I have been a fan of Los Angeles sports since I was born. In that time, our teams have won a total of nine championships between our basketball, baseball and hockey teams, and I have yet to attend a parade. This has become increasingly annoying as I've grown up, and has come to a head with the Kings winning the Stanley Cup.
This team has arguably the strongest, most dedicated and tortured fan base out of all others in the city (Clippers included), and they have finally won their first championship. Finally! Of course everyone is excited for the victory parade that will follow, but unfortunately the fans who filled Staples night after night will not be able to attend.
For some reason, these victory parades are always planned in the middle of a weekday when the vast majority of people are at work and unable to attend or even watch the parade. They can partake in none of the festivities that they've waited so long for.
Clearly the fans who attended the night games are not going to be able to come out during the day. The city and team are neglecting these fans who whole-heartedly cheered on their team all season long. The season ticket holders make up a large portion of the audience at games, and they are the ones who essentially make the money for the team. These people are hard at work during the day, so that they can get season tickets next year.
One of the worst parts of having the parade during the day is the traffic. It's bad enough that people are sitting in cubicles, knowing that the festivities are taking place, but then they have to sit through the traffic generated from this to get home, rubbing in their faces what they've missed out on. At any given time the streets and freeways of LA can be packed, but it's a certainty that this will happen on weekday afternoons. So, bringing thousands of more people into the city at this time will only serve to remind fans, as they wait an extra hour to get home, that they couldn't partake in the last celebration of their long awaited Stanley Cup.
Sure, you could argue that if fans really wanted to be there they could take off work or call in sick, but why encourage that kind of behavior? This is a time when people are happy to have any kind of job, and they wouldn't risk it by calling in sick on a day when their favorite team is obviously having a parade.
There are several solutions. One is to hold the parade on a weekend when everyone can come out and be excited about their team. There's the Rose Parade every year, which is longer than the one mile route the Kings went on. People come from all over the nation to see that, and the city is able to accommodate it. There's also large events up in Hollywood every year like the Pride Parade, Halloween on Santa Monica and the Sunset Music Festival. The city somehow can take care of all these events, but can't have a simple, mile long parade on the weekend.
Another option is to skip a parade and have an event like the Kings rally in Staples center. However, do it on a weekend, or at night, in a place like the Coliseum, where over 90,000 people can be a part of the event. There are easily 90,000 Kings fans in Southern California who can fill up the Coliseum on a Saturday, especially if the event is free, as the Kings' was. AEG is part owner of the hockey team and Staples center so that likely had something to do with the locale, but the tickets were free, so they weren't making money anyway.
One huge benefit of having a victory parade or rally on a weekend is what is would do for the local economy. Think about how much money pours in for every USC home football game or even when the Kings were in the Playoffs. By holding the event on a weekday, businesses are getting a bit more revenue from people who wouldn't have otherwise been there, but if they have tens of thousands of more people there on a day when people are feeling relaxed then their wallets may be looser too.
The LA Times posted an article shortly after the parade, in which fans were interviewed. One woman, Meredith Gullion reflected the feelings of many fans. Writer Sam Allen reports:
“The celebration drew new supporters too, such as Meredith Gullion, who said she and her daughter Ella started watching the Kings only recently... 'Hockey is just something different. It's always cool to check out something new,' Gullion said. 'And I can tell you, after this week, my daughter is going to be a fan for life. The tears were running down her face when they won Monday.'”
There are so many fans out there just like Gullion and her daughter who are new to this team and this sport, which is comparably unpopular in southern California. Being able to go to that parade and experience the atmosphere and the fans is something both of them will never forget and now that little girl is a Kings fan. However, the casual fan who jumped on board, is fairly likely to forget the feeling come next regular season. Sure, they'll remember the run and the moment they won, but there won't be any kind of extra special connection there. They had to miss out on a huge part of the fan experience, all because they were doing their job.
One of the best feelings on Earth is the one when your team wins. One of the worst is knowing you won't be able to celebrate with the team you've poured your heart, soul, time and money into all season long. This can easily change. All that needs to be done is to change the event to a weekend. Sure, some people still won't be able to go, but thousands more will, and they'll be selling out the arena every game the next season, excited and ready to see their team do it again.