Rams aim for attendance of about 70,000 and improved fan experience at Coliseum

Rams fans fill the stands of the Coliseum on Sept. 18 before their team’s home opener against the Seahawks.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

New Rams coach Sean McVay recently visited the Coliseum for the first time and was struck by the history.

“You can feel the energy here,” he said.

The buzz was in evidence last season when the Rams drew more than 90,000 fans for their first preseason game and first regular-season game.

Crowds thinned considerably as what turned into a 4-12 campaign wore on.


McVay, new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and several other offseason personnel additions are expected to help the Rams improve their entertainment value, if not their record, in their second year back in Los Angeles.

But if all goes to plan, team officials said, overly large crowds will not be an issue.

The Rams say that to improve the fan experience, they are planning to make available about 70,000 tickets for home games, about 10,000 fewer than last season.

“Around 70,000 is that real optimal operating capacity to where you can deliver a great football experience but also deliver a great fan experience,” Jake Bye, the Rams’ vice president of consumer sales and marketing, said Monday after the team announced a public season-ticket sale.

Bye said feedback from fans, and information gained in conversations with representatives from USC — which operates the Coliseum — should result in improvements in parking, entrance and movement about the stadium and concessions.

“We want to deliver the best experience we can,” Bye said, “and that doesn’t always mean putting as many people in the building as you can.”

Byer said the team has the “flexibility to go beyond” its plan on a “case-by-case basis” such as a playoff push or when the Rams are playing a popular opponent.

The Coliseum’s capacity will be reduced this season by the addition of two video boards at the peristyle end of the stadium. The venue is due to undergo a major renovation at the end of the season.

The Rams last season said they had sold 70,000 season tickets.

But the clamor to see the NFL’s return to Southern California for the first time in more than two decades faded as the Rams lost 11 of their final 12 games, including six at home.

Bye and other Rams officials would not disclose how many season-ticket holders did not renew.

“There was some normal attrition to be expected after the performance of the team on the field, which certainly wasn’t what we expected,” Bye said.

But Bye said some attrition came from season-ticket holders who chose to renew but at fewer than the maximum eight tickets they purchased in 2016.

In April, the Rams announced that they were making season tickets available to those on the waiting list. On Monday, they announced a public sale through their website.

Season-ticket prices remain the same, Bye said. Last year, packages ranged from $360 to $2,025.

Fans can pay half the price upon purchase and the remaining half the next month.

In addition, the Rams are offering single-game group sales.

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein