Two teams sharing Los Angeles market cause for concern, experts say

Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:20pm EST
 
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By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - Having two NFL teams in Los Angeles may prove too much for the city to handle and the timing could not be worse, according to sports industry analysts, with the struggling Rams and Chargers rebuilding.

The Chargers' decision on Thursday to leave San Diego for Los Angeles and join the Rams, who returned in 2016 after a 21-year stint in St. Louis, suddenly gives the city two options after decades of not having any team.

"The fan base there has developed into NFL agnostic. And that is a very hard thing to change," Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based consulting firm Sports Corp, told Reuters.

"It takes time, it takes success on the field, it takes success with marketing and community outreach and that doesn't happen overnight."

Ganis, who helped move the Rams and Raiders out of Los Angeles, called the city a challenging market compared to places like Chicago or Green Bay given warm fall weather, alternative activities and a number of strong college sports programs.

The Chargers will offer a more intimate NFL fan experience by playing out of the 27,000-seat StubHub Center in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson for the next two seasons, the same venue where Major League Soccer's L.A. Galaxy play and former home of the now-defunct Chivas USA.

"Notice we are not talking about Chivas anymore. Because they could not find any foothold against a more popular and more successful L.A. Galaxy team and they folded completely," Victor Matheson, a specialist in sports economics who teaches at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, told Reuters.

"There certainly are concerns about that especially if one team for whatever reason ends up with a much better product on the field."   Continued...

 
San Diego Chargers' President and Chief Executive Dean Spanos is pictured during a news conference at the NFL team's headquarters in San Diego, California January 9, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake