As much as I would love to see my Raiders every week, I would much rather see them amongst my peers of die-hard Raider fans in the Oakland area. Unfortunately, with the Raiders’ quest for a new stadium in limbo, a move to Los Angeles becomes more likely as the Los Angeles area continues to secure a new stadium. A NFL team should economically succeed in Los Angeles’ second largest market, but it should not be the Raiders.
As a Los Angeles fan of the Oakland Raiders, I believe the Raiders are far more valuable to the city of Oakland. As an active member of Raider Nation, I understand what the Raiders mean to the city of Oakland. The team’s swagger and tradition appeal to the small market community of Oakland, so I know losing the team could be devastating for many Oakland fans. Not to mention, changing the uniforms, color, and logo of the team would erase a historic piece of the entire National Football League.
Unfortunately, The Raiders have become a leading candidate to fulfill the vacancy in Los Angeles, due to their stadium situation. As Marcus Allen noted, the team has roots in Los Angeles, and Los Angeles has a craving for football, which seems like a logical match. Mark Davis recently turned his focus to the teams’ on the field progress, but has not ruled out a return to Los Angeles, in the past.
However, in order for a team to really succeed in Los Angeles, a new team and new brand must present itself, so fans can unite for years to come. Los Angeles fans want a winner but they also need a brand to attach themselves to. The Lakers and Dodgers were able to adapt their established brands to the landscape, but times are different as the entertainment capital presents many options. I mean the Clippers have been in Los Angeles for years and still struggle establishing a devoted fan base.
With two pro-hockey teams, two pro-baseball teams, and two pro-basketball teams, Los Angeles does have a thirst for professional sports, however, that does not mean they will be committed fans. There is currently no professional team playing football on Sundays, so residents of Los Angeles divide their loyalty between UCLA and USC Football, as well as rotating affiliations with California’s NFL teams and whoever is winning.
On the other had, being a Raider fan and a resident of Southern California has taught me the amount of love Los Angeles fans still have for the Raiders. They were quick winners as Jim Plunkett described, but it was short-lived as the team competed with Los Angeles’ many sports teams including the Los Angeles Rams. As Pluckett said the area did not possess the same type of devoted fans as Oakland.
Los Angeles still does have a bandwagon culture, so I would hate to see Raider games filled with jerseys from the Cowboys, 49ers, Chargers, and Rams who also have connections to the area. Many of those fans may never affiliate themselves with the Silver and Black, even if the Raiders are winning.
Added, many of the young Los Angeles fans’ were not even around when the Raiders were there and winning. Further, most casual NFL fans in Los Angeles have a negative stigma about the Oakland Raiders due to the last decade of losing. Hence, Los Angeles fans’ will not truly appreciate the brand and tradition of the Oakland Raiders.
What Los Angeles really needs is a team with a brand new identity that reflects and unites the diverse area of Los Angeles, rather than a team with embedded roots in another city. Los Angeles does need a football team, but it is not the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders do need a new stadium but hopefully it will be in their native Oakland, rather than Los Angeles.