Heading for the Hills

Posted on 03 September 2015 by admin

The Rams leaving for Los Angeles would ruin St. Louis’ sports continuity

rams graphicBy: Christian Hargas
Sports Editor

It has been a long time since the St. Louis Rams were a marquee franchise in the National Football League. You would have to go back to the 2003 season, which was the last time the Rams made an appearance in the playoffs and posted a winning record.

Since then, the team has amassed a 32 percent winning percentage (57-118- 1) and finished last place in the NFC’s Western Division seven of the last 11 seasons.

Now, the Rams have garnered a little attention from the national sports media because of a potential move back to Los Angeles, Calif., which would remove them from the Midwest for a significant, if not permanent, amount of time.

The prospect of moving back to the west coast would seem like the appropriate thing to do for the franchise, according to Rams owner Stan Kroenke. On the flipside, doing that would break the heart of St. Louis fans. It is easy to understand why Kroenke has a desire to relocate his franchise. Los Angeles is currently the second largest city in the United States, with the second largest media market.

Kroenke understands the NFL is a business with the primary objective to make money, but he fails to look past the “glitz and glam” of Hollywood. According to Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, fan attendance to games in California averaged 51,620 from 1988 to 1994 – which was the franchise’s worst stretch. Fan attendance in Missouri averaged 56,458 from 2008 to 2014 – which was the team’s worst stretch in St. Louis, according to Football Ballparks. During their lowest point in each city, St. Louis proved to be more supportive than Los Angeles.

Another argument most Ram fans in Tinsel Town make is that St. Louis is a “baseball town”. While the Cardinals are the most popular team in town, mostly because of their success, this does not mean professional football does not matter here. According to The Los Angeles Times, the Rams were ranked 19th out of the 20 most popular sports franchises in their region. Furthermore, this same source declared the Los Angeles Lakers the most popular franchise in L.A.

Finally, the Rams were not the only NFL team to ever call Los Angeles their home. The Raiders spent 12 seasons there from 1982 to 1994. Also, according to The Los Angeles Times, the Raiders were ranked ninth on the top 20 most popular sports franchises in L.A. They were also the only team to win a Super Bowl Championship there, during the 1983 season. The Raiders are also looking to move back to Los Angeles, and I believe they would receive a much warmer welcome because they were more popular there.

Kroenke looks to have his sights set on taking his Rams back to California. He may believe that would be the best thing for the franchise, but St. Louis needs them more than Los Angeles.

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