NFL Relocation to LA - Who's it gonna be?

Given that the NFL is strongly hinting they will fill the LA market with a relocated team in the next few years, who do you think it’s going to be? Here are my guesses based on what I’ve read, from least to most likely and why:

Oakland Raiders
Why: Al Davis is unpredictable, Raiders could move with NFL having little ability to block it, current Oakland lease allows outs.
Why Not: Davis has health/age issues and seems unlikely to do anything.

San Diego Chargers
Why: having issues getting a new stadium in SD area, franchise began in LA.
Why Not: pretty large market for NFL to open up.

Minnesota Vikings
Why: also having new stadium issues, some fairly reasonable proposals have been turned down, seems like there is little support for a new stadium in general.
Why Not: As with Chargers, it’s a pretty large market to leave vacant.

New Orleans Saints
Why: smallest NFL city post-Katrina, regional recovery is slow.
Why Not: huge negative PR, city seems committed in short term, NO is still an important regional center so corporate support is good.

Buffalo Bills
Why: one of smallest NFL cities, old stadium, old owner, unlikely to remain in family, owner thinks market is too small.
Why Not: close to large population across border in Canada, state of NY would probably help pay for a new stadium.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Why: small market, team doesn’t sell out even when competitive recently, team has reportedly had to borrow money on more than one occasion from NFL to get buy, stadium lease allows outs in the next few years.
Why Not: ?

What are other people’s views?

LA already has a professional football team: USC

There are stadium issues in LA, too. Public financing is not going to happen (the proposal to renovate the Rose Bowl got shot down by a 75/25 vote in 2006), and there is still a lot of political pressure to put the team in a renovated Coliseum. The Coliseum is a tough draw though, since the suburban perception of the area is bad.

we have a winner

We have a winner.

This is why you also don’t see a lot of NFL teams in the Southeast, despite the huge populations and rabid fan support. All of those players get paid.

The NFL has made it clear they are willing to pay most of the cost of a stadium in LA if they have to because they stand to gain more by having a team there than they do not having one. It’s just a question of choosing a location. Note that Tagliabue spent quite a bit of time there right before he left office; my guess is that the political foundation is already in place.

My view is that the NFL is holding LA open for the moment in order to provide leverage to Minnesota and San Diego to get new stadiums because they want to stay in those markets. Once those deals are done I bet we’ll see sudden movement on getting an LA stadium into construction to coincide nicely with the next TV contracts.

The biggest problem with Los Angeles is just that there’s a reason they went from 2 NFL teams to none – nobody there cares about pro football. It’s a large number of people, but the actual number of fans who give a crap about the NFL is smaller than the typical rural Pennsylvania/Texas/Mississippi county. It’d be like moving a team to Beijing. Look at all those eyes watching TV! Except none of them know about or particularly give a crap about football.

If Katrina didn’t hit, the Saints would probably already have inked the deal for LA. It reminded me of that Seinfeld where Elaine’s old boyfriend had a stroke in the middle of being dumped.

+++++++++Bowls Wins Losses Ties Win %

SEC--------352 177 162 13 .522

Big 12------304 144 157 4 .480

ACC--------268 141 122 5 .536

Big Ten-----226 111 112 3 .498

Pac-10-----214 108 100 6 .519

Big East----100 46 52 2 .470

That doesn’t change the economic argument for the NFL returning to the area. The simple fact is that an NFL team in LA would mean larger TV contracts and larger revenue from the sale of team licensed prodcuts.

And, in general I dispute your claim. LA is the second largest population area in the US by far at close to 18 million people. TV ratings suggest there is a strong interest in the NFL. Even if 3/4 of the population has no interest in the NFL at all it would still be worth going into. Are you suggesting that Indianapolis, with 1/10 the population of LA, is a workable NFL market but LA wouldn’t be?

Anyway, this is turning into a debate about whether the NFL should go back to LA when I really wanted to hear from people about which franchises are most likely to move (whether to LA or Vegas or wherever).

First, those huge populations are relatively recent. Second, what huge populations are you specifically referring to? With NFL teams in St. Louis, Nashville, New Orleans, Charlotte, Atlanta, and 3 in Florida I don’t see what huge populations are left out. Maybe Alabama, but Birmingham is hardly a huge city in comparison to other non-NFL cities around the country. The NFL is very present in the southeast.

Also, Texas has a huge population and rabid football fan support and manages to support the NFL quite well, which is why San Antonio gets talked about as a possible city all the time.

Except television ratings are not the same thing as ticket sales. LA is such a fickle town, there just hasn’t seemed to be a great season ticketholder base – which, if I’m not mistaken, is still a huge part of whether or not a franchise is profitable (luxery boxes, etc.)

Los Angelos fans are to sports what Quarter to Three is to games. If you’ve ever been burned by buying a great multiplayer game a week too late (after everyone here has moved on to The Next Big Thing) you know what I’m talking about!

The Lakers and Dodgers seem to be fine, so I’m not buying that argument. Plus, the Rams and Raiders didn’t leave because of a lack of season ticket sales, they left because other cities offered new or renovated stadiums and guaranteed sellouts.

As for NFL profitability, actual ticket sales are not that big of factor anymore. Most NFL teams get their money from shared TV revenue, shared licensing revenue, stadium licensing, and stadium luxury box/suite sales, but this latter is affected more by the availability of corporate money. Even if a team sucks, there are usually plenty of companies that are willing to buy a box for the season in order to reward their clients or show off to prospective ones. They just right it off as a business expense.

Both of those teams, especially the Lakers, are all about glitz and glamour, with long, long traditions in the city and very successful histories. Lakers games are as “see and be seen” as anywhere else in the city.

LA fans are fickle. Fair weather fans, thats just a fact. The sporting fan base just is not anywhere near as rabid as here in the NJ/NY area, where a Giants or Jets team built of solid condensed shit will still sell out every week. I read last week that some guy nearly ripped someone’s balls off because he went into an Oklahoma bar with a Longhorns t-shirt on. That would never happen in LA!

Snoop Dogg is the perfect representative of LA sports fans on the whole.

Are you sure about that? I’m not going to go all P&R on you here and demand a link or anything, but it flies against the conventional wisdom I hear bandied about on sports radio.

I know it’s an apples-and-oranges comparison to talk NBA and NFL in the same breath (one has a shitty product while one has a top notch product) but we’re experiencing the “ticket sales/luxery boxes vs. television market size” issue with the Seattle Sonics – Oklahoma City Sonics issue right now… Seattle is a much larger market (more LA-ish) than Oklahoma City, but the new Sonics majority owner is eyeing the move to Oklahoma City for the prospect of a new arena with better ticket sales and luxery boxes. If most professional sports money comes from profit sharing and television revenue, who cares about the arena, right?

IIUC, much of the problem is the way that NFL revenues filter through to teams.

For the purposes of a team, having a large fan base, in and of itself, is not that important. TV/media revenues are shared across the league. I think memorabilia/apparel revenues are as well (not sure).

Regular priced ticket sales are important, but the real money (to the team owner) is from luxury boxes, stadium naming rights, PSLs, etc.

In particular, an owner wants a sweetheart stadium deal.

Now, if you look at the overall picture (total revenues to the team AND the NFL), then a team in LA is a no-brainer. But much of that incremental revenue would flow to the league (to be split out more or less to all teams), rather than to the LA team itself.

So, while it would be nice for the NFL to have an LA team, without a sweetheart stadium deal, it might not be so nice for the prospective owner/relocator.

On the NFL side, you’d think they’d push to get a team in LA. But they have their own reason for not being in too big a hurry. It’s nice for the NFL to have LA as a stalking horse, to extract concessions from every other NFL city as their team’s stadium lease comes up for renewal.


I really really really hate all these contorted acrostics. What does this one mean?

If I understand correctly.

It’s a way of conceding that you may not have all the facts right, and not doing an hour of research to verify everything you say.

The NBA has a totally different model. For example, the NFL sells all it’s games to TV networks and shares all the revenue, while the NBA only sells some games to the networks and each team sells the rest locally, which can vary quite a bit.

As for the NFL model, consider this fact: The NFL shares all network TV money equally, all apparel and logo licensing equally, and visiting teams get 40% of the regular seat revenue for each game (which does NOT include luxury boxes/suites/etc.) Now look at this article:

According to the numbers quoted there, the NFL makes about $5.5 billion a year total, and at least $3.2 billion of that is from the equally shared TV and licensing. While the other $2.3 billion is not equally shared, the article says the biggest gap is about $100 million. When you factor in the 60/40 regular seat sharing, all that’s left is non shared revenue, which is the luxury boxes/suites, the stadium deal, and stadium licensing.

Or look at this, all from the article above: Washington Redskins total revenue $245 million, $100 million from league shared revenue, max $55 million from attendance (92,000 seat stadium assuming sellout x $100/ticket x 10 games x 60% since 40% goes to visiting team), unknown amount of money from visitors cut, means at least $50 million from non-shared revenue.

So yeah, actual attendance revenue is no longer the biggest part of the pie. In fact, with the salary cap at around $100 million, most teams break even with shared revenue alone. The rest, including ticket sales, is pure profit.

As for LA, I’m sure they could get 70-100,000 fans for a game when the team was good, just like the friggin’ Clippers sell out when they are good.

Someone is talking out their ass again:

Atlanta Falcons
New Orleans Saints
Houston Texans
Dallas Cowboys
Tennesee Titans
Miami Dolphins
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tampa bay Buccaneers
Carolina Panthers

Just because you don’t see the Yazoo City Warriors or the Little Rock Rebels as NFL teams doesn’t mean that the southeast is underrepresented in NFL football. In fact for population/wealth distribution i’d say it’s highly over represented.

You may as well say the western states are huge local football centers because there aren’t teams in Bozeman and Las Vegas.