As the Rams are now officially moving to Los Angeles and maybe the Chargers or Raiders, what does this mean for America’s most popular sport and the television networks from now on? There are quite a few factors for the sports media and the National Football League going forward.
Let’s take a look at what the NFL and its partners will deal with in the immediate future and beyond.
1. Los Angeles becomes an NFC market again
With the Rams moving to LA and most likely playing in the Coliseum, Fox is an immediate winner. Fox will air Rams games into Los Angeles and affiliate KTTV will be the station that will get to broadcast most of them. For the first time since 1994, Los Angeles will now fall under NFL broadcast rules with a home team in the market. And that leads us to number 2.
2. Los Angeles now falls under the NFL blackout rules
If the NFL lifts the blackout rule again for the 2016 season, Los Angeles will be able to watch all of the Rams games. Back in 1994, LA had issues with the blackout rules when the Rams failed to sell out Anaheim Stadium and when the Raiders failed to sell out the Los Angeles Coliseum. Now that a team is back in the market, Los Angeles won’t get the benefit of having a full doubleheader every week. During Rams home games on Sunday afternoons, there won’t be a game on opposite on CBS or Fox depending on which network airs them.
3. The NFL TV contract becomes even more valuable
Getting a team into the Los Angeles market had been a priority for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Seeing how the owners quickly came together tells you how much that they wanted the benefits of having the second-largest media market in the United States back in the fold. This means when the NFL negotiates its next television contracts in 2022, the league will have the benefit of having all of the country’s major media markets involved. And there’s something else that Goodell wants according to attorney Alicia Jessop who contributes to CNBC and writes for RulingSports.com:
2027: The year Goodell wants to reach $25B in annual revenue
LA is a key component for future TV deals. Current deal expires in 2022.
— Alicia Jessop (@RulingSports) January 13, 2016
4. If an AFC team moves into Inglewood with the Rams, what does this mean?
It will mean that as a two-team market, it will be like New York with one game on Fox and another on CBS in separate windows and the league will do its best to not schedule the Rams and either the Chargers or Raiders at the same time. CBS will also gain access to the Los Angeles market, but will fans warm to the Chargers who have been ingrained in San Diego for generations or to the Raiders who still have fans in SoCal?
5. So will we see Los Angeles teams in primetime in 2016?
Most likely. You’ll probably see the Rams and maybe the Chargers on Monday Night and Thursday Night Football, but unless either team turns their fortunes around, you won’t see them on Sunday Night Football. ESPN with a Los Angeles base will likely hype a Rams return to the Coliseum and so would the network airing Thursday Night Football.
6. The Rams now have to find a local radio and TV home
There are several things the Rams have to do as they move to Los Angeles, one is to shore up where they’re going to play (likely the Coliseum) until the Inglewood Stadium is ready in 2019, their team offices, a practice facility and new radio and TV flagships. The Rams will likely find plenty of suitors on radio and for the home of its preseason games on TV.
So there are several factors that the Rams and the NFL are facing right off the bat in the hours and days after the decision to allow the team to move to Los Angeles. How they deal with them and just what direction they head will influence the success of the NFL in Southern California.