If you have read my previous article, you may remember my odyssey in trying to take some meaningful photographs of my beloved Charger Girls. You see, the Chargers changed their camera policy this year to a much more restrictive policy, but failed to inform the ticket buying public of these changes. Thus began a series of events, which would be worthy of a Greek comedy.
Now, I am a law and order type of guy. I believe in complying with the rules and regulations. I am not anti-authoritarian by any means and I don’t believe it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission. I want to abide by the rules. But the problem was, how can one comply with the current rules and regulations when they are not published anywhere, when the organization (The Chargers) publishes conflicting and out of date information.
That was the Catch-22 circumstance that I faced the last two preseason games (you can read more about it here). After a lengthy discussion with the manager of guest services, my legitimate question of what constitutes acceptable photographic equipment in some small part forced the organization to revise and publish online a new set of guidelines, just in time for the first home game.
Well, now that a more descriptive policy was defined and let known to the public, I purchased some new equipment to comply with the new policy, which I must say is amongst the most restrictive and anti-fan friendly in the NFL.
In a letter of complaint to Dean Spanos, the President of the Chargers, I reminded him of a Los Angeles Times article which noted that the average attendance to NFL games was down for a third consecutive year and that a few NFL clubs, such as the Dallas Cowboys, were actively trying to create a more fan friendly environment to increase attendance in a down market. I guess high ticket prices and consumer acceptance of HD televisions is cutting into the bottom line of NFL teams.
Now, that makes sense…that is to try to make a fan’s experience at an NFL game more enjoyable…perhaps in the hopes that fans will let other people know of their enjoyable experience so that that excitement might generate even more interest in attending a game. Gee, you think sharing photos of your game day experience with family and friends might be a good idea?
There is a lesson to be learned for NFL team owners and that is, if you make it less enjoyable for ticket buying fans to come to your venue, less people will come out and spend money in support of your team. In a down economy, the Chargers should be reaching out to fans to ask them what they want in an experience that entices them to support the team with their dollars. If I was the Spanos family, I would be asking my season ticket holders what value can we add, so that I, as a fan, renew my season tickets and encourage others to buy. Going to an NFL game is a luxury, not a necessity.
And if my point is falling of deaf ears, the Chargers failed to sell out Qualcomm stadium for first time in years and the game was blacked out locally. There were thousands of empty seats, but those in attendance were very loud as the Chargers mauled the Jacksonville Jaguars, 38 – 13.
So, where did my odyssey take me? I bought some new equipment to be in compliance with the Chargers new restrictive, non-fan friendly policy. I am an experienced photographer and I can adjust to the changing dynamic to get the goods. It just makes it more difficult and more time consuming to get the same type of results. There’s always a little learning curve with new equipment and I had to replace my old CRT monitor, so the color balance of these images is still in a work in progress as I try to calibrate my new LCD monitor.
So with new camera equipment in hand, let me introduce you to the 2010 Charger Girls, one of the more compelling reasons to attend a Chargers game.
As is customary, let’s begin our coverage with the Line Captains: Michelle, Katie, Giselle, and Ashlie.
This week’s Charger Girl of the Day has always been a very remarkable Charger Girl. A former NBA cheerleader and a striking Marilyn Monroe look alike, this week’s GGOTD is Katie, a two year veteran and first year Line Captain.
Okay, let’s continue our coverage of absolutely….gorgeous (thought I was going to say “fabulous”, didn’t you!) Charger Girls with a few photos of Amanda, Brianna, Anjelica, Courtney, Emily, Hayley, Kimberly, and Marisa.
Our coverage continues with Starkesha, Stephanie, Nicole, Natalie, Maria, Lauren P., Emma, Jessie and their admirers.
And we conclude this week’s coverage with a few images of Amy, Culture, Hannah, Kylie, Melissa, and sisters Jennifer and Lauren O.
I don’t know where this photographic odyssey will take me. I hope the Chargers organization reconsiders their new camera policy and realizes that when people like me, share our photographs of our game day experiences, that it is all good. It creates excitement and interest and may even persuade a few people to buy a ticket or two to a game.
In this economy, companies cannot afford to implement policies that alienate their customers. Just ask the McCourts.