The Oscars are this weekend, which means, once again, that all eyes turn to LA. It’s the undisputed capital of the entertainment industry, but it’s got a checkered past as a sports town. Those two facts are probably not a coincidence. LA is a big city with great weather and a lot going on. But does that make it more likely they could support a Los Angeles NFL team? A Los Angeles NFL team has came and went on several occasions, and while they haven’t been able to keep a team, it’s not like the teams went down in flames.
So does LA deserve an NFL team? Eh, it’s complicated. So let’s split up our discussion into 5 reasons for LA getting an NFL team and 4 reasons against it.
(Full disclosure: The author lives in LA and wants a Los Angeles NFL team so he can stop rooting for a team owned by Jerry Jones.)
Honestly, I think this could be reasons 5-1 and it would make for a pretty compelling argument. It’s not a romantic reason, but eff that. The NFL would sell a LOT of merchandise, and likely get even more people in the area to care about football. I also have a hard time believing, after almost 20 years without a team, that LA fans wouldn’t hang on to a team with a new identity like grim death. No LA Chargers, no LA Jaguars. A new team that the city can feel is their own.
5. Pro – It’s the Second Largest Market in the US
Sure, the nation goes crazy for the quaint small market teams, playing in subzero temperatures against another small market team. But there’s something to be said for perfect weather and a bit of the LA vibe for both the players and the fans. USC always overachieves in its recruiting because LA is a big magnet for star athletes. I think a team here would hit the ground running. And if they wanted to show us Jack Nicholson sleeping in the stands, would anyone complain?
4. Pro – The NFL Could Use a Little LA
Everyone can probably agree that LA only needs one team at the moment. Sure, people are talking about getting two teams to LA, but those people are morons. There hasn’t been a team here in forever. Let’s just worry about one. Two teams is too much for all but one market in the US. I don’t really count the Raiders because the Raiders are just a national beacon for terrible fans everywhere. Let’s imagine the Raiders more as a lightning rod than a team. Two teams split the fan base, and fail to create a unifying cause for what’s historically a pretty fragmented city.
3. Pro – Just Give Us One Team, Please
Say what you want about the other entries on this list, but the NFL has openly admitted to seeking to plant a flag in London. So there must be some pretty devoted fans, right? Nope. The NFL will likely never move to London for a billion reasons, and it shouldn’t. Rather than shoot for the moon, why not opt for a city that certainly offers far less downside and inconvenience.
2. Pro – London? LONDON?
This is perhaps the most important reason. A lot gets discussed when it comes to Farmers Field, relocation, feasibility, and expansion plans. Let’s set that aside. Let’s focus on the fact that, the people of LA really want a football team. I mean, why wouldn’t they? Farmers Field in downtown was going to be privately financed, so there’s no financial reason to oppose it. USC and UCLA get a lot of love, but they’re on Saturday. The fact that a team hasn’t found its way here has more to do with the city’s bureaucracy and the logistics of moving a team than it does the city’s desire.
1. Pro – LA Really Wants a Football Team
This is at once a terrible point and an excellent one. While the city may have been subject to fickle owners, and had their allegiances split by two teams, the fact is that owner’s wouldn’t move a successful team. LA doesn’t deserve a new team because it’s a huge city. Nor does it deserve a new team because it really wants one. The fact that it’s trying (and failing) to pry teams from tertiary markets is telling about how disproportionately weak a fan base and market it is.
4. Con – LA Had Their Chance
This is a valid complaint. San Diego has even better weather, is only 100 miles away, and has trouble supporting their team. When the weather’s that nice, people don’t want to watch football during the day. At night, sure, but during the day, there are better things to do. Like hike, or go to the beach. Or go watch football at a nice outdoor bar.
3. Con – The Weather’s Too Good
This is true. LA has a lot of sports team, lots of sports success, and lots of sports fans, but it’s not a sports town. It’s an entertainment town. It’s pretty much the only one of those. The common touchpoint will never be the local team. It’s host to millions of transplants, so loyalties don’t run deep. If LA people REALLY wanted a sports team, they’d do more about it than quietly moaning.
2. Con – LA’s Not a Sports Town
That’s right. Just when you go championing LA as a smart, measured move for a huge market, word oozes out that two teams with existing identities, both nearby, want to BOTH move 20 miles outside of LA and share a $1.7 billion stadium. It’s clearly a move to strongarm their local governments into getting favorable terms for staying, but…ugh. Even if LA was the right place for a disenfranchised team to go, nobody wants this. But this is sports business. There’s no room for common sense.
(Photo courtesy of Variety)
1. Just When You Think It’s Making Sense, They Announce This the Night Before Your Article is Due