L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti on Having Two NFL Teams: ‘I Think We Could Have Been Happy With Just the Rams’

AP J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Now that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has secured the Olympics for his city, he’s turned his attention to other sports. Specifically, he’s turned his attention to the two NFL teams who have moved to Los Angeles.

Both the Rams and Chargers played in Los Angeles last weekend, and the early returns were not good. Not only did both teams lose, their combined attendance was lower than the total attendance for the USC game the night before. The Chargers failed to sell-out the relatively small StubHub Center, a soccer stadium that only seats 27,000 people. Meanwhile the Rams drew over 56,000 for their game against the Redskins. Adding insult to injury, almost half the fans in attendance were Redskins fans.

In comparison, USC played Texas on Saturday night before a crowd of over 84,000.

Garcetti hearkened back to when discussions of bringing football back to Los Angeles first began, “I said that at the time, both the Raiders and the Chargers, it would have been nice if they could have stayed put where they are, because Oakland and San Diego have huge fan bases, there’s a big tradition.”

The Raiders ended up opting to go to Las Vegas, they’ll relocate from Oakland in 2020.

“We embrace any team that comes,” Garcetti said. “We’re certainly happy to have the Chargers in L.A., but I think we could have been happy with just the (Rams).”

Given the hostility to the Chargers in San Diego, and the extreme lack of excitement expressed by their adopted fan base, and mayor. It’s now safe to say that the Chargers aren’t wanted in their former hometown, or their new hometown.

With concessions and ticket sales making-up a significant part of the NFL’s revenue sharing structure, it’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the league reacts if the attendance woes for the two Los Angeles teams continue. For now, the league will likely weather the storm just fine. NFL teams make most of their money from the television contract, and, considering that getting the NFL back to Los Angeles was a major goal of the league, it’s likely that some patience will be shown in the near term.

However, sooner or later the Rams and Chargers will have to produce.

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