Wednesday, June 08, 2005

FOOTBALL BACK IN LA

The city of Pasadena has decided to pull out of the NFL race, leaving only Anaheim and the Los Angeles Coliseum to clamor of the league like two drunk guys fighting over a drunk chick at closing time.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-nfl-pasadena&prov=ap&type=lgns

A drunk chick that has no intention of putting out.

Pasadena, along with Carson, should be applauded for no longer playing the NFL’s waiting game with the Los Angeles basin. And when Anaheim decides it, too, is tired of the NFL’s shenanigans the league is going to be between a rock and a hard place. The NFL would likely have to decide whether to put a league in the Coliseum or not return to the country’s second largest TV market.

The smart money is on the latter.

The NFL does not have any intention on returning to Los Angeles and it’s time major media outlets and football fans start to recognize it. The biggest sticking point, besides choosing a sight that still hasn’t been determined in over a decade, is who is going to build the thing? If a stadium were going to be built in Southern California, it would have been built by now.

And forget about public funds. With the state in a budget crisis do you really believe that Los Angeles would ever pull the two-thirds majority votes needed to build a stadium? Please.

The NFL is better off without having a team in Los Angeles. The city has been a great source of leverage than can ever be imagined. Indianapolis recently voted to build the Colts a brand new stadium. This doesn’t happen if Los Angeles doesn’t have a vacant sign draped across the 110 Freeway. The Saints, Vikings, Bills, Jets, and Chargers all have a need for a new stadium and Los Angeles is the perfect threat.

But no owner wants to pack up his team to move to Los Angeles. There’s no advantage. As mentioned above, there isn’t a stadium ready for NFL football right now. And again, as mentioned above, there is no way that an NFL owner is going to move to Los Angeles only to foot the bill for a new stadium.

Plus there is no real economic advantage to being in Los Angeles. The NFL shares most revenue, specifically the NFL television contract, and a team in Los Angeles receives the same amount of television money as a team in Buffalo. Do you believe the Wilson family is willing to pay $1 billion for a new stadium in Los Angeles only to receive the same amount television revenue as he would receive in Buffalo?

And who is more likely to give into demands a build a stadium for the Bills, Buffalo or Los Angeles?

An existing team is not going to move here. That’s a good thing considering that most LA football fans don’t want an existing team. The Southern California fans want an expansion franchise. But that’s about as likely to happen as Kirk Reynolds being named director of the Super Bowl halftime show.

The media reported that the NFL received record deals for its television contract, but that’s only partly true. The NFL did receive raises in its annual rights fees, but it also lost a big bargaining chip with the Super Bowls. The NFL formerly sold the rights to the Super Bowl separately, but included it with the television contracts this year. That’s a big drop of revenue.

An expansion team also would take a slice of that television money; meaning that the salary cap number would have to drop and NFL owners would receive less money. That means an expansion team has as much chance of passing by NFL owners as this kid has of having a normal life:

www.nfl.com/u/nfl/ photos/nfl1aa7_lower.jpg

It’s just not going to happen.

But, for the sake of argument, lets say that the NFL owners do vote for an expansion team (which would likely have to go a decade without receiving television money), what would be the price tag? Who would be willing to fund a $1 billion stadium along with at least $1 billion expansion fee? This team wouldn’t be competitive for at least ten years.

It’s time to realize that the NFL is not coming back to Southern California. The price tag is way too high and is there really enough fan interest in a team coming back? There isn’t. The only unthinkable situation is the Raiders coming back to Los Angeles.

And that’s just something too horrible to imagine.

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