Photo by Getty Images // Spark Sports Illustration
Before 2016, the city of Los Angeles only had seven professional men’s sport teams: the Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers, Angels, Kings, Ducks and Galaxy. Yet looking at those six professional teams, one of the most popular sports was missing in Los Angeles: football.
By 2018, the City of Angels will have two professional men’s teams in each sport: basketball, hockey, baseball and most notably, football and soccer.
The arrival of the Rams in the 2016 NFL season gave the world a chance to see what it looks like for football to return back to Los Angeles. This season, with the addition of the Chargers, the NFL now have two teams playing in Los Angeles after having no NFL teams for nearly 20 years.
Additionally, by 2018, the Los Angeles Football Club is set to begin playing. They will face a huge challenge coming into a town dominated by the Galaxy who have provided LA with five championships and a host of high profile international players starting with David Beckham.
With all these teams in Los Angeles, it shows how huge the sports culture is; sports simply cannot stay away from the city. However, it does raise one big question: can LA sustain all these teams?
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Metropolitan area’s economy had a GDP of $930,000,000 in 2015. This is a huge, enticing piece of the pie owners are looking to sink their teeth into. When comparing this number to metropolitan area of Cleveland-Elryia, whose GDP was $128,448,000 in 2015, it’s easy to see why sports franchises are eager to relocate to a huge market such as Los Angeles.
The eagerness of other owners has not prevented teams from shying away from the Los Angeles market. What it has done is grant the city a rare opportunity. This abundance of teams has granted Angelenos the fortune of having multiple first-rate professional teams in the most popular sports in the United States.
To live but not die in Los Angeles is something else entirely than just relocating here. This huge saturation of the market spreads loyalty thin meaning that teams really have to stand out to attract fans. They have to do something more than play. They have to win and keep winning. Winning is the ultimate goal setting aside other factors such as loyalty and history.
According to a study done by the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles in April 2017, the Dodgers supplanted the Lakers as the most favorite team in Los Angeles for the first time in their four years of conducting the study.
The Dodgers have captured four consecutive NL West division titles while the Lakers have been dealing with losing seasons and the lottery in the NBA Draft, thus proving that winning is everything and that even the historically good franchises such as the Lakers are susceptible to fickle fans.
So what does this mean for new teams coming to Los Angeles? To put it bluntly, they need to win above anything else. The Rams and Chargers will not find any loyalty if they keep posting records of 4-12 and 5-11. These two teams are coming into a town where winning is the status quo. The Lakers have won 16 titles, the Dodgers 5, the Kings 2, and the Angels and Ducks 1. The Rams have only won one Super Bowl and that was while they were in St. Louis.
The Los Angeles Football Club have lured the talents of Carlos Vela to come and play for the team, but if they cannot create a winning culture within the club, they have no chance of being successful in this town let alone overtaking the Galaxy as the favorite soccer club. So new teams have to bring it.