A billboard at a highly-trafficked Hollywood intersection welcoming the NFL’s Rams to Los Angeles has infuriated team’s former city of St. Louis.
The billboard, on the corner of Highland and Franklin Avenue in Hollywood, read: “Los Angeles>St. Louis. Welcome to L.A., guys.”
— Popular Demand (@PopularDemand) March 18, 2016
The billboard was apparently commissioned by clothing retailer Popular Demand, and was not created with the knowledge of the NFL or either team.
But that didn’t stop angry social media users — ostensibly from St. Louis — who blasted the sign, and even created one of their own:
— Mike Samad (@mikesamad) March 29, 2016
— jack (@jackrint) March 29, 2016
— Thomas Buffington (@BuffingtonT) March 29, 2016
Popular Demand CEO Blake Ricciardi told local ABC affiliate KABC that he didn’t intend to bad-mouth the city of St. Louis.
“I just wrote a greater than sign from L.A. to St. Louis. It’s not like I was like, ‘St. Louis is the worst,'” Ricciardi said. “I just think L.A. is better and it’s where we want to be and this is where the Rams want to be.”
“A few [Rams players] may have told us they thought it was amusing,” Ricciardi added to KABC. “I mean it’s funny. I don’t think when they were playing in St. Louis they didn’t like the city at all. But I think they’re also pretty excited to be here. It’s L.A., it’s where everyone wants to be.”
The company was similarly unapologetic on its Twitter feed:
Do better then. We'll wait. https://t.co/nYb4ug1QaD
— Popular Demand (@PopularDemand) March 29, 2016
The billboard has reportedly been taken down.
The Rams won approval to begin a move back to Los Angeles in January. According to ESPN, the team has completed its physical move out of St. Louis, and begins training in Oxnard, California on April 18.