Shocking. Haven’t we seen this movie before? We know how it ends.
Ever since the NFL left Los Angeles after the 1994 season, the rhetoric has been the same. Pundits around the country wonder how a sports league as popular and as powerful as the NFL could fail to re-insert a team (let alone two) in the second-largest media market.
The NFL is no slouch when it comes to getting things done. Baseball may be America’s pastime, but football is king in the United States.
Shouldn’t it be a relatively easy task to get a team situated in the City of Angels?
Granted, it isn’t just about fan support. There is the issue of building a proper stadium, finding ownership and getting a team. The NFL is not really in a situation where they want to expand right now, and moving teams can get a little messy.
Will the NFL come back to Los Angeles someday? Probably.
Just know that it won’t be because the fans are demanding a franchise. Here are three reasons why football junkies in Southern California are not desperate for a team.
If you have hung out in the Southland, you know that there are some natives. There are longtime Rams fans who can tell you interesting stories about the history of football in Southern California. There are also Raiders fans aplenty, but we will get to that later.
The greater Los Angeles and Orange County area is known for a lot of things. One of those things is relevant to the NFL.
What does Southern California have in abundance? Transplants.
Lions, Bengals and Bears. Oh my. ‘Niners fans here. Chargers fans there. Go to the local sports bar on a Sunday and you will see a wide array of colorful jerseys from around the league: Eagles, Patriots, Dolphins and Packers. All are welcome.
It’s the United Nations of football. Pick a monitor and enjoy the festivities.
With cable television, satellites, subscription packages, laptops, smartphones and tablets, the transplanted fan does not need to switch allegiances and embrace the local team. They can watch their now-distant team throughout the season.
Others stuff to do
Do you know how many other sports there are to follow in Los Angeles? Two professional basketball teams. Two baseball teams. Two hockey teams. A veritable plethora of college sports, including football.
When USC was on their epic run during the Pete Carroll era, you would have thought that there actually was a professional football team in town.
If the sports aren’t burning up the charts, there are other things to do—surfing, skiing, hiking or monitoring celebrities in order to observe their latest questionable act. Fans in Southern California certainly enjoy their sports, but they do not necessarily follow them with the same dedication as other regions of the country.
During the colder months of the NFL season, fans in the midwest and the east huddle together and watch their team play in less-than-ideal weather.
Do you know what people in Southern California can often do in January? Barbecue, without a parka. While watching the Colts play on their tablet.
The other factor to realize is that Raider Nation is alive and well in Los Angeles. The Oakland Raiders packed up and left in 1994, but a strong base of fans remain. Los Angeles is still very much a Raiders town. Plus, it is a short plane ride up to Oakland if fans really want to partake in the live experience.
Why do you need another team in Los Angeles when the Raiders are still in town? Granted, they are not physically in SoCal, but they are there in spirit. Besides, some fans believe that they will eventually return. Stranger things have happened.
The NFL may eventually come back to Los Angeles.
Just don’t be surprised if it takes a few more years. The fans are not clamoring for a new franchise.