The Los Angeles Rams is critical in LA for a host of reasons to the NFL. Especially for a league who wants a presence in the western time zone and beyond.
Say what you want about the Los Angeles Rams move from St. Louis, but the National Football League needs a home run, or at least a touchdown and two-point conversion as much for the team as for the league. Since the city lost not one but two teams in 1994, the NFL has made it clear that a team in LA wasn’t just good for southern California, but critical for a league with global aspirations.
According to Station Index, Los Angeles is the second ranked media market behind New York and one ahead of Chicago. All NFL cities and yes, we all know the Jets and Giants play in New Jersey, but work with me here.
Bottom line, for 21 seasons the second largest media market in the country had NO NFL football, and the league thrived with record revenues and an explosion of platforms for what has clearly become “America’s Game.”
And STILL, no team existed in the second largest media market in North America.
But don’t mistake the idea that NFL football doesn’t matter in Los Angeles, because for the league it matters a lot.
However, the tandem part of having a team in LA is the Rams not being like the Rams were in 2016. It’s one thing to have the NFL in Los Angeles, and another thing to have that team be a winning team.
Winning is a critical element to the blueprint for both the Rams and the league.
The relocation from St. Louis to the west coast seemed almost destined. With the exception of the Raiders, something seemed “right” about the Rams back in Los Angeles. It works much better than Oakland in LA and is infinitely better than the Chargers or a team like the Vikings who were once rumored to make the move. The league didn’t just want, it needed an anchor franchise in LA and few team fit what that blueprint needed.
The NFL has made no secret it is looking to expand the brand. Europe, especially London, hosts regular season games annually, and last summer, a report circulated that the possibility of a Rams /49ers matchup could be played in China. If there is one market the league wouldn’t mind establishing a footprint in, Asia is a logical one on several levels, and a team from Los Angeles is the hook a commissioner would want.
But that team also needs to win.
A team from Los Angeles has to be a winner. It needs some reputable “juice’ to be the face of a global brand heading west to markets west of its own shores. It doesn’t work with teams like the Cardinals or Raiders. And even though the Seattle Seahawks have been the best team on the west coast for awhile now, it doesn’t have the same “cachet” as a team playing in the backdrop of the Hollywood sign.
It just doesn’t.
The Rams in Los Angeles works much better for the league than the Rams in St. Louis, and I say that with all the respect for the fans from that once great NFL city.
But some things work and some things don’t.
That’s the cost of doing business today in the NFL.