NFL in Los Angeles? I Think so.
December 16, 2011 6 Comments
It is time for the NFL to make a come back to L.A. It may take longer than some expect, but eventually it will happen. Los Angeles is the 2nd largest media market in the United States and since 1995 has not had an NFL Franchise to call their own. There are many pros and cons to the NFL in L.A, here are some that I believe are most important. However, before we can explain why the NFL needs to go back to Los Angeles, let’s give you the history of the NFL in L.A.
NFL Franchises in L.A through 1946-1994
- In 1946, the Cleveland Rams became the first NFL team to locate in Los Angeles, However the Rams moved to Anaheim in 1980, than left California altogether in 1995 for St.Louis
- In 1982, the Raiders were the next team to claim L.A. as their home. The Raiders were a very successful franchise at the time, winning Super Bowl XVIII and reaching the AFC Championship after the 1990 season. Despite their success, the Raiders played their last game in L.A. on Christmas Eve in 1994 losing 19-9 to the Kansas City Chiefs in front of 64,130 fans.
Now, you may be wondering why L.A. has not been able to hold onto a NFL Franchise?
- During the Rams era, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was the stadium they called home, (this stadium was built in 1932 to Host the Olympics). As their tenure in L.A. went on, Rams ownership became dissatisfied with the Coliseum due to its size (games would sell out rarely). Another reason, was the location of the Coliseum. It was located in South Central, Los Angeles, not exactly a place where you want to take the family for game. Couple that, with limited parking; the Rams had enough of L.A.
- The Raiders, on the other hand, was a much more controversial move to begin with. Owner Al Davis moved his team to L.A without consent from his fellow owners or Commissioner Pete Rozelle (BOSS?). Yet the same reasons for the Rams leaving, led to the Raiders leaving, One major factor for Davis in moving to the Coliseum despite its flaws as a football stadium was his assumption that the NFL would eventually approve pay-per-view telecasts for its games; such a move would potentially have given the Raiders a virtual TV monopoly in Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest TV market. But that failed, Davis than, packed his team up and headed back to Oakland.
Now lets move to the present. Recently there has been encouraging news out of L.A. about bringing the NFL back.
- AEG is the private company that has offered to build and operate a retractable-roof stadium, which would be named Farmers Field, on the site that is currently part of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
- Also, AEG is still committed to paying in the area of $1.3 billion for construction of the new stadium, parking structures and other costs associated with the project. AEG has also made wide-ranging promises on covering other expenses related to the project, which will include expansion of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
- California legislature has passed SB 292, a measure signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that eases many of the legal burdens to getting the stadium done. The developments have been impressive, but the NFL and team officials have been focused on how the plan would work for a franchise that relocates to L.A.
Despite encouraging news of an NFL Franchise coming back to L.A there are still roadblocks that halt progress.
- Which site to choose? There are two different sites that have gained serious attention of being viable options for NFL franchise. (1) AEG’s Farmers Field, this site would be next to the current Staples Center in Los Angeles. (2) City of Industry, east of Los Angeles is also another site that has gained attention and serious consideration of being the home site for the NFL franchise that moves to L.A.
- Finances, despite having companies willing to invest, the question becomes how to split the cost of building the stadium, and how to split profit once a team does come to L.A (City ,State ,NFL Franchise, and Personal Interest Groups are going to want to know how much they are profiting from this project)
- Also, there could be a “relocation fee” that would have to be paid to the other owners could be as much as $250 million, according to numerous sources. This fee would be covered by AEG or the city. That is easier said than done.
Alright, we have a possible stadium sites and companies willing to invest, now which current NFL Franchise can make the move?
Here is my opinion and which teams SHOULD make the move to L.A
- San Diego Chargers – Ever since the Rams and Raiders left town, the only viable team close enough for L.A residents to watch has been the Chargers. If the Chargers were to move, they would first have to pay the city of San Diego $24 Million for breaking their lease with them. Also add the fact that there is no talks of a new stadium in San Diego, this could be Los Angeles’ chance to snatch the Chargers away from San Diego.
- St Louis Rams – Well they moved from L.A in 1980, why not go back? The Rams days of playing in the Edward Jones Dome are numbered, couple that with the fact that there has been no push for a new stadium, this makes the Rams a very viable candidate to go back to L.A and bring this franchise back to profitability.
- Buffalo Bills – The Bills are in a very small market in Buffalo, and they have been rumored to be moving from Buffalo, if not L.A. then maybe Toronto. For arguments sake, let say they make the move to L.A. Instantly, the Bills are in the national spotlight, from being an afterthought to the Giants and Jets in New York, the Bills will be kings of L.A. I’m sure Stevie Johnson and Fred Jackson would not mind the exposure. However, they could be one problem with this; The divisions would have to be altered. I mean you cannot be in AFC East when you’re located in Los Angeles right?
- Minnesota Vikings – Like Buffalo, Minnesota is also a small market that could fall victim to the City of Angels. Minnesota is going through a stadium crisis as we speak; their lease on their stadium expires after THIS SEASON. If a deal is not done in Minnesota soon, Viking fans will watch Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson become the most marketable athletes in L.A.
Jacksonville Jaguars – It is no secret the Jaguars have a dying fan base, their time in Jacksonville could be up, add the fact that Jacksonville has not been very competitive, rarely sells out its home games, and you could have a move to L.A. However, like I said earlier with Buffalo, this would cause a change in divisions in my opinion. Maurice Jones Drew back in L.A would definitely spark attention as MJD was a complete stud in his college days at UCLA.
Oakland Raiders – there is still a HUGE following of Raider fans in L.A which means you cannot count the Raiders out of these sweepstakes. The Raiders are one of the most influential franchises in the NFL, their silver and black jerseys are recognized everywhere; combine that with the spotlight of L.A. and you can have a monster revenue stream on your hands.