The Rams moved from St. Louis this offseason because of the opportunities afforded them by the enormous market in Los Angeles. The thinking was that even with a mediocre to bad team, the desire for the NFL in La-La-Land was such that fans would flock to see the product in person. Many warned that attracting the attentions of the notoriously fickle Los Angeles fans wouldn’t be easy. It appears those warnings had merit.
On Sunday, the Rams faced the Atlanta Falcons at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and, based on the game’s attendance, the honeymoon is already over for the NFL in Hollywood. Either that or a lot of Rams fans came dressed as empty seats.
The half-filled stadium did not go unnoticed on Twitter either:
" It’s a 4-8 crowd at the Coliseum for the Rams today. pic.twitter.com/onaP3tFiSc — Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) December 11, 2016 "
The NFL hasn’t been in Los Angeles in 20 years and it took just five regular season home games for the town’s citizens to fall out of love with the Rams. Even on a Sunday in December when the temperature was 63 degrees at kickoff, the team couldn’t fill its stadium.
Plenty will argue that the Rams going 4-8 is why fans have stopped showing up, but any city can fill a stadium when its team is winning games. We were sold on the idea that people in LA were so desperate for the NFL that they would fill the stadium every week regardless of how the team was playing. Anyone even loosely familiar with Los Angeles sports fans knew that was complete bunk. There is only one team LA fans will show up for regardless of record: the Los Angeles Lakers. Other than that, you have to win to get butts to the seats and even then it might not be smooth sailing.
And here’s the thing, people in Los Angeles actually wanted the Rams back. A team like the San Diego Chargers may be moving to LA and literally no one in the city wants them there. How are they going to draw anyone if they’re even mediocre?
The NFL moving one team to LA might eventually prove itself to be a solid decision. But for that to happen the Rams are going to have to start contending as early as next season. Moving a second team to the city would be an absolute disaster for that franchise. How people within the NFL can’t see that is beyond me.