Office Hours: Arash Markazi Talks The State of Los Angeles Sports

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Welcome to a new episode of Office Hours: a podcast where Front Office Sports CEO Adam White has a discussion with figures from throughout the sports industry centered around three basic questions. Those questions are “What’s on your mind today?”, “What are you excited about?”, and “Any big ideas or theories you want to share?”

Arash Markazi is a sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times whose resume also includes stops at ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and SLAM. Markazi chats with White in today’s episode about football’s future in L.A., covering the city’s high profile teams at every level, and overcoming hard times personally and professionally.

Edited highlights appear below:

On how the Los Angeles market can handle two professional football teams (4:42)

Markazi: “I think it could handle two. I don’t think one of the two should be the Chargers. I think everyone in Los Angeles views them as San Diego’s team. It would be the same as if the Padres came up here. It’s no knock on the Chargers, but we don’t believe that they are Los Angeles’ team. That’s going to be hard for them, whereas the Rams have a history here. They have the 50-year history here. The Chargers were in San Diego for 56 years…So I do believe it could support two, but I don’t think one of the two could or should be the Chargers.”

On the idea of Los Angeles eventually hosting another Olympic games (23:18)

Markazi: “I think it’ll be fantastic in the sense that there’s no venue being built that’s going to be used as a parking lot or something. I mean, we’ve seen those depressing pictures of when they build something and it’s not used. Every facility that we have for all the pro sports teams that we touched on, they will be used. So once the Olympics are done, there will be a let down because I think everyone’s going to be looking forward to 2028, I believe. But once it’s done, it’s not like they’re going to demolish the venue, they’re going to be used. And I think that should be the model moving forward and having it in cities that these venues and can host it right now.”

Office Hours is Presented to You By Bittrex

On social media’s effect on his career (33:03)

Markazi: “You know, I love social media in terms of, it’s, uh, it’s the ability to kind of talk to fans, talk to readers, to connect with people. So when I have a story, you know, it would be one thing if it just posted online. But the fact that I can like hear from people and say like, Oh, I really liked this, or like I don’t like this and I don’t agree with you here. And so, um, it, it’s been fantastic. And, and so I think it’s improved and really where it’s improved my job is if I’m like at a game covering it and all of a sudden something happens on television or, or what, or you know, there’s a scene that I didn’t see but it’s being talked about on Twitter, on Twitter. It does shape how I cover that game, you know. Um, so I think it’s been a good thing for sure.”

On what team is L.A.’s flagship team (47:09)

Markazi: “I think the Lakers are the brand that like, no matter what they do, are going to be like the heart and soul of Los Angeles, I think. The city really proved that by supporting them over the past six years. For six years, they had the worst percentage in the league. Them and the Knicks were tied as the two worst teams for the past six years and the fans were still there, they supported them, they sold out games. So now that they have two of the top five players and now that they are a championship contender, I think they are one of those teams that I think will always rate well, draw well. So that’ll be interesting. I am very, like we touched on, very interested if the Clippers continue with this sustained success and certainly if they win a championship, how does that change their dynamic here? Because right now if you’re a Lakers fan, you really don’t like the Clippers…How does a new arena, how does a championship, how does sustained success change them?”

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