Foolish television agreements are also a problem. When USC gave top-ranked Iowa a fine game, only 30,000 were there to watch. Hundreds of thousands of others picked up the national telecast, which had not been blacked out in Los Angeles. When UCLA played Pitt in the Coliseum, TV beamed USC-California back into the area as competition. Also, thanks to lifetime advance scheduling (sign now, suffer later), the quality of visiting teams has been abnormally poor.
Smog is settling over other sports, too. After years of fealty to state colleges, southern California's high school track stars are drifting off in every direction. Perry Jones and his tennis patrons are producing more good players but fewer great ones, and our world stature is suffering accordingly. Professional boxing is scratching around for a Mexican attraction to take up where Jos� Becerra and Battling Torres left off. The Toros, of the new American Bowling League, have been counting spare pins and brooms to get their attendance figures out of the 300 to 400 range. Only horse racing and basketball are thriving, and the latter's success may be brief. The Lakers have not drawn well in spite of a fast start, and the Jets' opener, coupled with a Harlem Globetrotter show, had the smallest crowd ever to see the Trotters at the sports arena.
Moral: There are evidently not enough fools willing to rush in where Angelenos fear to tread.