LOS ANGELES — The former West Coast headquarters for the N.F.L., the most popular North American professional sports league, was tucked away in Culver City, Calif., a residential Los Angeles suburb, and its neighbors included a mosque, an assisted-living facility and an elementary school.
A window on one side of the building is spattered with cracks, and drivers passing by could miss the N.F.L. Network branding near the entrance because a palm tree partially covers the logo. Inside, the broadcast audio technology was so outdated that employees needed to order parts from eBay because suppliers no longer sold them. The building housed the N.F.L. Network but wasn’t suited to it long-term.
“It was a retrofit job from Day 1,” David Jurenka, a senior vice president for N.F.L. Media, said in an interview.
The league’s new West Coast office and its glitzier setting reflect the N.F.L.’s ambition to be a player in the Los Angeles entertainment scene. The multimillion dollar facility, which opened last year, stands just 50 yards away from SoFi Stadium, the $5 billion venue in Inglewood, Calif., built by the Los Angeles Rams owner E. Stanley Kroenke, and will be surrounded by restaurants and retailers after the remodeled Hollywood Park development is completed.
The N.F.L.’s renewed investment in the Los Angeles market is part of its larger media strategy. After signing media rights deals worth over $100 billion last spring, the league expanded its regular season to 17 games from 16 and ratings skyrocketed as fans reveled in thrillingly close games. The season culminates Sunday with the Super Bowl, featuring the Rams playing in their home stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The sports and cultural spectacle foreshadows big-money deals yet to come.
“Los Angeles gives you star power,” said Daniel Durbin, a communication professor at the University of Southern California, “and don’t underestimate how valuable that is for a brand that really lives on the media.”
The N.F.L., whose main headquarters is on Park Avenue in New York, opened its media office in Los Angeles in 2003, but the organization was isolated from the football world because the market lacked a team. Jurenka said the league scouted other sites in the city before the Rams and Chargers relocated to Los Angeles in 2016, but said Kroenke’s idea to build the new home near his Inglewood stadium made the most sense.
The headquarters was …….