Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Go West, Football Teams in Need (or made-up need)!

Ever since the NFL left LA twofold in 1995, the city has always been used as a bargaining chip for markets to build new stadiums for their teams or else they'd hit the Mayflowers headed for LA. The city got close twice, once in 1996 when then Seahawks owner Ken Behring announced he was moving the Seahawks to Anaheim. But, lawyers thwarted that quickly, and the Seahawks are still in Seattle today. Los Angeles was awarded the 32nd NFL franchise in 1999, but only if they could get a stadium deal done, but they never did, and that team was then awarded to Houston, and they are now entrenched in the heart of Texas. Now, with the passing of the finances for the billion dollar blockbuster that is Farmers Field, a team is most certainly destined for LA. But, the question now is, which team? There are 7 that have been in the majority of rumors, and now it's time to look at the likelihood for any of them to hit the moving vans.

100% No Chance of moving: San Francisco, Jacksonville

The 49ers have a stadium deal in nearby Santa Clara pretty much ironed out, and now all that is left to fix is whether the Raiders will be moving in with them. But that question will be dealt with later. The ownership situation is fine, and if the stadium deal is finished, they aren't going anywhere for a long time. And, I don't know how many times Wayne Weaver has to say he's not selling the Jaguars before people understand that he isn't. Sure he's old, but as long as the franchise is owned by a Weaver (not Jered Angels fans), it isn't going anywhere. Couple that with a nearly impossible to break lease with the city, there is zero chance that the Jaguars are leaving northeast Florida. The ticket sales will go up when the winning starts, and lord only hopes for that city that it starts soon. When it does, the problem will go away, and hopefully the Jaguars will stay out of the moving rumormill.

Not Likely to move, but there is an out that they might: Minnesota, Buffalo

The Vikings have had their fair share of issues with the outdated Metrodome of late, and they want a new stadium. They have a possibility of one in Arden Hills, a suburb of Minneapolis. If all goes well on the government side of things, a vote could be called for in September or October to iron out the deal.  The lease at the Metrodome expires after this season, and if no deal is reached, that's when the problem may really crop up. But Zygi Wilf has said not to worry, so people shouldn't just yet. Buffalo is a strategic market for the NFL because of its proximity to Canada, and the NFL wants to maintain that. When Ralph Wilson dies, his heirs have said that they will sell the team to the highest bidder, and that could be an LA group like AEG, but I doubt it considering the local support in western New York.

Wild Card: Oakland

The general idea about the Raiders is that no one has any idea about what the Raiders will do. It's doubtful that a new stadium will be built in Oakland where Al Davis wants it, and they don't want to share a stadium with the 49ers. They may have to give in, in order to stay in the Bay Area. They are stuck in Oakland until after 2013, but then the question remains, what will Al Davis and his heirs do? That's why they have a category all to themselves.

Plausible, but not definite: St. Louis

It's well known of the connections Stan Kroenke has with Phillip Anschutz of AEG. With these connections, and the fact that Kroenke wants to give up control of all of his professional sports franchises by December 2014, and the fact that the Rams lease at the Dome in St. Louis is up after 2015, it seems that this team could be a prime candidate to move. The stadium situation doesn't help either. The question is, does AEG want to wait that long?

Pretty Likely: San Diego

Sure Alex Spanos doesn't want to give up operating control of the team, but he does want to sell a minority stake. The Chargers have been trying to get a stadium deal in the San Diego area for a decade and have come out empty. They don't have the money to build a stadium privately, and with the LA market being a secondary market for the Chargers (all road games have to be shown in LA), it seems that this could be a perfect fit. The allure of a new stadium in downtown LA may be too hard to resists for the Chargers, who once played in LA at the start of their existence in the 60's.

A team that moved to LA would have to play in the Coliseum for 3-4 years before Farmers Field is ready, but there is no doubt that a wait like that may be worth it. The NFL may want 2 teams in LA, one NFC and one AFC, but I think LA could only support one team. Nevertheless, it looks like a team is destined for LA soon, and now it's not a question of if, it's a question of when, and LA hasn't had that certainty since the 1980's.

No comments:

Post a Comment