If you grew up in Los Angeles like I did and can remember the autumn days of NFL football at the Coliseum you probably hold a warm gooey spot in your heart for the Oakland Raiders. Maybe you’re like the millions of Angelenos holding out hope that an NFL team would come back. But do you honestly want a team? Chances are you don’t.
In 1991 the Raiders topped ticket counts in the league with 92,000 tickets sold for each home game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Fans showed up in droves to support the Raiders so support was not an issue. But in 1993 the Coliseum was renovated — some say downsized — to showcase a more ‘intimate’ feel. The stadium continued to deteriorate and the Raiders packed up and left. Flash forward now and of course the rumor mill is churning again.
There’s considerable talk that the St.Louis Rams will bust free of their stadium lease and make a return to L.A. — except that’s the rumor every year. What’s worse is that Rams owner Stan Kroenke is using Los Angeles as nothing more than a negotiating ploy to force the city of St.Louis to build the franchise a new stadium. Kroenke recently purchased nearly 60 acres of land near the now-closed Hollywood Park racetrack fueling speculation the team is on the move. But this happens all the time, and it’s a shame an owner has to resort to such tactics.
Arash Markazi over at ESPN Los Angeles wrote a piece on this very subject and would love to have you believe that if any team needed to make a triumphant return it should be the Rams who called Los Angeles home for 50 years. The Rams’ Los Angeles existence predates the Raiders and the Los Angeles Dodgers, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of another city — not at these costs.
The fans in laid-back California are already fair weather as it is. You can’t sit there and tell me they would actually support an existing team — or worse an expansion team — like they do the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers with this many pro and college teams splintering all the attention. Sure we want a team in Los Angeles; it’s the second largest media market in the country. But we want everything, including plastic bag bans and non-GMO kale.
This city is too laid back, too focused on making plans to Nobu, too wrapped up with the Kardashians to even care about winning back an NFL team. Farmers Field was the closest L.A. has gotten to getting serious about NFL football, and the city’s position has been and continues to be “show us the money and prove it.” Frankly, we could take it or leave it.
If the city has to wrangle an existing team from an existing city that won’t build a fancy new stadium with taxpayer money then so be it, but honestly the support will be indifferent and spotty. It definitely would not surpass the fan support of the city they leave. Keep your team; we don’t want them or deserve them. We’ve got better things to do.
Karim Akbar is a Sacramento Kings columnist/sports writer for Rant Sports For More Sacramento Kings News “Like” his page on Facebook Follow him on Twitter @Kuhreem Or add him to your network on Google+.