Howard Balzer: ‘There Is Widespread Support For NFL In St. Louis’

It’s a tough time to be a St. Louis Rams fan.

With the team potentially moving to Los Angeles in the very near future, fans are torn between a) supporting the team to show everyone – from ownership to the league office – that they want and need football in St. Louis, and b) feeling disgusted that the team is likely moving, and thus, not wanting to invest any more time, emotion or, most importantly, money on a franchise that has one foot out the door.

What’s the general feeling in St. Louis right now?

“I think there’s a little of both, quite honestly,” Sports XChange NFL reporter Howard Balzer said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I’ve had people express to me – just going around town (and talking) to people I know or people I don’t know – and they say, ‘Hey, I dropped my tickets,’ or ‘I’m not going anymore. The owner (Stan Kroenke) wants us to spend money on the team, but not only won’t he commit to staying here, he doesn’t even say a thing. He doesn’t engage in the community at all and say, Hey, I hope it works out here. I like to support this community. He doesn’t say anything.’ And that turns people off.”

It doesn’t help that the Rams had practice in California this week.

“Do you need a bigger slap in the face than that?” Balzer asked. “(So) I think there is a little of both (of those sentiments). There are those fans who just love football and they’re going to say, ‘Hey, I’m going (to support the team and go to games). Maybe I don’t devote as much of my emotion and passion to it as I normally would because I don’t want to be hurt and all those things, (but I’m still going to go).’ I think they do realize that you don’t want the league or people to say, ‘Hey, look at this, there’s a reason the team’s leaving is you didn’t support them.’ So I think there’s both things at play here.”

Despite reports suggesting otherwise, Balzer said that ticket sales are holding steady in St. Louis. They could be a better, sure, but they’re right on par with last season.

“It’s funny,” Balzar said. “Even in the local business paper, they were talking about how ticket sales are down and there’s 8,000 seats available for the home opener. Well, guess what? The Rams’ average attendance averaged about 8,000 unsold tickets a game (last year) – and that was last year. So how does having 8,000 unsold this year represent a drop? It’s not. It’s about what it was last season. So it’s kind of interesting the way a lot of people portray this and, I think, a lot of times don’t have a lot of true perspective of what’s going on.”

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