x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

NFL and Los Angeles do not seem to miss each other

Until 1995, Los Angeles had two franchises. Suddenly, it went barren, the Rams relocating to St Louis and the Raiders heading back upstate to Oakland.

NFL traffic has flowed out of Los Angeles with the Rams and Raiders moving to St Louis and Oakland, respectively. With Hollywood Park, a thoroughbred race track, slated to close, calls are out for a football stadium to be built on the grounds to attract an NFL franchise. But the league seems to not miss the City of Angels. And do Los Angelites really care? Kim Johnson Flodin / AP Photo
NFL traffic has flowed out of Los Angeles with the Rams and Raiders moving to St Louis and Oakland, respectively. With Hollywood Park, a thoroughbred race track, slated to close, calls are out for a football stadium to be built on the grounds to attract an NFL franchise. But the league seems to not miss the City of Angels. And do Los Angelites really care? Kim Johnson Flodin / AP Photo

On Sunday I will awaken in the second largest city in the United States and go watch football.

Not at a stadium, but at a restaurant showing televised games — all involving teams from other cities.

Until 1995, Los Angeles had two franchises. Suddenly, it went barren, the Rams relocating to St Louis and the Raiders heading back upstate to Oakland.

Since, the City of Angels has had a devil of a time replacing either uprooted team.

Now the imminent closing of Hollywood Park, a thoroughbred track on prime property that could become a stadium site, has encouraged the football-starved locals.

Four teams — including the Rams and Raiders — could escape their lease agreements by the end of next season.

The prospects have improved for the void being filled, but the NFL couldn’t care less, having hardly suffered from the lack of a Los Angeles presence.

New arenas have spouted elsewhere in part because team owners have used the LA situation as leverage by suggesting that, hey, if we are denied public funding to finance construction, we will pack up and head west.

There is also no great clamour among Los Angelenos to root, root, root for some home team.

It might seem beneficial for the NFL to stick a pin in southern California on its map, but it will not induce a team to change addresses.

Meantime, I look forward to observing the restaurant patrons viewing games on TV.

Wonder who they will cheer for?

sports@thenational.ae