During their return season to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Rams have not delivered big numbers when it comes to attendance and television ratings.
The move to Los Angeles was hyped for a number of reasons. In addition to representing the NFL’s return to the city, the arrival of the Rams was something of a homecoming, as they were returning to the place they called home from 1946-1994 before moving to St. Louis.
Yet in their debut season, the Rams are not drawing big interest from the L.A. market in a few key categories. TV ratings for most of their games have been unimpressive and, relative to the size of the market and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, their attendance figures are not blowing away the rest of the league. More from Yahoo!:
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar broke down the television ratings numbers, and they’re a little surprising. The Rams, back in Los Angeles after 21 seasons in St. Louis, are not drawing huge ratings. They’re averaging a 9.4, or 9.8 when an early start game on Oct. 23 in London is not counted. Ratings in St. Louis were much better for Rams games. The Post-Dispatch said the worst rating for a Rams game in 21 seasons was a 10.6, and that came in 2013 when the St. Louis Cardinals were playing a World Series game at the same time.
Rating is based on percentage of homes tuned into a program. It makes sense that the Rams aren’t drawing a higher percentage of viewers in massive Los Angeles than they did in St. Louis. And a lower rating in Los Angeles still could mean many more viewers than they were getting in St. Louis, since it’s based on percentage. However, the Post-Dispatch also said that two other NFL games (Oakland-Carolina, Denver-Kansas City) drew better ratings in Los Angeles on Sunday than the Rams’ 8.4 for its 49-21 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The USC-Notre Dame game last weekend drew a better rating there too.
The Rams’ attendance numbers can be looked at in two ways, too. They are filling just 89.4 percent of their capacity this season, one of only two NFL teams under 90 percent capacity this season according to ESPN. The other team under 90 percent is the San Diego Chargers, who might move to Los Angeles after the season. Like L.A. seems to be clamoring for a second team.
If you want to be positive about the Rams’ attendance, their average of 83,687 is second in the NFL. However, they also have the second-largest stadium in the NFL and a market of more than four million people. If the Rams didn’t rank that high, there would be a serious issue.
There are a handful of factors in play, the most obvious being the Rams’ performance. Entering this week’s action, the Rams are 4-7–good for third in the four-team NFC West. The team has also not had a lot of marquee opponents at home this season, which diminishes interest to a certain extent.
Another issue could be the stadium. One of the most-anticipated aspects of the Rams’ return to L.A. has been the team’s new stadium, which will be located in Inglewood. Ground was just broken for the facility, which is not expected to open until 2019–meaning that the Rams will continue playing at the Coliseum through at least the 2018 season.
While the Coliseum has a lot of historical value, attending a game there does not have novelty factor for Los Angeles football fans. The USC Trojans have used the Coliseum for years, and will continue to do so after the Rams depart, so it is not as the venue has had a shortage of exposure to fans in the area.
The Rams’ return to L.A. was a notable moment for the franchise and the city, but the team is still very much in a period of transition. It stands reason, however, that the Rams will improve over the next several seasons, picking up increased fan interest along the way.