How the Rams’ Super Bowl victory sets the table for the next generation of LA fans

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INGLEWOOD, California – In a city where success is only measured in titles, the Los Angeles Rams arrived at their own palace-filled stadium for Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI with plenty to catch up on.

When Rams picked up and left St. Louis in 2016 to return to Los Angeles, they never avoided that they were on their way to the Lakers’ city. Dodgers’ at. Heck, even a USC football town.

Los Angeles had not been a professional football city for 22 years, and even before the Rams traveled to St. Louis. Louis in 1995 after 48 years in Southern California, the Dodgers and Lakers reigned supreme. The Rams knew that the only way to win over a city so plagued by rings and banners was to start assembling their own.

Six years into these efforts, the Rams took their first step – a big one – in the right direction on Sunday night. In a dramatic, entertaining Super Bowl, the Rams came past the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 and won their first Lombardi trophy while living in a zip code in LA.

“The most important thing we can do to build this franchise after being away for 20 years is to capture the next generation of fans,” said Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff. “The best way to catch the next generation, it’s not about turning someone who is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and grew up in Pittsburgh and moved to Los Angeles to become a Rams fan. It’s great if that happens. , but it may not be realistic.What it’s about their children, who are 8, 9, 10 years old, growing up wearing Cooper Kupp jerseys, wearing Aaron Donald jerseys and becoming Rams fans for life.

For the Rams, it’s about more than winning. People like Demoff and the recipient Robert Woods know what it takes to connect to this city because this is where they grew up.

As the 1980s Showtime Lakers or Dodgers of “Fernandomania” days or even Wayne Gretzky Kings of the NHL can attest, it only works if the victories come with a healthy dose of entertainment.

Win a title, but do it in a way that makes the celebrities show up in droves and ensures that fans can not look away when the game is in progress.

“We have the football team here; we have to be a part of this LA heritage, LA history,” Woods said. You have to win championships in LA You can win NFC championships; you can win playoff matches, but that’s not what we do here in LA, I feel like we win championships. We make our fans proud; we make them loyal fans and this is how you do it.You win championships.You have parades on the way down Figueroa or whichever street we are going down but it is super effective for kids growing up, for new fans growing up “How to be their favorite team. is how you get long, loyal fans. You get rings, you get trophies.”

The Rams’ victory over the Bengals offered a window into what it might look like. At a Sofi Stadium that had plenty of Cincinnati fans, the Rams’ growing fan base made its collective voice heard in a few key moments, none greater than when Anders pressed and pulled Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow down to fourth down to force the game’s seal of completion. .

Among the many celebrities in attendance: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Prince Harry, Matt Damon, Charlize Theron, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, LeBron James, Justin Bieber, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Drake, Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, Sean Penn and Mark Wahlberg.

It was no coincidence that all of these coryphaeus were present to see a Rams team built on a foundation of stars like Donald, Kupp, Matthew Stafford, Jalen Ramsey, Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. and led by a rock star head coach in Sean McVay.

“The one thing we all talk about is that we are in the entertainment industry and sports are entertainment,” Demoff said. “Looking at Los Angeles, the teams that have been synonymous with winning have had stellar power. Maybe it’s unique to this market, but it was certainly a plan that has been delivered to generations of Angelenos to understand, how to win. It does. It does not have to be the same, but you know what it looks like. “

To be sure, even after Sunday’s victory, the Rams are nowhere near approaching Laker and Dodger levels of support in this city.

As recently as January 30, the Rams hosted an NFC championship game that was overrun by fans of the rival San Francisco 49ers. It’s an experience that left Demoff frustrated, at least until the Rams made a comeback in the fourth quarter to advance to the Super Bowl.

It may still be a while before Sofi Stadium’s speakers release their trademark “WHO’S HOUSE ?!” and the responding fans can say without question that it belongs to the Rams.

But Sunday’s victory should help speed up a process that the Rams know will take longer. And more banners.

“I absolutely believe we can be at the level the Dodgers and Lakers have been and continue to be,” Demoff said. “But these teams have had decades of success, the championships, built a deep, multicultural fanbase. Stars. Legends. Hall of Famers. … You can not get to be at the top of this market by having a great season. You get to the top of this market by having a great season after great season after great decade after good decade and building fans and generations of fans with it. “

After all, no franchise in this city achieves true validation until it produces some blockbuster successors.


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