Back in the game
The Rams' return to L.A. brings excitement ... and more options.
The Rams are back in L.A., and the excitement is evident, but the playing field is crowded with other passionate fans.
They’re back! And even though it wasn’t the best of starts for the Rams in their opening game with a Los Angeles moniker after 21 years, playing golf on Sunday morning and then tailgating at the Coliseum or gathering with friends to cheer on the team is back on the fall and winter schedule of Southland fans.
“It has really re-engaged one of the top sports markets in the nation,” said Omer Hadad, sports program director for Los Angeles-based apparel company JH Design Group. “Fans have been watching on Red Zone whatever their favorite team is but not having been able to plan to attend a game … for over 20 years. It is a different level of excitement for a city that has been hungry for it.”
But this is L.A., so transplants abound, as well as a generation of NFL fans who grew up with no home team to support. That’s why it’s common to see a variety of team logos on clothing and golf gear, among other items.
“You have a lot of passionate NFL fans, and they are proud to show off their team colors, be it a polo shirt, cap or jacket,“ said Don McPherson, president of Antigua Apparel.
Having attended this year’s first preseason game at the Coliseum, where the Rams defeated the Dallas Cowboys, Hadad saw firsthand how diverse the local crowd is.
“While you have Rams fans excited about having their team back, you also have an entire generation of fans, who have become fans of other teams because there was no team in Los Angeles to support,” he said. “You saw young and old fans wearing Giants, Raiders, Seahawks, Cardinals and Redskins gear, among others. They are just as excited now that their team might be visiting here. You have all 32 teams represented as someone’s favorite NFL team here in Los Angeles.”
JH Design’s high-end wool jackets and wool-leather varsity jackets are a popular NFL product, with Rams fans among the company’s primary customers.
“It’s a statement about one’s level of passion for their team,” Hadad said. “Los Angeles is a very fashion-forward market and we appeal to street-wear consumers and the person who wants an all-leather jacket he can wear for 20 to 25 years. Our jackets transcend weather conditions. We are successful because we combine a classic look with the best materials, and NFL fans gravitate toward that.”