Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Los Angeles is the city of stars, but does it deserve pro football?


In Los Angeles, California, any new professional sports team instantly would gain entry into the United States’ second-largest television market, according to Nielsen.

That makes L.A. a very attractive “get.” The issue with the City of Angels, however, is this – does it really want another professional football team? Los Angeles hasn’t had a National Football League team since the two it had – the Raiders and Rams – both left 19 years ago.

-       The last pro football team to call the cavernous Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum home was the XFL’s Los Angeles Xtreme 12 years ago. With a capacity of 93,607, the Coliseum – still the home to the University of Southern California Trojans football team – almost would have to be considered too big for the NFL, let alone a new spring outdoor alternative pro football league team.

-       Another home to a big-time Division I football program (UCLA) is the Rose Bowl in nearby Pasadena. But as is the case with the Coliseum, the Rose Bowl is cumbersome capacity-wise (90,000-plus).

-       One of the more attractive possibilities would be the StubHub Center, the soccer stadium formerly known as The Home Depot Center. The home of both the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA of Major League Soccer, the StubHub Center has played host to high school and college football games in the past, and has a capacity of 27,000 for soccer.

-       Angel Stadium of Anaheim, which used to be known as Anaheim Stadium when the Rams played there, more or less is just a baseball-only facility these days – which basically knocks it out of any future consideration for a new football team. And anyone who wants to see football played at ancient Dodger Stadium most likely will continue to be disappointed.

Los Angeles has had two goes at spring outdoor alternative pro football leagues. The United States Football League’s Express had a young, spry left-handed quarterback named Steve Young, but not much else. The XFL’s Xtreme was that league’s best team in its only season of 2001, and the Xtreme earned the league’s only championship.

BOTTOM LINE – While there has been plenty of talk of an existing NFL team (or two) moving to Los Angeles, it has yet to happen. And L.A. hasn’t had an outdoor pro football team of any kind in 12 years.

The question is this – is it because of the facilities that Los Angeles can’t get an outdoor pro football team back, or because is it because of all the other things to do in the city – sports-related (the Lakers, the Clippers, the Dodgers, the Angels, the Kings, the Galaxy, Chivas USA, etc.) and otherwise?

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