The Lakers just won the NBA championship, and Southern California celebrated with them, with hundreds of thousands of fans attracted to a parade down Figueroa Street and a rally at the Coliseum.
There are 122 teams in the NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball. And Southern California is home to the team that best repays its fans "for all the emotion, money and time fans invest," according to an ESPN study to be unveiled today.
That team is not the Lakers. That team is the Angels.
The Angels have ranked as the most fan-friendly baseball team for six consecutive years in the annual ESPN study, but this is the first time the Angels have ranked No. 1 among all the teams in the four major North American sports leagues.
The Lakers ranked No. 51. The Clippers ranked last, at No. 122.
When Arte Moreno bought the Angels in 2003, he bet he could transform an intermittently successful team marketed to Orange County into a perennial powerhouse by expanding its reach to Los Angeles and beyond, in the process generating enough revenue to keep the player payroll up and ticket costs down.