LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Despite their best efforts to prevent Bay Area residents from overwhelming SoFi Stadium, the Los Angeles Rams will have to be well prepared for a massive influx of San Francisco 49ers fans in attendance at the NFC Championship this weekend.
Saturday, 49ers fans started arriving at LAX ahead of the much-anticipated event.
StubHub announced on Friday that the game is already trending towards becoming the best-selling NFL Playoff game - except the Super Bowl - in their site's history.
Last time the Niners came to town, Rams fans at SoFi were overwhelmed by a sea of red, as visiting fans seemingly took over the arena.
"We travel well, and we are Niner Nation," said one fan arriving in Los Angeles.
Now, the Rams and their fans are hard set on preventing a repeat of their Week 17 showdown, both in regards to the fans and the game result - which the Rams lost in overtime.
"My dad was a Rams fan," said one fan Saturday morning to CBSLA. "He actually had a ram as a pet and he would bring it to the games for encouragement."
CBS reporters were on hand at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday evening to catch some of the droves of Bay Area locals heading into the Southland. According to a ticket sales report from StubHub, 57% of tickets sold to Californians for Sunday's game were from Southern California, while the remaining 43% hail from the Northern California region.
"Been a fan for a long time," said Brian Steiner, one of the many 49er fans arriving in Los Angeles on Friday evening, "Always been a Niner fan."
He'll be attending the game on Sunday with his family in tow, including his brothers and his dad. However, quite to the dismay of the Steiner boys, their father will be rooting for the Rams despite being outnumbered. "My dad's the only one really following the Rams right now," he continued, "all the boys are following the Niners."
Other videos on social media showed caravans of Niners fans rolling into Los Angeles city limits, with San Francisco flags flying out of their windows.
It seems that the Rams attempts to block San Francisco residents from attending the game may have backfired, as third-party ticket sellers joined StubHub in announcing record-breaking sales in the days leading up to Sunday's showdown.
Home field advantage amounts to very little in the playoffs, something that NFL fans are all too familiar with, especially since last year was the first time in league history where a Super Bowl hosting team was the same team that actually won the Super Bowl.
49er fans are hoping that their overwhelming presence will help the players perform better on Sunday, "They're gonna feed off of our energy, and hopefully they get the job done," said another fan who arrived over the weekend for the big game.
Still, Rams fans are more than hopeful, as many attended a series of events on Friday including those who stopped to enjoy Rams themed pastries from Randy's Donuts.
Hundreds of fans were also in attendance in Thousand Oaks, as they were given free gear and memorabilia to sport at Sunday's game, some of whom were even equipped with the horns of a ram that was a family pet back in the 1980's. They were joined by Rampage, the team's mascot, and several of their cheerleaders at the event.
Regardless of what team's fans head into the city, business owners are at the ready, with the NFC Championship game on Sunday and the Super Bowl just a few short weeks after. Many are optimistic that the influx of business should help them recover from the strain placed upon their enterprises by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, and the winner will secure a berth in Super Bowl LVI, against whoever wins the AFC Championship showdown between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs.
for more features.