The lure of LA for the NFL - mirage or 'must do'?

Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:12am EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Like a shimmering desert mirage, the prospect of a National Football League (NFL) team returning to the Los Angeles area has tantalized fans in Southern California for two decades without coming to fruition.

Since the Rams left Los Angeles for St. Louis and the Raiders moved back to Oakland, both departing before the start of the 1995 season, there have been more than a dozen proposals for the NFL to return to the nation's second-largest market.

Each and every time, though, the follow-through has been lacking as bold promises, high hopes and plenty of behind-the-scenes intrigue have given way to missed deadlines and abandoned plans.

With the Super Bowl set to be played between the defending champion Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots in Glendale, Arizona on Feb. 1, speculation about an NFL team possibly moving to Los Angeles has escalated in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, the owner of the St. Louis Rams announced plans to build an NFL venue in suburban Los Angeles, the first time an existing team owner has controlled a site in the area that is large enough for a modern stadium and parking.

Whether or not this latest proposal proves to be successful, perhaps the most burning question to be asked is: does Los Angeles, the world's entertainment capital that already boasts two successful college football teams, really need the NFL?

"Los Angeles has never needed an NFL team," Daniel Durbin, Director of the USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society, told Reuters.

"L.A. has lost none of its international cache over the last 20 years in spite of losing two NFL teams almost at once. L.A. remains the media capital of the world.   Continued...

The Vince Lombardi Trophy is lifted into the air after the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL's Super Bowl XLIV football game in Miami, Florida, February 7, 2010.     REUTERS/Mike Segar