NFL may have to overcome decades of apathy in Los Angeles

The NFL loves L.A., that much is clear.

But L.A. may just be in like with professional football.

As the league tries to choreograph a bidding war to get a team or two into the nation’s second-largest market, there are plenty of people who wonder if the people there are interested.

Emily Kaplan of explored that subject, asking more than 100 locals from all walks of life about a potential return of the NFL after 20 years away. She found, as she described: “one overarching theme: apathy.”

Many think the region is doing just fine without the NFL, with so many other entertainment options, and practically pro sports such as Southern Cal and UCLA football (Diddy! Kettlebell! Sal Alosi!).

And in their reporting, Kaplan found plenty of people to say “Meh.” Their quotes are eye-opening, and utterly believable.

Of course, they also don’t matter even a little bit.

The thing Los Angeles has more than fan passion or a burning desire for professional football is the thing the modern NFL is built upon — money.

And as long as that’s there, there will eventually be a team or teams there. And then the true passion of fans (i.e. their willingness to part with their legal tender) will be tested on a more scientific platform.

63 responses to “NFL may have to overcome decades of apathy in Los Angeles

  1. This is like Roger’s football in London gimmick. Real NFL fans don’t care and if given the choice don’t want it. The NFL doesn’t care what the fans want.

  2. Oakland Raiders avg attendance
    1960-1981 – 54K

    Los Angeles Avg Attendance
    1982-1994 – 54K

    Oakland Raiders
    1995-2014 – 54K

    Planned oakland Stadium 55K

  3. You need enough people to fill the stadium. The population is large enough that you don’t need too many interested people out of a 100 in order to fill the stadium. If you ask 100 people in Green Bay if they want pro football, you would need and you would get 99 people to say “yes, and make sure there’s plenty of beer available.”

  4. The NFL needs LA much more than LA needs the NFL. The polled an entire 100 people? Wow,
    any of them alive when LA had a Pro teams playing there?
    The NFL failed LA.

  5. Why wouldn’t LA fans be apathetic? For all the talk over the years there’s still no team there and it’s clearer than ever that the NFL sees LA more as a bargaining chip to get better deals with the current host cities than a true destination that teams will imminently be calling home.

    Theoretically, three teams are ready to move to LA simultaneously. That’d be a total disaster yet the NFL is doing absolutely nothing to try and stop that train which is supposedly moving full speed. The only explanation is they already know that all three teams (and quite probably not even two) are truly serious about moving. When it all shakes out most of the disgruntled teams will get a new stadium and stay where they are and MAYBE one will move to LA, assuming they can actually get a stadium constructed.

  6. There’s in apathy in Tampa, San Diego, and St. Louis too.

    Here’s the “duh” of the day: Win and the fans will come.

    Also, St. Louis can’t help the Rams make money.

    A 600,000 population over L.A.????

    I don’t think so.

  7. “The thing Los Angeles has more than fan passion or a burning desire for professional football is the thing the modern NFL is built upon — money.”

    They have zero fan passion, they’re all Packer and Patriot wagon jumper fans in LA. The city is overcrowded, dirty, the beaches are filled with bums and freezing ocean water.

    If there is so much money they should worry more about the alarming rate of running out of drinking water instead of an NFL team that has already failed 3 times over.

  8. jhg0325 says:
    Jul 21, 2015 12:52 PM

    So it’s safe to say that they have a LA-issez faire attitude about the NFL?


    Think that joke might be a little too highbrow for this crowd. Nice one, though lol

  9. Right now, LA fans get the best games every week. They get games that would be blacked out because a local team is playing at home and gets the airwaves to itself for four hours. Weeks like the ones New Yorkers get all too frequently in December where we have two meaningless games never happen.

    Change the scenario to the Rams and the Raiders, two teams that struggle to be relevant, and there is a good chance fans used to seeing good games every time will turn off the TV and won’t spend good money to go to the game. Yes, the stadium will be full, but that might be all that happens.

  10. There’s in apathy in Tampa, San Diego, and St. Louis too.

    Here’s the “duh” of the day: Win and the fans will come.

    Also, St. Louis can’t help the Rams make money.

    A 600,000 population over L.A.???

    I don’t think so.

  11. Gee — a bunch of beautiful people from all over the country move to L.A., spend their days taking selfies or going to the beach, in-between waiting for their big-break while serving tables and washing dishes — and they’re supposed to suddenly root for a local football team?

    Great idea.

    Maybe if they hand out free full length mirrors selfie-sticks they can partially fill the stadium.

  12. Rams have a historical claim to the city and might do O.K.

    Raiders have a lot of fans everywhere and likely will do well.

    Chargers, I don’t think so.

    One team would be better from a fan passion point of view.

    WINNING is the most important component. Win and they will be a hit and a Must See event. Lose and the fans will be blamed as apathetic.

  13. There asking the wrong people. There not engaging the Blue collar upper middle class who love football. There is alot of us out here. Watch Cowboys/Rams camp in oxnard. It is going to be a scene and tons of fans will be turned away.

  14. The LA Kings are one of the NHL’s 13 teams to sell out all their games in 2014-15. They’ve been on a 100% capacity streak since late 2011.

    Poll 100 random people in LA and you’d be lucky to even find one hockey fan.

    LA is huge. Even a small percentage of LA is a lot of people.

  15. Once again Southern CA is a precursor of national societal trends; No NFL here means the NFL will likely be extinct (except in the South) in another generation.

  16. jimmyt says:

    I don’t think any team is going to move there.

    The Rams will. The owner already bought land for a stadium.

  17. R. Goodall is a joke, under this clown we’ll see the Mexico City Raiders and The London Foghats ! What’s next a team in Iceland? Give it rest Roger, geez … smh

  18. The common NFL fan won’t even be able to afford a ticket to any game there. So the dozens of Rams fans in the area or the thousands of Raider fans there will have some trouble attending the games.

  19. LA is full of some of the most passionate fans in the country. And we are all faithful subscribers to the Sunday ticket so we can watch our home teams since we’re all transplants. Good luck selling those over valued PSLs to people with much better options than wasting money for transplanted, underachieving teams. And after the stadium debacles in Minnesota and Atlanta, good luck blackmailing taxpayers to pay for new stadiums in the future.

  20. “The LA Kings are one of the NHL’s 13 teams to sell out all their games in 2014-15. They’ve been on a 100% capacity streak since late 2011.”

    In Feb of 2014 I attended a Blackhawks @ Kings game at the Staples center and bought my tickets with absolutely no trouble and the stadium was more than half red due to all the Chicago Blackhawks fans, so your wrong.

    LA is not a sports town at all, period.

  21. The owners are in love with money (rightfully so) and see dollar signs in LA…..however, it’s a bad investment doomed to fail as it has at least 3 times in the history of pro-football.

  22. “Oh, L.A., we love you so much. Build us a stadium with your taxpayer’s money, or we’ll move your team to St. Louis. How does that sound?”

    Yeah. That’s love.

  23. The Raiders have more fans in Southern California- than any other region.

    L.A. County

    IE-Inland Empire(Riverside San Berdo)

    San Diego County

    Even- Clark County Nevada

  24. This, obviously, is a very small sample size but couple this with the fact that there hasn’t been any real groundswell amongst LA residents for the NFL, that should tell them what they shouldn’t do but of course they will chase that fat pay day called an entrance fee–the hell if this works in LA, it’s already failed there with three current teams just pay us (current NFL owners).

  25. It did not take long for Houston to replace the Oilers and they Hated Bud Adams. Twelve years for the Ravens/Browns in Baltimore. Four years off for the Browns in Cleveland. There is no reason for LA to spend taxpayer money on the NFL.

  26. It’s funny reading the ignorant comments that the teams that left LA left because of fan apathy. It was the crazy owners and their crazy demands! No team has ever left a city because of fan apathy. Every team left because an owner wanted a better deal or to take their precious team home with them. Never has a city lost an NFL team due to poor attendance. It’s a Television sport now anyway.
    LA is not a sports town? LOL such an ignorant statement.
    Hosted the Olympics TWICE!
    Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Clippers, Galaxy, UCLA, USC, Kings, Ducks etc!
    Most of the teams stated are also World Champions. Not a sports town though.

  27. Any team in LA will be the new shiny toy people want to play with for a few years before losing interest.

  28. *Legion* says:
    Jul 21, 2015 1:11 PM
    The LA Kings are one of the NHL’s 13 teams to sell out all their games in 2014-15. They’ve been on a 100% capacity streak since late 2011.
    You mean since they started being good?

  29. Here in NYC, the Knicks have sucked for 15 years, save for one first round playoff bouncing, and they still sell out every game. The Nets, meanwhile, have been in the playoffs five years straight and they can’t draw flies in Brooklyn (which itself is as populated as LA).

    In LA, the Lakers have one bad season and even Jack Nicholson is selling his court-side seats. The Clippers are the hot team and they are selling out.

    The second any LA NFL team has a bad year, the place will be Jax West.

  30. Having a local franchise is overrated. I live in the bay area and have to suffer through 49ers and Raiders games being televised every damn Sunday (I hate both teams). Every time I visit L.A., I’m envious of the fact that the best matchups of the week are what get televised locally every week. You think most of the 8 million people in the area are going to be excited to see some reject transplant organization take over the television airwaves?

  31. The league is putting on a dog and pony show in regards to LA

    They know they can’t and won’t even try to stop Kroenke from moving. There is simply no way the league wins an anti-trust suit and Kroenke know this. Furthermore, Stan Kroenke completely solves the leagues LA problem if he let’s the Chargers tenant his stadium. Nobody who matters wants the Raiders, it was always going to be the Chargers and Rams.

  32. “Isn’t there already a football team in L.A.?”

    “No, seriously. Isn’t there?”

  33. Big market, but full of people that would rather be doing something other than sitting in a stadium rooting for a team they have little interest in.

  34. The Rams back to LA is a foregone conclusion as it should be

    Are there any Rams fans in St. Louis? You certainly could not tell walking around town.

    Let the people of St. Louis concentrate on their favorite team, the baseball team that hacks into other teams computers.

  35. Hey, you want DOUBLE the apathy, put a team in that non football market known as Toronto at the same time.
    They claim to love the sport, but somehow never show it.

  36. You cant simply bring a team to Los Angeles and expect fans. There is no homegrown connection to the team so LA would not care.

    I live in Los Angeles and I can tell you that its a Dodgertown first followed by basketball and then hockey. Our football teams are USC and UCLA, thats it. And we are fine with that.

    if anything, we dont want a team here because of the bad taste/image the raiders fans were when we had them as a team. If you bring the Rams back, fine, but please not the raiders.

  37. Stating that they “may have overcome the apathy in LA” is really saying nothing at all, while maintaining the persistent stream of propoganda meant to “overcome” that meddlesome “apathy’ thing.

  38. The NFL does not need L.A.

    The NFL needs the threat of L.A. in order to blackmail cities into building new stadiums.

    If they actually place a team or two in L.A. the “go-to” threat for greedy billionaires looking for taxpayer handouts goes away.

  39. “Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Clippers, Galaxy, UCLA, USC, Kings, Ducks etc!
    Most of the teams stated are also World Champions. Not a sports town though.”

    Nobody cares about sports in LA, The Kings and Ducks were not even on teh map until they became contenders. My buddy went to the Ducks game during the playoffs this year vs Chicago, purchased his ticket the day before and their plenty available. No one cares about their teams in the Los Angeles area dude, it’s a fact.

    The Lakers are the only team that has a true following and going to Dodger game runs the risk of getting beat up if you wear the opposing team’s jersey, which is ridiculous. Get real man, LA sucks and isn’t a sports town

    ….He listed the Galaxy….LooL!!

  40. “asimonetti88 says:
    100 people out of over 5 million? Yeah, that’s representative.”
    How can you possibly mean that? I heard they went to 100 malls and asked one person in each place. The responses were almost identical.
    “Like, ya know, like, I don’t think so,…like”

  41. I lived in LA awhile back, and for what its worth I really don’t think they care if they have a NFL team. The NFL’s history in LA certainly is not encouraging. Truthfully I don’t think the NFL cares if anyone goes to the games or not as long as they get that TV market money.

  42. There’s two reason the NFL isn’t in L.A. We keep giving them the single finger solute every time they ask us to pay for a stadium and it’s a great bargaining chip for the NFL to use against the lessor cities, which time after time fold only to be told that all prices are doubling and you have to pay for a license to even buy a seat.

  43. The woman in the linked article is partially right: LA is about entertainment. Where she is wrong is that she doesn’t realize that sports – especially when the local team is winning – is just another form of entertainment. Losing, on the other hand, is not very entertaining and Angelenos have myriad other options for entertainment.

    But put a winning – or at least entertaining -product on the field/court/ice in LA and you have a license to print money. The Dodgers have sold fewer than three million tickets in exactly three seasons since the strike – even in years when they haven’t been good.

  44. Nobody cares about sports in LA

    Brilliant comment. You realize that over the last 40 years, the baseball teams with the consistently highest attendance have not been the NY Yankees or Boston Red Sox, but … the Dodgers and the Angels? And it isn’t even close.

    LA’s football problem has always been lack of a stadium. In the 1980s, one team played in an Orange County baseball park, and the other played in a 100,000 seat wasteland built in 1929. It’s hard to sell out regularly and make money under those conditions.

    Three different NFL owners are fighting for the right to move to LA, even though it will require them to pay for their own stadium. That’s because it’s a gold mine, and everybody connected with the NFL understands that.

  45. Interestingly, despite the headline about apathy, Kaplan reports on a lot of Angelenos who really, really want the Rams to come home.

    She notes that people born after 1988 can barely remember the Rams, and her interviews lean heavily on 24 and 25 year olds. But NFL tickets with PSLs are almost the economic equivalent of buying a new car. What NFL teams count mainly on twenty-somethings for those sales?

  46. I live in LA and was not polled. My 2 cents. NFL in LA will fail. History will repeat itself.


  48. Apathy? I’m from LA. I’ve followed my Rams 20 years after they left town. Through good times and mostly bad. Would most fans do that? Don’t think so. Bring them back. I’ll be anxiously awaiting.

  49. “Kelly’s Chronicles says: Sorry they lost two teams already for a reason. The third will not be a charm. LA does not deserve a team.”

    What an ignorant comment made by someone who doesn’t have a clue as to what happened. The RAMS left because the Owner died and his widow – who could care less about the city or the fans – got a CASH GRAB from St. Louis. The RAIDERS left because Al Davis used us to get more $$ from Oakland.

    LA is the #2 TV market in the country and #1 Media market in the world. NFL in LA is going to be HUGE and a bonanza for whichever team(s) and owner(s) get here first.

    Then we’re going to pound every team like yours for the arrogance you’ve spouted!

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