Next week the NFL will hear proposals on venues for an L.A. team.
Carson. Inglewood. That place USC plays.
It’s getting heated, but after reading a recent article in Sports Illustrated’s MMQB suggesting that Angelenos might not even give a damn, I thought about it, and, well, maybe they’re right.
SI’s article — which interviewed 100 Angelenos from all walks of life — posits that:
Most L.A. residents are transplants who pull for their hometown teams.
College football is — and will always be — a bigger draw (fans swarm at UCLA and USC games).
Angelenos are fair-weather fans (literally and figuratively). Exhibit A: the rise of the Clippers’ fanbase in recent years right at the decline of the Lakers.
And lastly, many of the people who can afford to attend games are vapid dilettantes more invested in the glamor of the outing than the game itself.
The transplant theory is a good one.
The “competition for attention” narrative makes sense as well. With so much to do in L.A., it’s difficult to capture the public’s attention with any one event or institution.
Case in point: Los Angeles County state parks had just over three million visitors in 2013-14. However, San Diego — home to the Chargers and about one-third as many residents as L.A. — saw a whopping 16 million people visit theirs.
But the rest of these alleged arguments against a local NFL team? They echo a common refrain heard from outsiders trying to define L.A.: namely, that we’re flakes.
As anyone who’s ever hosted an event or gone on a Tinder date can attest, sure, those people exist. But having lived in nearly every region of the country, I can tell you we hardly have the market cornered.
I see things a little differently.
Taken in a different light, those stereotypes — fickleness, disinterest, lack of passion for all things L.A. — might actually be positive traits. Maybe the fact that we tend to be less territorial, less wed to tradition and have a variety of interests is part of why so many of us are happy we moved here.
So my proposition for L.A. football is this:
Account for the character of the city, build a smaller stadium and make going to games more exclusive. You make a place more exclusive, more people will want to go. It’s why Fenway and Cameron Indoor are so iconic.
What do you think? Should we give a damn? Am I just one of those bon vivants from the Kimmel video?
If I don’t answer straightaway, it’s not because I’m flaking. It’s because I’m out there enjoying everything this city has to offer.