Can two NFL teams thrive in Los Angeles?

Currently the city of Los Angeles has two professional football teams again in the Rams and Chargers. However, can a city that has lost multiple football teams keep their “new” teams this time around?

History of the Rams and Chargers in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Rams: In 1946 Los Angeles received the Rams after the team moved from Cleveland, Ohio a month after winning a championship. Then owner Dan Reeves wanted a move due to attendance problems and financial struggles.

After some debate, owners agreed to let Reeves bring the Rams to Los Angeles, but Reeves had to sign African-American players to his team. Reeves agreed and the Rams stayed in Los Angeles through the 1994 season (foxsports, 2016).

The Rams moved to St. Louis as then owner Georgia Frontiere was strapped for cash and Stan Kroenke did not opt to buy 40% of the Rams to keep them in Anaheim. Also, St. Louis had a developed stadium plan while Los Angeles did not (Thomas, 2016).

Then, in 2016 the Rams would move back to Los Angeles as Kroenke had a stadium plan, waning attendance, and the backing of Jerry Jones.

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Timeline of the Rams’ moves

Los Angeles Chargers: In 1959 the Chargers were found in the City of Angels. This lasted all of one season as the Chargers, as they moved to San Diego after just one season (1960 season) and stayed there through the 2016 season.

Owner Dean Spanos partnered up with Kroenke and their franchises will be sharing a stadium in 2020.

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Rams and Chargers attendance five years prior to their moves. Data from espn.com

Los Angeles as a Bargaining Chip

After both the Rams and Raiders left Los Angeles after the 1994 season, numerous owners have used Los Angeles as a way to get stadium upgrades or a new stadium altogether.

After Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown eyed Los Angeles in 1995 and got a new stadium out of it, twelve different franchises had the same scheme pulled on their respective cities.

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(information from ABC News)

Current Situation

As of today, both the Rams and Chargers are doing quite well for themselves.

After a rocky first season finishing 4-12, Sean McVay has helped the Rams tremendously and are 20-6 (0-1 in the playoffs) under his watch in the past season and a half plus.

The Chargers finished 9-7 in their first season in Los Angeles after an 0-4 start and are 7-3 so far this season.

However, there is one problem: attendance.

For the Chargers, they play in the StubHub Center and cannot sell it out. You may not think that is an issue, but the StubHub Center is a soccer stadium that holds 30,000 people and tarps limit that to about 27,000 for Chargers games.

Same applies to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as the Rams limit it to about 80,000 seats max per game. Despite having a huge population, neither team can get consistent sell outs in Los Angeles.

LA Times’ Bill Plaschke wrote an article on Los Angeles sports fans and what it takes to get people in the seats. The following infographic provides some quotes from said article.

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Conclusion

Whether or not fans begin to flock to the stadium in Inglewood in 2020 cannot be answered, but if what Bill Plaschke said still applies, then the stands should be filled.

As long as the Rams and Chargers continue to win, the fans should come to enjoy some quality football.

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