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 by Elvis
3 months ago
 Total posts:   22909  
 Joined:  Mar 28 2015
United States of America   Los Angeles
Administrator

https://theathletic.com/1038902/2019/06 ... -a-sports/

On and off the field, the Rams can be the ‘next big thing’ in L.A. sports

By Vincent Bonsignore Jun 20, 2019 12

If we’re being technical, the Rams transitioned from a St. Louis entity to a Los Angeles property on Jan. 12, 2016. That night, after a day full of tense, emotional meetings at a swanky Houston hotel, 32 NFL owners unanimously approved the Rams’ relocation back to Southern California.

After spending the previous 21 seasons in St. Louis, the Rams were returning home.

Technically speaking.

But there is a huge difference between legal recognition and emotional acceptance. One is decreed, the other develops organically over time. It doesn’t happen on demand, it has to be earned.

And that was always the challenge facing the Rams as they moved back to a market that, for the most part, wrote them off when they left in 1995.

Yes, a devoted group of hardcore fans stuck with them during their two decades in Missouri, then welcomed them back with open arms. In fact, the certainty of an existing fanbase played a significant role in the Rams getting approval to relocate. With the Los Angeles market so critical to the NFL’s big picture, and failure to command it not an option, the league needed assurance that a strong foundation was in place.

The loyal fanbase provided that.

But beyond that was a generation of Angelenos who grew up without a home team to root for. Some became fans of other teams while some embraced the NFL as fantasy football fans rather than devotees of a particular team. Many remained fans of the Raiders, who called Los Angeles home from 1982-94. Others were indifferent to the NFL altogether. And many grew so angry over all the hollow statements the NFL made over the years about wanting to return to L.A. — only to continually come up with reasons for not making the plunge — that they completely turned their back on the league.

For the Rams to truly succeed in L.A., they need to capture and cultivate the hearts and minds of fans, beyond the loyal hardcores who stuck with them. At first, many locals curiously sized them up like some long-lost family member who just popped back into their life, offering a big smile and a hearty hug.

Sure, you want to welcome them back with no questions asked. But after a 20-year disappearance, it’s a little awkward.

And if we’re keeping it real, the process of the Rams re-embedding themselves into the soul of greater Los Angeles is ongoing.

There have been prominent moments over the last three years — particularly the last 12 months — when the Rams left such an indelible mark as a living, breathing part of the Southern California landscape that it’s impossible to ignore the climb they’re making to the top of L.A. sports mountain.

It’s not necessarily that they’re going to shove aside the Lakers and Dodgers as kings of the city. But they certainly can take a seat alongside them.

In many ways, the Rams are poised to be L.A.’s next big thing.

On the field, they’ve grown into one of the most exciting teams in the NFL under energetic head coach Sean McVay. Their 24 wins over the last two years are the most in football. The 1,005 points they’ve scored is tops in the NFL. They’ve won two straight division titles and made a triumphant march to Super Bowl LIII last season.

The hardcore L.A. sports fan loves a winner. To capture the imagination of broader Los Angeles, you have to be compelling and entertaining. The Rams have been exactly that over the last two years.

The roster is brimming with young talent: Jared Goff, now in his fourth year, has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Aaron Donald is the two-time defending NFL Defensive Player of the Year. When healthy, Todd Gurley is one of the most dominating offensive weapons in football.

L.A. is a star-driven market. The Rams are cultivating some of the biggest names in sports.

Los Angeles is taking notice.

According to metrics, Rams attendance increased by over 14 percent in 2018 — the largest growth in the NFL — landing them in the top 10 in overall attendance.

Their television ratings grew by 49 percent last year, the best in the NFL. Their average ratings were the highest of any of the four teams in New York or Los Angeles.

Rams games were the top-watched television show in Los Angeles in seven of 16 weeks last season. That’s more than their first two seasons in Los Angeles combined.

Their social-media growth on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter was among the top three in the NFL in 2018, and they were in the top five in engagement rate.

By all measures, the Rams are establishing themselves as a powerful presence in Los Angeles.

It has coincided with their impact in the community.

Rams players, cheerleaders and front-office staffers have volunteered more than 6,000 hours of community service, benefitting 140 schools and 45 non-profit groups through outreach programs. Their annual community improvement project has resulted in playgrounds being built at elementary schools in Watts, Inglewood, South Central, and East LA.

In greater Los Angeles, Rams staff members have provided more than 5,500 hours of community service and impacted 36 local non-profit groups and 55 schools.

Since arriving back in L.A., the Rams have introduced a variety of new community outreach programs such as “RISE with the Rams” to help build relationships between two Los Angeles area high school football teams that have a cross-section of races and socioeconomic backgrounds, and “Taste of the Rams,” which benefits the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

Meanwhile, the new home they’re building in Inglewood — the $4.9 billion, 298-acre stadium and entertainment district that owner Stan Kroenke sold the NFL on while making his pitch for relocation — is now 70 percent complete and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2020.

The privately-funded stadium already has secured Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the college football national championship game in 2023, and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2028 Summer Olympics.

The first ever indoor-outdoor stadium, it will be the centerpiece of a development that is 3.5 times the size of Disneyland, twice as big as Vatican City and will feature a 2.5-acre open-air plaza, a 6,000-seat performance venue, more than 1.5 million square feet of retail and office space, 2,500 residences, a hotel, and more than 20 acres of parks.

It will be quintessentially Los Angeles. Think LA Live on steroids.

Between the on-field product, the involvement and impact in the community and the bright new future awaiting them at their palatial new stadium, the Rams are rapidly making their presence felt. Few would have thought it possible three years ago, when the Rams returned home only to massively stub their toe during a 4-12 season that cost coach Jeff Fisher his job and left many in Los Angeles to ask: We waited 21 years for this?

Now they are poised to grab a prominent seat on the L.A. sports throne.

That possibility played out on a Monday night early last November, when the Rams opened their arms to a grieving region devastated by wildfires and knocked to its knees by a senseless act of violence. The Rams delivered a memorable performance that, for three hours, provided a sturdy shoulder on which L.A. could rest a weary head.

It was happenstance that put the Rams in position to offer refuge and diversion. In fact, they were supposed to host the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City on that Monday night. But five days before kickoff, when the field at Azteca Stadium was deemed too dangerous to host an NFL game, the Rams had to shift gears back to the Coliseum.

The frenzied group effort that ensued — the Rams worked closely with USC, which owns and operates the Coliseum, and L.A. business leaders and local law enforcement officials to map out a plan to host a Monday-night game on short notice — and the passionate response by fans who gobbled up more than 70,000 tickets almost overnight, offered a poignant glimpse into just how far the Rams have come since arriving back in L.A.

And how high they can potentially still soar.

It truly was, as their slogan said, LA Together.

The Rams distributed more than 3,000 tickets to first responders and people affected by the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, which claimed the lives of 12 innocent victims, and the nearby fires. Andrew Whitworth, their towering left tackle, offered use of his luxury suite at the Coliseum for affected families and donated a full game check to help victims of the fires and shooting.

Then the Rams delivered an incredible performance in a wild 54-51 win over the Chiefs at a loud, rollicking Coliseum. After soaking it all in, it became crystal clear what the Rams already mean to Los Angeles and the boundless future ahead.

The mark of a good neighbor is being available and reliable in times of need. With Los Angeles reeling, the Rams stepped up in a big way. In the process, they helped lift an entire city back onto its feet.

A decade from now, we might look back at that night as the moment the Rams were officially welcomed back to Los Angeles. Not as a long-lost friend who awkwardly showed up at our doorsteps 20 years after walking out of our lives.

But as a family member.

And it’s left them poised to be L.A.’s next big thing.

 by snackdaddy
3 months ago
 Total posts:   5484  
 Joined:  May 30 2015
United States of America   Merced California
Hall of Fame

The things they're doing away from the field is good. But consecutive division titles and a Superbowl appearance certainly helps. After the disastrous 2016 season I wondered how long it would take to get the support they had in the 60's 70's. That stadium looked pretty bare on game days by the end of that season.

This market is plenty big enough to support the 3 major sports teams. The Rams and Dodgers have gone as far as they can go without winning it all. Now the Lakers have made a trade that puts them back in the spotlight. Sure would be awesome if all 3 teams won a title over the next 12 months. LA would be the envy of the sports world.

 by Fire407
3 months ago
 Total posts:   89  
 Joined:  May 20 2016
United States of America   LA Coliseum
Practice Squad

In other cities the NFL is king. In Dallas and Atlanta for example, on sports radio even in the offseason they spend about half of the air time talking about the NFL and the other half divided between baseball and basketball. Here in LA we're lucky if we get 5 minutes of NFL content during a whole day. I think when the Rams first moved there was a huge potential to be popular right away. The 1st preseason game against the Cowboys was sold out and the first regular season game against the Seahawks was sold out. The Seahawks game was a public relations nightmare because they didn't have enough water at the stadium on a 100 degree day. The crowds were there in the beginning until people realized what a boring and failing offense that Fisher was putting on the field. I think if we had continued winning from the beginning the first year, then the crowds would have stayed with it. The hiring of McVay turned out to be a brilliant move, and it's taken a couple of years to grow the interest again. The NFL got waaay more popular nationally during the 20 years the Rams were gone, and part of that popularity is due to fantasy football. Someday football here will be king and the radio talk show hosts will realize that they could increase their ratings if they talk about the Rams. One other issue is that 570am is the Chargers station, so they absolutely minimize any coverage of the Rams. It's another example of how stupid the owners were to let Spanos move here.

 by aeneas1
3 months ago
 Total posts:   11203  
 Joined:  Sep 13 2015
United States of America   Norcal
Hall of Fame

Fire407 wrote:One other issue is that 570am is the Chargers station, so they absolutely minimize any coverage of the Rams. It's another example of how stupid the owners were to let Spanos move here.



 by aeneas1
3 months ago
 Total posts:   11203  
 Joined:  Sep 13 2015
United States of America   Norcal
Hall of Fame

St. Loser Fan wrote:That’s not a valid excuse.

bernie, it's over, you lost, go home, or better yet head on down to the golden corral and knock yourself out!

 by snackdaddy
3 months ago
 Total posts:   5484  
 Joined:  May 30 2015
United States of America   Merced California
Hall of Fame

aeneas1 wrote:bernie, it's over, you lost, go home, or better yet head on down to the golden corral and knock yourself out!


I hear Mr. Toad's wild ride is nice this time of year. Maybe Bernie can take a trip and see for himself. :lol2:

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21 posts Oct 19 2019