Given the St. Louis Ram’s latest move to become the L.A. Rams again, we thought it would be the perfect time to go over some of the biggest sports-team relocations in history. We’ve assembled a list of 5 moves that left new fans feeling excited, and old fans feeling bitter.
5. Baltimore Ravens
Cleveland to Baltimore
Often referred to by fans as simply, ‘The Move’, The Cleveland Browns packed up shop and moved to Baltimore in 1996. The announcement came after a successful 11-5 season, making it unique on this list, as the team was performing well on the field.
The move left Browns fans extremely bitter towards owner Art Modell, who was losing money at the time after the Cleveland Indians made the move from Cleveland Stadium to Jacobs Field. Protests were held across Ohio featuring big time celebrities like Drew Carey, and even in the most unlikely of places – in Pittsburgh. The announcement that the Browns would be moving mid-season drew Steelers and Browns fans together, and protests were held in Pittsburgh to show solidarity.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
Brooklyn to L.A.
At the mid-season owners meetings in Chicago, Illinois on May 28, 1957, owners voted to move two legendary teams – both the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants to California. The Dodgers would of course settle in Los Angeles, while the Giants would land in San Francisco. Both teams have gone on to become household named franchises, but at the time the move was not a popular one. The city of New York was left heartbroken, until fans turned their attention to the expansion New York Mets in 1962. Still, there was much left to be desired – two New York teams would never play each other on a regular basis again, taking away from what was once a time-honored tradition in the Big Apple.
3. Indianapolis Colts
Baltimore to Indianapolis
In the early hours of March 29, 1984, Robert Irsay managed to move the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis. The move was unannounced, though it came after several years of Irsay pleading with the city to build a new stadium – as Memorial Stadium’s infrastructure further declined. Indianapolis, however, had just built the Hoosier Dome (later renamed the RCA Dome) in 1982, drawing Irsay and the Colts into the city. The move left Baltimore residents bitter (similar to how Cleveland fans felt years later).
2. L.A. Rams
St. Louis to Los Angeles
Just like the 3 prior moves on this list, the recent announcement that the St. Louis Rams were moving to LA left the departing city full of anger. Stan Kroenke, the Missouri native and Rams Owner, has just recently announced that he’s moving the team back to Los Angeles – where the team originally started. Not only did Kroenke move the team, he also published a ‘Dear John’ letter of sorts to the city of St. Louis, an action that has been poorly received by the city. This franchise will not be carrying many followers from St. Louis to Los Angeles with them.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Minneapolis to L.A.
You knew this one had to be on here. After all – how many lakes have you noticed in Los Angeles?
Bob Short, the owner of the Minneapolis Lakers, had paid close attention to the recent move of the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles. Hailed in LA as a smashing success, the Dodgers had proven that LA could support professional sports teams for years to come. After poor attendance and a bad financial year in 1958, Short tried to move the team to both San Francisco and Chicago, but managed on settling with Los Angeles in 1961 after both of those options failed to come to fruition. Minnesota would have to wait 28 years before being rewarded with another NBA franchise, the Timberwolves.