Should the NFL think twice before bringing a Team to LA?
When news broke of the Chargers ticket selling woes, in which over 9,000 tickets remained unsold despite their 2-0 record or the matchup with a fellow 2-0 team it got me thinking. It’s common knowledge in sports that the bigger the city the more fairweather the fans, as quasi-stereotypical as that may be it is steeped in the truth. The reasons for that is quite simple, when you live in a city like San Diego where it’s gorgeous weather year round and a 1000 other things to do, the second your local pro sports team starts to slump or becomes stagnant why should people come out to games in droves?
Now, I’m not totally excusing Chargers fans for picking the beach over supporting the Chargers, but does anyone see the Chargers making any significant strides this season? But I digress, this brings me back to the topic of the NFL’s flirtation with moving a team back to LA–sounds sexy on paper, but with situations like the Chargers being unable to generate respectable ticket sales should it give the NFL a red flag? LA is the nation’s second biggest media market, and boasts a population of over 6 million diverse peoples who have dollars to spend on a nice Sunday out watching football. That’s the thought at least in NFL executive’s minds, but it doesn’t play out like that in reality.
The soap opera-esque realitonship between the city of Angels and the NFL is a rocky one which has gone through its ups and downs, but always manages to find a way to come back to issue of building a stadium. Economic reasons being the biggest factor as proposals to get bring in a new arena have been shut down by politicans for more than a decade now. Frankly in all honesty if the citizens of LA truly wanted an NFL team they would’ve fought tooth and nail to see the wheels on any proposals start to move. Simply put, people talk about how great bring a team in is in theory, but the reality of the matter is their not willing to pay to have it happen. Power to the people.
But let’s play devil’s advocate for a minute, let’s say the denizens of LA do act to get the right pieces in place to seriously get talks of a team to LA rolling. Would anyone show up? The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim saw the largest drop off in attendance in all of baseball–down 14% and this comes with the Angels blockbuster acquisition of Albert Pujols, veritable ace CJ Wilson and other key pieces. That’s not even counting the extra empty seats seen at their games due to season ticket holders who are counted as sold tickets that just don’t even bother showing up. Even in the case of LA staple Dodgers folks have not shown up in droves as was predicted would be the case with the McCourts gone.
I’d be remiss to not mention the ice cold reception (no pun intended) the LA Kings received after winning the Stanley Cup. Yes, I know LA isn’t exactly synonymous with Hockey, but it’s a major sport nonetheless and they won a championship. This year’s Stanley Cup Finals between the Kings and Devils was the lowest since 2007–and guess who was in the 2007 Stanley Cup? The Anaheim Ducks. So it’s hard to even label LA fans are just plain ole fair weather when even when they have good–even championship winning teams the response is still underwhelming. You may be tempted to give LA and it’s residents the ‘big city pass’ as I alluded to as the case for Chargers fans picking the beach over an NFL game. Granted Angelinos have quite literally a plethora of other entertaining things to do besides support their sports teams, and I understand that which is just another reason why the NFL should think long and hard before revisiting this idea.
LA and its sports fanbase cannot be simply all lumped together, nor is this a general attack asking LA resisdents to ‘fan up’. I’m just simply making the case that perhaps the status quo is best for now, the NFL surely isn’t losing any sleep without having an LA team, last I checked they’re still making record profits, so why dare toe that line again? LA sports have overgone extensive makeovers with the Dodgers and beloved Lakers (the only team that ‘runs’ LA) making major moves. The time for the NFL to expand into LA has been an already failed experiment and with way other pressing matters in the NFl, e.g: replacement refs, Bountygate and former players suing, they should remain focus on those real issues instead of taking on a gamble when you’re making huge amounts of bank.