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Thursday, October 30, 2008

NFL EXPANSION-Will there ever be another team in Los Angeles?

NFL EXPANSION-Will there ever be another team in Los Angeles?
By Dr. Bill Chachkes-managing partner Football Reporters Online

You can be sure that at one of the next few owners meetings, the subject of expansion will come up again. There is just too much money to be made, and too many fans to attract not to consider expansion. Why some owners complain the expansion would “dilute” the product is beyond me. The NFL is About two things: Making money and entertaining it’s fans, in that order.

Let’s look back for a bit. That last time there was true expansion was 1995, when Carolina and Jacksonville came into the NFL to bring the total of teams to 30. I don’t count the Houston Texans because they were replacing a franchise that moved (the Oilers) to Tennessee and became the Titans, Just like the return of the Cleveland Browns in the early part of the new century replacing the original Browns after they moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens. So there is your brief history up to now.

Oddly enough, the second largest television market in America still does not have a team, Los Angeles. The Rams moved to St. Louis when it’s owner complained to the league and the commissioner that they could not make money in L.A. with an outdated stadium (the coliseum was built for the 1932 olympic games). The owners begrudgingly agreed to allow the move. So the question remains” will Pro Football ever return to L.A.? There have been whispers in recent years of different investment groups who claim to be interested, but nothing has ever come to fruition. A second stumbling block has been Raiders owner Al Davis claims of infringement on his territory. Last time I looked at a map, Oakland was about 500 miles north of Los Angeles. Sorry Mr. Davis, but when you moved back to Oakland, you lost the right to make that complaint.

Other Investment groups have stated that without a new stadium project in place or at least major upgrades to the current venue. With the tightening economic troubles, monetary support from the local government will be minimal if at all. So it turns into a case of “Who” will step forward to lead an investment group. California’s “Governator” has said that a “replacement” franchise is important for the continued growth of the Greater L.A. area. A new team could draw 2 Billion dollars of new income to the local economy. By contrast, the return of The Browns generated nearly 1 billion dollars to the local Ohio economy, and it continues to grow.
Balance that with the cost of buying into the NFL (Dan Snyder paid 800 million to the Cooke family for the Redskins, currently they are worth nearly 1.5 billion) and you have an instant formula for success.

The NFL however, never rushes into anything. As a business, they desire to expand two cities at a time. If California get’s it’s 4th team back in L.A., where will the other team go?? San Antonio? Salt Lake City? Las Vegas? Portland? With the sagging economy needing a fix, could any of those cities really support an NFL team? Well, Vegas could, and San Antonio might, but the others are doubtful. The fans sure want more teams, and so do the players and coaches, because it would mean more jobs. But with the end of the current CBA just on the horizon, expansion just might be on hold for the time being.

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