Why Does Los Angeles Have two NFL Teams? (All You Need To Know)

Last Updated on October 1, 2023 by Alex PT

Los Angeles has two NFL teams, the Rams and the Chargers because the league expanded over time and sees the city as a major market with a large population and a strong economy. Additionally, both teams had previously played in other cities before relocating to Los Angeles.

Fact: According to a study by the University of Southern California, the economic impact of the NFL on the Los Angeles economy is estimated to be $1 billion per year.

Why Does Los Angeles Have Two NFL Teams?

1. The Market Size:
Los Angeles, being the second-largest city in the United States, has a considerable market that cannot be ignored. Extensive market size is handsomely advantageous for sports franchises, as they can generate significant revenue from ticket sales, merchandise, and licensing deals.

2. Historical Presence:
Both the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers have a historical presence in the city. The Rams have been associated with Los Angeles since 1946, while the Chargers started in Los Angeles in 1960 before moving to San Diego and then returning in 2017.

3. Fanbase:
Los Angeles has a robust, diverse, and passionate fanbase. Having two NFL teams helps to satisfy the large demand for football in the city, while also presenting options to fans to support their preferred team.

4. Stadium Availability:
The presence of large, high-quality stadiums such as the SoFi Stadium also facilitates housing more than one NFL team. Such stadiums can accommodate the home games of multiple teams along with other events.

5. Economic Impact:
Having two NFL teams means double the economic benefits for the city, in terms of generated jobs, increased tourism, and business for local establishments on game days.

6. Competition:
Having two teams creates a natural rivalry and brings an added layer of excitement and competition. Additionally, it provides more opportunities for Los Angeles to host prestigious football events and games.

7. Media Market:
Los Angeles is one of the largest media markets in the world. Having two NFL teams provides more content for media outlets, translating into increased attention and revenue for the teams and the league.

In summary, while it may seem unusual for a city to have two NFL teams, for a city like Los Angeles with its significant market size, historical team presence, passionate fans, quality stadiums, economic benefits, competitive spirit, and vast media market, it makes practical sense.

History of the Los Angeles Rams

History of the Los Angeles Rams

The defending champions, the Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles in 1946, and the other league owners were not happy with this move. The reason for this resistance was partly due to concerns that Los Angeles could potentially become the hub of a rival league. All home matches for the Rams were played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, at the time shared with two NCAA teams – UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans – and an AAFC franchise, the Los Angeles Dons.

It was the establishment of the Rams that prompted the league to lift its moratorium on African-American players that had been around since the early 1930s: Part of the terms of the Rams’ lease on the Coliseum required the team to integrate, and for that, the Rams signed former UCLA stars Woody Strode and Kenny Washington. 

The Rams quickly established as an NFL powerhouse, winning 7 straight divisional titles from 1973 through to 1979, with top quarterbacks such as Roman Gabriel and the legendary Fearsome Foursome, consisting of Lamar Lundy, Rosey Grier, Merlin Olsen, Jones, and Rosey Grier.

Rams Move to Anaheim

By 1979 the Rams was already a successful franchise and made it to their first Super Bowl. However, they had been dissatisfied with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. For most of the Rams’ stay there, it was the largest stadium in the NFL, with about 90,000 seats. However, even in the Rams’ best playing years, the cavernous venue always sold out very infrequently, causing blackouts of Rams games on the local TV.

Additionally, it was located in the South Central of Los Angeles, which was tagged for being one of the city’s more dangerous neighborhoods; it had begun going to seed from the 1960s onward.

The Coliseum also lacked adequate nearby parking space. At various times they shared the stadium with both the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans football teams. Team Owners (Carroll Rosenbloom, followed by his widow Georgia Frontiere) were unable to persuade the city to build a new stadium in Los Angeles, so they decided to move out of the Coliseum to Anaheim (which was 28 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles) in the Orange County, which was at that time experiencing an enormous boom in population and construction.

Rams played in Anaheim Stadium from the beginning of 1980, which already had a football press box built in the upper deck when it opened in 1966. Furthermore, other renovations included enclosing the facility by building luxury suites in the mezzanine “club” level and extending the stadium’s three decks (the stadium had previously been open to the outside)

Los Angeles Raiders

Los Angeles Raiders

History of the Los Angeles Raiders

 In 1982 the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum received another NFL team, when the Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles to become the Los Angeles Raiders. Davis, the team owner, relocated there with the disapproval of NFL commissioner Pete Rozellehis or fellow owners. The major factor for Davis’s move to the Coliseum—despite its flaws as a football team—was his opinion that the NFL would eventually approve pay-per-view tele Deacon casts for its games.

Such a move would potentially give the Raiders a virtual TV monopoly in Los Angeles, which was the nation’s second-largest TV market. Davis also managed to persuade the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission to renovate the stadium, particularly by installing scores of luxury boxes.

The Raiders continued to replicate the success they had in Oakland after the move south, by winning Super Bowl XVIII in January 1984—which at that time was the only Super Bowl-winning team under the city of Los Angeles until 2022—and reaching heights such as AFC Championship Game after the 1990 season.

However, the team had a controversial reputation off the field, as its silver and black colors became associated with Los Angeles’ notorious street gangs. More importantly, the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission never gave Davis the lucrative package of amenities he was promised. The NFL’s broadcast contracts also never implemented the pay-per-view. Additionally, owing to concerns about the area around Exposition Park and the Raiders’ difficulty in selling tickets for their home games, they received television blackouts in Los Angeles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Football Team Was First in Los Angeles?

The Rams were the first team in the NFL to play in Los Angeles (Los Angeles Buccaneers were strictly a road team in 1926), but the Rams were not the only professional football team to play at the Los Angeles Coliseum between 1946 and 1949.

Why Did the Los Angeles Rams Move to Los Angeles?

After poor attendance at home games and poor on-field performance, on January 17, 1995, Los Angeles Rams management announced the team would move to St. Louis.

Did the Rams Ever Win a Superbowl for Los Angeles?

Yes, based in the Greater Los Angeles area, one Super Bowl (2000), and the Rams have won two NFL championships (1945 and 1951). The Los Angeles Rams is an American professional gridiron football franchise that plays in the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL). 

How Did the Name Raiders Come to Be?

The Oakland Raiders were originally going to be called the “Oakland Señors” after the name finished first in a  name-the-team contest, but was was eventually changed to the Raiders.

The Final Word

Currently, Los Angeles is the home to the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers which are both powerhouses of the NFL. Both teams announced their intention to return to Los Angeles (but The Raiders moved to Las Vegas) in January 2017. Both teams now share the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, which opened in 2020.

Reference 1: Sports in Los Angeles – Wikipedia

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