Crazy comebacks, broken records, injuries galore. It hasn’t taken long for the 2020 NFL season to get wild.
Los Angeles Rams fans had to wait 7,903 days to witness the first snap since they last played in LA during the 1994 regular season.
The Memorial Coliseum was sold out with 89,140 people attending the opening preseason game on the 13th of August. A record breaking crowd for an NFL preseason game.
Yet is the Los Angeles market sustainable for football?
People want what they can’t have. The local fans have been starved of football and like everything in LA, the Coliseum was the place to be seen.
For so many years football has failed in Los Angeles; both the Rams and Raiders couldn’t survive in a city of 3.5 million people.
Obviously, the NFL and the Rams believe now is the time to try again.
Since the last attempt, the population has increased to four million people. According to the United States Census Bureau, 48.5 percent of the LA’s population are Hispanic or Latino.
That’s a large slice of the pie.
It’s no secret that the Hispanic population are more fond of the round ball game, but their interest in the NFL is increasing. According to Nielson Media, the US Hispanic population is approximately 50 million people, with 1.5 million NFL fans and 9 percent of living in Los Angeles.
Nielson Media statistics also reveal that the NFL has increased the amount of money they have spent on advertising to the Hispanic market by 60 percent. They know the Hispanic market is critical to the long-term success of the Los Angeles Rams and so does Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
In paying the NFL a $550 million relocation fee, Kroenke is in this for the long haul. He is privately financing the $2.66 billion stadium with a kick back of $180 million in sales taxes.
Kroenke is a shrewd businessman. A real estate mogul worth $8 billion, the relocation from St. Louis was purely a business decision. Ironically, Kroenke is a native Missourian named after two of their baseball legends, Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial.
That he took the team away from his hometown shows there are greener pastures in LA, the second largest media market in America.
He is no rookie when it comes to owning sporting franchises either. Kroenke Sporting Enterprises owns a number of other sporting teams, including the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, and the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer.
He is also the largest shareholder of Arsenal.
The City of Champions Stadium, the temporary name for the new field being developed in Inglewood, California, will become the most expensive sporting complex in US history. Scheduled to open in August 2019, this 80,000-seat stadium will host the Super Bowl in 2021.
Of course, LA has always, and will always be a basketball town.
The city lives and breathes the Lakers. A recent visit to the LA Times website had the Rams listed fifth on the menu tab. The LA Lakers were number one, followed by the LA Clippers.
The mindset of this city needs to change drastically for football to be sustainable. This may take a generation. The Rams need to remain patient.
One thing Kroenke has in his favour is the lucrative television contracts. According to the Green Bay Packers annual financial report, each franchise received $226.4 million apiece from the revenue pool. Should the Rams have a couple of poor seasons on the field, then the television contract cash flow will allow them to at least generate a profit.
However, the Rams seem to be united. Kroenke, general manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher are beating the same drum and taking zero tolerance with anyone who may try to take their franchise down.
Undoubtedly it is going to be a long climb to the top. The Rams are a 7-9 football team with a .438 winning percentage.
Yet, they have to concentrate on short term success. When you meet a girl you generally have a fifteen-minute window to make an impression. The situation for the Rams and the NFL is similar. The key to football surviving in LA is the Hispanic market.
They need to strike at the beginning and stamp their authority in order to have a long-term future in the city of angels.