The Los Angeles Clippers might have been the best team in the city for the last three or four years, but they remain miles behind the Los Angeles Lakers in terms of appeal and the size of their fanbase, something that will probably never change.
The Lakers obviously have the much bigger national appeal, and it’s not different in the local market as well. The Clippers might be considered contenders and are one of the best teams in the league, not to mention fun to watch, but they average about half the viewers on local broadcasts compared to the Lakers, despite Kobe Bryant hardly playing over the last two seasons, and the Lakers being in more or less tank mode during that time.
Does this mean the Clippers need to leave Los Angeles? Not yet. While they might be able to get some great numbers and money from local broadcasters by moving to a place like Seattle, the success of the Los Angeles Kings and Los Angeles Angels to move out of the basement and become a much bigger name in terms of merchandise and visibility in the city suggests it’s all a matter of winning championships.
One user on reddit suggested the Clippers are pretty much like an expansion team that only got noticed the moment Blake Griffin was drafted. They have a long history in other cities but none of it too successful, and their time in Los Angeles has been more about failures not to mention a owner everyone hated (Donald Sterling). Positive things only started happening from 2011 onward, including Steve Ballmer purchasing the franchise.
Maybe we’ll see something change in favor of the Clippers once Kobe Bryant retires. But Bryant retiring opens the door for the Lakers to finally sign some max-contract players which they’ve been unable to do while Bryant keeps them away with his presence. In short, it’ll probably take more than a decade, including winning a championship, of Clippers-dominance to start making some noticeable shifts in the fan alignment in the city.