LOS ANGELES – Angel Fabela taught Spanish as a teenager so he could communicate with his grandfather and spent most of his adult life trying to connect to his Mexican heritage. This was not a simple football game. It was not a game where his Los Angeles Rams will meet in a potential Super Bowl to Kansas City Chiefs in Primetime.
For Fabela and many other Mexican Americans throughout Southern California, it was a trip. He bought six tickets, three of them were for friends who were traveling from Illinois. He would take his 14-year-old son out of school, visit the sun's pyramid and meet other fans who would make the trip and enjoy the combination that included seeing their favorite team in their home country.
On Thursday I was raised.
On Tuesday his spirit was rejected.
"I'm disappointed right now," said Fabela, 48. "I'm very angry."
On Tuesday afternoon, NFL announced that the expected duel had to be moved from Mexico City to Los Angeles on Monday night by conditions under the standards presented by Estadio Azteca.
Players of Rams are in Colorado Springs, Colorado acclimating to the height of Mexico City and expressing joy and joy on Twitter. Thousands of Los Angeles-based fans who could not do 1800-mile journeys worked the same way, excited by the first Monday night at the Los Angeles Coliseum since 1985.
Clark Hunt, owner of the team, knows what an international match represents as an exhibition for his brand and how many fans they can capture.
Among the commitments planned for painting were visits to hospitals, a 10 kilometer long race and the construction of a playground.
Raul Allegre looks at what might be on "Monday Night Football" and fears that the league does not return to Mexican soil.
But many others, like Fabela, who spent months excited for such a fun game at such a special place, suddenly felt empty.
People like Henry Yep, a long photographer of Rams who lost his mother when he was very young and would get to know the city where she grew up or Mario Aguilar, correction chief who works in San Diego and lives south of the border and he had bought 10 tickets for his family and friends. Even Roman Torres, who pretended to enjoy Mexico with his uncle, taught him to love Rams.
"I think" bittersweet "is the right word," says Kevin Demoff, Chief Executive Officer of Rams, about the change of events.
Demoff had just visited Azteca Stadium a few weeks ago and did not think the game was in danger. League officials expressed some concern in October about Shakira concert and football matches. But, as Demoff said, "they had a plan." He spoke to Rams and judged that the camp was "safe" even though it did not look great.
After there was a lot of rains, more events and for Monday, people who reviewed the state of the court saw a final appearance, and that's just when moving the game to Los Angeles became a real opportunity.
Suddenly, Rams, who still regrets 10-minute shooting of its facilities and fires that shifted 100 members of their organization, hurry to organize one of the most important games in the campaign in just six days. Your ticket office in Agoura Hills, California is still in the evacuation zone, so employees are spread out on other points so everything is going well.
As a law officer, said: "It's absolutely madness."
Rams does everything they can to satisfy all parties. The people who suffered from the latest tragedies and those who responded to them offer them "thousands of complementary tickets". For those who have taken care of the whole year, they got an exclusive window to buy their tickets and they are significantly cheaper than traveling to Mexico City. For those who planned to make the trip, they will try to give special access.
But that's where the frames can act.
It depends on NFL if the fans will get their money for tickets to Estadio Azteca. Hotel bookings will not be, nor will a large part of the airline tickets happen. The excitement of a journey that can change your life can not be replaced.
"I'm ruined," said Yep, 57, of Upland, California.
"It's a big disappointment because we were expecting it with great enthusiasm," said Torres, 35, from Whittier, California. "We wanted to go because we knew it would take place in Mexico, it's a trip we planned for six months."
"You have to believe me when I say I'm really happy for the players who will be able to perform in a field under good conditions," said Fabela while talking about Rams horns painted with the Mexican flag. "I'm happy for fans in Los Angeles who would not Mexico and now they will have an extra game, I'm just annoyed that it should not have come to this."
Ulises Harada is founder and speaker of the podcast Primero y Diez, which has become one of the most popular NFL sites in Mexico. Harada does not owe Rams, Chiefs or NFL to move the game. Blame the bosses of the Aztec Stadium, where the grass, in Harada, is constantly in "terrible" state. He can not imagine how they could escape this situation from their hands.
"People here are very angry and very disappointed," said Harada. "That's the truth, it's frustrating."
Despite this, Harada believes that the thrill of this game was less than that of the last two matches on Monday night in Mexico City despite the fact that both teams are 9-1. There are not enough Chiefs and Rams fans in the country.
Harada identifies four areas of NFL fans in Mexico City, who are as passionate about football as any other city in the world.
The first part consists of Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, teams broadcast in Mexico in the seventies. The other group is San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots (Tom Brady is not bad). The third has other teams of successful careers like Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos.
"After these teams, all other groups of fans are very small," says Harada.
Rams and Chiefs are part of the last group, but they had a rare opportunity to change that situation, especially the framework. According to the 2010 census, 35.8% of the population in Los Angeles County consists of Mexicans (that is 3 million 510,000 677 people). In Orange County there are 28.5%, in San Bernardino 41.7%, in Ventura 35.6%, in Riverside 39.5% and in San Diego, 28.1%.
Ram's recent successes, their infectious feelings and growing popularity would have given him the opportunity to attract more followers in the second largest city in the Western Hemisphere. With an exciting victory, they could leave Mexico City with a new market.
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"This was an excellent opportunity to create that group of fans," says Demoff, whose team has not yet played another international game in 2019. "Hopefully we have the opportunity to return next year, play there and solve all these issues."
Ramsna organizes community events planned in Mexico, which include visits to hospitals, delivery of a donation and construction of a playground. They have spent a lot of time trying to connect to a Spanish speaking base station that did not have their own NFL team in the last two decades.
Two years ago, Rams created an alliance with Univisión to broadcast their pre-season games in Spanish (the managers did something like a popular Spanish-speaking broadcasting group for all games). Two weeks ago, they signed an agreement with Nike to dress the two programs involved in the classic East of Los Angeles, one of the biggest rivalries in the country. During that time, they've used #vamosRams hashtag on social networks.
"We just cut the surface of that relationship, I hope it's not a backlash, it's only a delay," said Demoff.