temporary home for three years before they move to Inglewood in 2020, where they will share the stadium with the Los Angeles Rams.

Legends remains the sales agency of record for the Inglewood project. Rams owner Stan Kroenke is financing construction of the 70,000-seat facility, which is part of a massive mixed-use district spanning 300 acres.

The decision to have The Aspire Group work alongside Legends for Inglewood was most likely driven by the Chargers’ desire to get more prospects in the pipeline faster, sources said, which allows Legends staff to focus on closing sales without having to spend time developing leads.

“It’s not so much strategy as it’s a core value and philosophy,” Todd Poulsen, the Chargers’ vice president of ticket sales and services, wrote in an email. “We want to bring the same high level of customer service at StubHub Center to our new home in Hollywood Park, so we’ve tabbed The Aspire Group to handle the outreach and appointment setting process.”

“Legends is the primary entity responsible for selling season tickets and premium products at the new venue,” Poulsen said.  “This model allows Legends to handle more one-on-one interactions.”

The move comes soon after The Aspire Group, founded in 2008 by sports marketing veteran Bernie Mullin, completed a nine-month contract to sell 2018 season tickets for Chargers home games at StubHub Center. Aspire’s deal at the venue, the home of Major League Soccer’s L.A. Galaxy, was done directly with the Chargers, sources said. AEG runs StubHub Center.

After completing that agreement, The Aspire Group signed a four-month deal with Legends that started in mid-September. Since that time, Aspire has played a supporting role at the L.A. Sports and Entertainment District Premiere Center in Playa Vista, Calif., and at Aspire’s national sales center in Atlanta, its home base. Evan Gates, Aspire’s director of sales at StubHub Center, is heading the firm’s campaign for Inglewood.

The Aspire Group and Legends, which is co-owned by the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees, are technically competitors in the ticket selling space, although Aspire’s core business is in the college market.

In Los Angeles, both agencies face a challenging market for the Chargers as they compete for business against the Rams.

The Chargers are reportedly struggling to sell seats for both the new stadium and StubHub Center. For Inglewood, the Chargers recently announced pricing for 26,000 general seats. Fans can buy seat licenses for $100 tied to seats that cost $50 to $90 a person per game. By comparison, the Chargers’ average single-game ticket price of $199 at 27,000-seat StubHub Center is  the highest in the NFL, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The rock-bottom pricing for Inglewood translates to about $150 million in seat license revenue that the Chargers can generate, down from their initial goal of $400 million, according to multiple published reports. Under terms of their lease agreement with the Rams, that money goes toward stadium construction, sources said, which now leaves a $250 million gap for the Chargers’ share of financing the facility.

“This is a privately financed development and we do not comment on our funding sources,” Rams spokesperson Joanna Hunter said.

The Inglewood stadium, designed by HKS and built by the AECOM Hunt/Turner Construction joint venture, will feature 260 suites and 13,000 club seats. Those numbers stand among the NFL’s highest number of premium seats, along with AT&T Stadium, MetLife Stadium and FedEx Field.

Legends, in addition to selling premium seats in Inglewood, is selling naming rights and sponsorships for the stadium. It’s also filling the role of owner’s representative for the project.

Apart from the Chargers, The Aspire Group sells tickets for the Pro Bowl on behalf of the NFL. The company sells football and basketball season tickets for about 50 universities.

  • by Don Muret
  • Published: October 26, 2018