Nate Brenner ’19
Los Angeles: the City of Champions, filled with ambition and passion. The sports market in La La Land is one of the biggest across the United States, where teams like the Lakers and the Dodgers thrive in the spotlight.
When the Rams and Chargers both announced their respective decisions to move to Los Angeles, the sports world was initially ecstatic to see not only one, but two football teams move to the city. Now, with the Rams finding meager success in their second year in the Coliseum and the Chargers being unable to sell out the Stubhub Center (a stadium half the size of a usual NFL stadium), spectators are scratching their heads as to why the moves were even made in the first place.
The saga began in 2015, when ambitious Rams owner Stan Kroenke began construction of a proposed $2.7 billion stadium in Inglewood. Kroenke, who was known for his outlandish moves as the owner of Arsenal Football Club, decided to move the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles in 2016 and made plans to play at the LA Coliseum (the home of the USC Trojans) while his new stadium was under construction.
While football fans in Los Angeles were excited to see the Rams return after 21 years in St. Louis, fans felt differently once the 2016 season began. The Rams finished with an abysmal 4-12 record and subsequently fired head coach Jeff Fisher for his inadequate performance, while fans complained about the horrid conditions at the Coliseum.
Then news broke in January 2017 that the San Diego Chargers, owned by Dean Spanos, would join the Rams in Los Angeles and would play in the Stubhub Center until the Inglewood stadium’s completion. Not only were San Diego fans upset to see their beloved team move away, but Los Angeles fans weren’t excited either, as they now had to deal with two mediocre NFL teams instead of one.
Matters became even worse when it was announced that the new stadium would not be completed until 2020, as the record rainfall delayed construction.
Fast forward to the beginning of the 2017 regular season, and the Chargers and Rams have combined for a 6-6 record to start off the year. Both teams have new head coaches in Anthony Lynn and Sean McVay respectively and are struggling to make a name for themselves in the league.
Attendance for their games has been notably low. When both teams hosted games during Week 2, their combined ticket sales were still less than the number of people who went to the Texas-USC football game the night before.
The teams’ lack of success is a huge problem in a market that favors winning teams.
We have seen Los Angeles sports teams thrive in the spotlight, such as the showtime Lakers, who won five NBA championships with Kobe Bryant, and the Dodgers, who have won the National League West in each of their last five seasons.
Both the Rams and Chargers have been unsuccessful since they moved to Los Angeles, and it will most likely take a few years for either team to become a threat in the NFL. Until the new stadium is built or until either team starts winning, football in Los Angeles will still be irrelevant in a city that only cares for champions, not mediocrity.