LA & an NFL Team

Why oh why is there still discussion about relocating an FNL team to Los Angeles when they have tried, and failed, twice before?

I get that it’s a big city with the potential for a lot of money and a big draw, but I don’t quite get why they are even considering retrying a twice-failed experiment.

It depends on how you defined “failed”.

In both prior instances, wasn’t the main problem that the team got a better deal for a better stadium elsewhere? Remember, when the Raiders moved to LA, they didn’t intend on spending the entire time in the Coliseum (remember the Irwindale Pit?), and when Al Davis realized that that’s all that LA was offering while Oakland promised the moon (which, it turned out, it couldn’t deliver, thanks in part to severely overestimating the fanbase’s willingness to pay through the nose for seats), the team packed its bags and headed north.

Any new deal on LA is almost certainly conditional on a new stadium already existing before a move happens.

I have no idea.

LA just isn’t a football town. Basketball, hell yes. Hockey, sure. Hell, even soccer does pretty darn well here. But we just don’t care enough about football to support an NFL team.

Don, would that also be the case with the Rams? Was it a stadium issue?

Maggie, you make an interesting point. And I know exactly what you mean. I live in Denver and we live and breathe football. Hockey is pretty great, too, but hoops and baseball are purely also-ran sports here.

And while it might seem like a slam dunk (ok, I’m not a Denver NATIVE, I’m originally a Hoosier, hence the hoops reference) to put an NFL team in the deep south where football is a religion, they haven’t done so. Why? Because it’s COLLEGE football they go crazy for, not the pro version.

LA would be happy to have a football team, and there are plenty of fans to support such a team. It just so happens the taxpayers of LA (and of surrounding areas) are NOT willing to cough up hundreds of millions of dollars to build a brand new stadium with loads of luxury boxes, and to let an NFL team play in that stadium for free.

When a team threatens to move to a new city, it’s usually because their current stadium doesn’t have enough luxury boxes that they can sell or lease to big corporations. NFL teams have to share most of their revenues with the rest of the teams, but they can keep luxury box revenues for themselves.

Given a choice between a 75,000 seat stadium filled with loyal, devoted fans or a 50,000-seat half-empty stadium with 200 sold-out luxury boxes, most teams would opt for the latter.

The stadium was part of the issue and the $20M per year guarantee from St. Louis. The majority of the issue was that Georgia Frontiere was a St. Louis native and wanted to move home after her husband died and she inherited the team.

To me, the key stumbling block is encapsulated in the tread title LA & an NFL Team.

All of the arguments center on which team (singular) and where to put a stadium (singular). There are a lot of competing interests, a lot of proposals have been floated, and the result is a kind of stalemate.

My solution - based on the geographical size of the greater LA area, including Orange County and the Inland Empire, and the population size of this vast area - how about 4 teams? One in Downtown, one out east, one in south Orange County, and maybe one in the San Fernando Valley. A couple could be relocations, a couple could be expansions. (e.g. San Diego can move to Orange County).

Think about it - SF/Oakland supports 2 teams. Many other teams are in smaller city markets, compare greater LA to those markets and we should have 10 teams.

That way every billionaire who wants one gets a team, nobody has to drive too far to get to a game.

Gotta think outside the box!

Three times. The Chargers bolted LA after one season in 1961.

There’s always talk about a team moving there because, as the NFLs second largest TV market, it makes for an attractive PR threat by teams that want better stadium deals in their own towns. For what it’s worth, about 75% of the teams have built new stadiums (funded mostly by taxpayers) in the 20 years since the Raiders and Rams moved. Once the Raiders/Rams/Chargers dust settles, it might be getting to the point where the NFL thinks LA has served its purpose because there will only be a handful of teams with older stadiums remaining. Or it will just be time to start the whole process over again. After all, the Metrodome only lasted 30 years.

I don’t want a team in LA. I am not a native of CA don’t follow any of the home teams. I hated being held hostage by the Rams or Raiders on the local stations. And no, I’m not buying any NFL package.

And the local football fans suck. I gave up on taking my son to Raiders games when they were here. I, personally, haven’t missed either team, and I doubt I’m in the minority.

The are much better things to spend taxpayer funds on than football billionaires.

Ah yes, I remember attending a game at the L.A. Colosseum. Even if you are in the front row, you are still pretty far away from the action. Better off watching it on TV. And safer too.

Truer words…

Such a paradox, tailgating before the games at the Colosseum was great. People cooking and sharing up whatever food and drink they had brought. Big fun.

Then kick-off comes and it degenerates into foul-mouthed, hateful thunderdome. I saw more fights at the Colosseum than everywhere else I’ve been combined.

I don’t want a football team here. Traffic is bad enough downtown

This is the “problem”. L.A. is unwilling to subsidize pro football (and rightfully so). Unless that changes or other cities decide to stop subsidizing the NFL, a pro team is a longshot.

L.A. has no problem supporting college football. A pro team would be fine under the right circumstances.

I spent some time down in LA, and I agree with you here… they’d show Raider games early in the season, but would usually stop showing them halfway through the season when it became clear the Raiders were gonna suck again that year, and started showing the best matchups instead. It was nice. And I say that as a Raiders fan!

Los Angeles already has a pro football team. The Trojans.

They’ve tried it 3 times. Apparently it’s not working.

A nice joke, 10 years ago.

But nobody goes to football games (hence why L.A. keeps losing franchises). How much worse can the traffic be.

Again, the problem with previous teams was NOT lack of attendance. It was the lack of a brand spanking new high tech stadium with hundreds of luxury boxes.

LA taxpayers would be happy to have a football team, but not happy enough to spend 500 million bucks to build the stadium a football team would demand.

That has absolutely nothing to do with it.

First of all, as pointed out, there is no evidence LA wouldn’t support a team. We are, after all, talking about a city of 12, 15 million people. It’s not going to be hard to find 65,000 every Sunday to go see a football game.

Secondly, pro sports leagues do not rank attendance among their most important factors - especially the NFL, which could probably make a profit without ever selling any tickets at all. What most matters to pro sports leagues in terms of franchise placement is getting free stadiums. That’s why there’s a hockey team on the outskirts of Fort Lauderdale, and why Seattle lost its basketball team to Oklahoma City; the city that gets the team is, within reason, the one that offers the most in the way of free stadiums, revenue streams, and tax breaks.

You can’t really construct an argument that the Rams are doing any better at St. Louis than they did in LA. Rams attendance was usually pretty good; it cratered in the last few years in LA largely because the team was incredibly bad and was pissing people off on purpose, but prior to that attendance was fine. Attendance in St. Louis has not exactly been super, and of course St. Louis already lost a team before - again, it has to be noted the team is dreadful, so that has a lot to do with it, but still there’s no evidence St. Louis fans are any more dedicated than LA fans. The team moved to St. Louis entirely because no government in southern California wouldn’t give them hundreds of millions of free dollars in the form of a shiny new stadium. The Rams didn’t actually care WHERE they moved to - St. Louis wasn’t even their first choice. They explored Baltimore first, but went with St. Louis when the city promised them millions. The NFL was not happy about it, actually, as they knew full well there was nothing wrong with the LA market, but couldn’t stop them.

It’s a misconception, I think, that pro sports leagues try to put their franchises where the fans are. They don’t, beyond a certain point, or at least that isn’t the only thing. The NHL has as many teams in Florida as it does in Ontario, which if you’re trying to fill stadia with hockey fans is absolutely insane; if you’re chasing hockey fans, Ontario should have five teams, and Florida should have one. There was no reason based on fan availability to move the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City; there is no compelling reason why Memphis should have a basketball team but Cincinnati or Kansas City do not; the continued presence of the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg is clearly not aligned with getting people to come to the ballpark, and if you want another NFL example, “Jacksonville Jaguars” is all I need to say.

All of these things CAN be explained; stadium deals, tax breaks, attempts to grow TV markets, and things that were well intentioned but just did not work. But they aren’t aligned with where the fans are.

It’s noteworthy that, while Los Angeles taxpayers won’t cough up money to build a new stadium for an NFL team, many secon-tier cities in the USA have done so.

That’s because city fathers and Chamber of Commerce types in mid-level American cities often want depserately for their city to be perceived as “big time,” and they often believe the presence of an NFL team will give them the respect and status they crave. That’s why cities like Nashville, Tennessee and Jacksonville, Florida were willing to build new stadiums and subsidize NFL teams.

Now, obviously Los Angeles doesn’t NEED a pro football team to prove it’s a big time, world-class city. Los Angeles IS a big time, world class city! They don’t need a football team to give them status or respect. Hence, when a team makes noises about moving to LA, they’re usually told, “Great! Hope you like the Colosseum!” And that’s usually the end of that conversation.