By Iman Sadri
The NFL is back in Southern California. After a 22 year hiatus the Los Angeles area is experiencing a professional football resurgence. The Rams have moved out of St Louis and returned to L.A. where they played from 1946 to 1994. The 2016 preseason has bugun and the LA Rams have returned to the L.A. Coliseum where they played from 1946 to 1979. They called Anaheim home from 1980 to 1994. They are 2-0 in the preseason and are holding their training camp at UC Irvine.
Returning to Southern California has given the Rams and their owner Stan Kroenke an opportunity to capitalize on the second largest media market in the country. L.A. and its surrounding counties are an amalgamation of a large and diverse demographic. As the Rams begin to build relationships with corporate sponsors they should also consider tapping into an untapped market, the L.A. Iranian American consumer.
Iranian Americans have a population of nearly one million in So Cal. They are widely considered the most affluent and educated minority group in the United States. A critical factor that the Rams can tap into with the the Iranian diaspora is the discretionary income aspect. Iranian Americans are reported to have a considerablely large discretionary income compared to other minorty groups.
Traditionally Persians have had a high affinity for soccer. However, Iranian Americans have also become ardent NBA fans. The L.A. Lakers have expanded play-by-play radio coverage to have their home games announced in Farsi on AM 670 radio. The M.L.S. has also set its sights on the Iranian marktet in So Cal with the L.A. Galaxy advertising ticket packages in mutliple Iranian magazines.
The Rams have no shortage of fan support. They set an N.F.L. record for attendance for a preseason game with over 89,000 fans in a 28-24 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Expanding to new markets is what visionary businesses do. The N.B.A. has recently reached out to India to expand its global reach. The Rams need to look no further than their own backyard to break into an untapped Iranian American fan base to further expand their product. Tapping into the Persian market could equate to millions in added revenue from ticket sales, merchandising and ads. Football may be a game of inches but the business of football is a game of people.
Iman Sadri blogs for Persian Media outlets and can be reached at ImanSadri22@Gmail.com