Raider Fans Hold Second Los Angeles Rally


Los Angeles, CA. 1/31/2015. Raider fans rally in front of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to support the teams’ potential relocation back to Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Robert Cote.

Raider fans in Los Angeles rallied Saturday for the second time in two months, repeating their calls for the team to return to the city it called home from 1982 until 1995. After roughly 1,000 fans rallied in December near the Staples Center – at the heart of the AEG-controlled area where the Farmers Field stadium proposal would be located – another large contingent of Raider fans held the Saturday rally near the Los Angeles Coliseum, where the Raiders played while they were in Los Angeles.

The organizers of the event stated that turnout was roughly 500 people, not as large as their previous event, citing a conflict with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Fan Fest. Raider fan Andrew Flores, who attended the rally, stated that the crowd increased in size throughout the day, swelling to a high of what he estimated to be 1,000 people. The rally caught the attention of Raider punter Marquette King:

Flores, a resident of Alhambra, a suburb in the San Gabriel Valley just east of Downtown Los Angeles, confirmed the posted schedule of events for the Rally. The Rally started at the USC Rose Garden, then once the crowd had reached a certain size, fans marched to the front of the LA Coliseum, where various speakers addressed the crowd, including organizers and “random fans.” Flores reported that he saw the Original Los Angeles Raiders Boosters and Raider Nation of South Los Angeles clubs in attendance. Fans had been encouraged to bring their children to the event, and photos on the Facebook page “Bring Back the Los Angeles Raiders” includes multiple children. Fans carried flags, banners, and kept chanting throughout the event.

The rally attracted news crews representing three local television stations: CBS affiliates KCBS 2 and KCAL 9 as well as unaffiliated KTLA 5. The event was featured on afternoon newscasts for all three channels. Earlier in the week, I spoke with event organizer Robert Cote, who had hoped that a strong turnout would generate media attention, a tactic which had worked for the December rally. Cote also shared that he and his fellow organizers wanted the Raiders – as well as the Rams and Chargers – to truly follow through with the NFL’s policies on relocation and exhaust their local options fully. He stated that his group’s primary objective was to ensure that, should the City of Oakland and Alameda County fail to provide a new stadium for the team, the franchise would relocate to Los Angeles rather than San Antonio.

Cote’s sentiments were shared by Andrew Flores, saying: “If the City of Oakland and County of Alameda can’t build the Raiders a stadium, then [Mark Davis] will have no choice but to move…Los Angeles will welcome the Raiders back with open arms.”  He went on to add that he makes the five or six hour drive to Oakland for every Raider home game and he’d love to have that long drive reduced to fifteen minutes.

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Online Polls collected by several media outlets, such as the Los Angeles Times, have the Rams as the favorite among locals to be the NFL franchise to return to Los Angeles, while the Raiders are a strong second and the Chargers a distant third. Many Raider fans argue that the polls are skewed by Raider “haters” who don’t have a strong rooting interest in either the Rams or Chargers but simply don’t want to see the Raiders return. The online, unscientific polls by the English-only media sources likely miss a large portion of Los Angeles’ Latino population, which is an enormous part of the Raider fan base. The results of last years’ survey of potential ticket-buyers in Los Angeles remain unreleased. 

Commissioner Roger Goodell stated Friday that, while multiple teams were interested in relocation to Los Angeles, no team as yet had yet to make a determination regarding any of them relocating to Los Angeles. The idea of the Rams returning has picked up a lot of momentum in recent weeks with the announcement that Rams owner Stan Kroenke was planning to redevelop a large portion of the former Hollywood Park site in Inglewood as a football stadium and entertainment complex, adjacent to the LA Forum. Urban development blog CurbedLA noted that it had the most momentum and – for now – seemed the most likely of six potential NFL stadium sites in the Los Angeles area.  Some have speculated that the site could be shared by two NFL teams.

Currently the City of Oakland is accepting bids from both the Raiders and MLB’s Oakland A’s for plans to build a new stadium and redevelop the area around the Coliseum. The A’s currently are the primary tenant of the Coliseum and it appears that the City is pitting the two franchises against each other, meaning the other will likely depart. While most have dismissed it as showmanship and subterfuge, Raiders owner Mark Davis has very publicly been courted by, and spoken to, parties interested in bringing the Raiders to San Antonio, Texas. No NFL franchise will move to LA before the 2015 season, but expect many more fan rallies and maneuvering by franchises in time for the relocation filing date after the 2015 season has been played.