Take some time to enjoy this hopeful moment as it hovers over professional playing fields and arenas from downtown to Carson, from Chavez Ravine to Exposition Park.
It’s late September, and there’s cause for hope for each of Los Angeles’s six professional franchises from the four major sports – soccer and e-sports might be getting close to such status, but we’ll limit ourselves to baseball, football, basketball and hockey.
The Dodgers have been maddening in their ability to inspire equal parts hope and frustration this season, rearing up here, stumbling there, yet they’re in striking distance of the playoffs with about a week left in the regular season.
The Rams and Chargers both have talented rosters, and their NFL seasons are young enough to maintain fans’ optimism against the backdrop of an interesting contradistinction – the Rams, it seems, must make the Super Bowl to live up to their fans’ expectations while the Chargers will likely satisfy their supporters simply by making the playoffs.
The Lakers have brashly ignited hopes, landing LeBron James and making other moves that all but ensure a return to a competitive footing this year while suggesting glory could be on the horizon.
The Clippers have done less in terms of personnel but offer a different, longer-term brand of hope with a plan to step out of the Lakers’ shadow with their own arena in Inglewood.
Then there are the Kings, who are coming off a disappointing year but have been good enough for long enough to get the benefit of the doubt – which means there’s reason to hope the hockey club is once again part of the NHL’s elite this season.
Good question because you could put all the revenue and profits from all six of the teams in one bucket – and add the multiplier effect of bars, restaurants, hotels, parking lots and merchandise makers who benefit from the teams’ presence – and the sum total still wouldn’t be on par with aerospace or the garment trade or food processing or construction or other major industries here. The value of all six of Los Angeles’ professional teams together comes to about $15 billion, according to Forbes’ most recent calculations. That’s about 1/10th the value of Walt Disney Co., the largest publicly traded company in the L.A. market.
But here’s the catch: Most companies don’t draw daily coverage from the local media. There aren’t any other enterprises that sell hundreds of thousands of tickets – more than 3 million in the Dodgers’ case – each year to fans who want to watch the business’ core operations. No other businesses have as much impact on the collective mood of the people who make up this market.
There’s plenty of hope to go around at this moment, and that makes it worth savoring – especially if you’ve already given up hope for the local college football teams.
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