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Does Los Angeles need an NFL team?

An artist’s rendering shows the planned City of Champions Revitalization Project in Inglewood, which includes a NFL Stadium. Courtesy HKS Inc.
An artist’s rendering shows the planned City of Champions Revitalization Project in Inglewood, which includes a NFL Stadium. Courtesy HKS Inc.

So it appears that NFL football might finally be returning to Los Angeles within the next few years.

On Monday, it was announced that St. Louis Rams billionaire owner Stan Kroenke plans to build an NFL stadium in Inglewood. The stadium could be completed by 2018, according to developers.

Don’t expect the National Football League to be back in Los Angeles next year, but it could happen soon. It’s been a long time since an NFL football team has played in L.A. The Raiders and Rams both left town after the 1994 season. The Raiders returned to Oakland – where they belong – and the Rams ventured east to St. Louis.

Over the next 20 years there were many rumors about pro football returning to L.A. but it never amounted to anything, unless you count the LA KISS of the Arena Football League, but they don’t even play home games in Hollywood, rather in Anaheim.

Now, it appears the chance of an NFL team playing in L.A. appears better than ever. When the owner of the St. Louis Rams said he is planning on building a new stadium in Inglewood, well, that sounds pretty serious.

Unless, of course, this is just all leverage to get a better stadium deal in St. Louis. You just never know with these eccentric and crafty billionaire owners.
In any event, it appears that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would like to see a team back in the nation’s second-largest media market. But who will that team be? The Rams? Or maybe the Chargers or Raiders – two California teams playing in old, outdated stadiums.

Despite the push for a team to return to sunny Los Angeles, the question still remains: Does L.A. really need a pro football team?

While local football fans would no doubt love to cheer for their own squad and attend games on Sundays in a nearby stadium, there are plenty of other things to do in L.A. In other words, Los Angeles residents have been doing just fine without pro football, so whether or not a new team arrives doesn’t really make much difference.

In California, there are so many fun things to do.

Consider: There are the glorious beaches, invigorating outdoor hiking trails, amazing movie theaters, great restaurants, biking, tennis, golf, rollerblading, and skateboarding, and so many other fun and healthy outdoor activities.

When you think about it, Los Angeles already has two semi-pro football teams anyway in UCLA and USC – two college programs with proud traditions and legacies. Saturdays are always special come autumn in L.A.

And Sundays? Well, there’s enough NFL coverage on television to keep the most diehard football fans content.

Still, an NFL football team in Los Angeles would only add to the glamour and glitz of Hollywood. The Rams attracted a big following when they played in both the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (1946-79) and Anaheim Stadium (1980-94). The Raiders, meanwhile, moved to L.A. in the early 1980s and also drew plenty of attention thanks to their Silver-and-Black mystique and another Super Bowl championship in 1984.

Fans love a winner, but in L.A. it’s even more important to be on top. The Lakers have long been the number one sports team in Hollywood, but as the team has been suffering through a losing season, fan support might be slowly shifting to the title-contending Clippers.

A pro football team in Los Angeles would certainly be successful as long as it keeps winning and drawing fans. Not that winning is everything. Give fans a first-class stadium and lots of entertainment and they will come.

If not, then there are plenty of other outdoor options for Californians.

Tags: in Sports
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