The relocation wars have began. The Rams, Raiders and Chargers all filed paper work to relocate to Los Angeles on Monday. Now it’ll be up to the NFL owners to figure out which team or teams can relocate. The 17 members of the NFL’s finance, stadium, and Los Angeles committees will hear each team’s pitch for relocation on Wednesday and Thursday in New York. The rest of the owners will then take up the relocation issue at the January 12-13 owners meeting in Houston. Theoretically, Los Angeles could have an NFL team (or two) by the middle of next week. But there’s no guarantee.
The Chargers and Raiders are pitching a joint facility in Carson City while Rams owner Stan Kroenke wants to build a stadium on 60 acres of land he purchased last year in Inglewood. Kroenke has been trying to get out of St. Louis for two years now after using a clause in the team’s lease that stated he can relocate the team after 2015. Kroenke desperately wants out of St. Louis but the city has presented the league with a proposal to build a $1.1 billion dollar riverfront stadium. It’s going to be awfully hard for Kroenke and the league to walk away from that kind of deal. The Raiders and Chargers on the other hand have no potential stadium deals in place with their respective cities.
I still think the NFL returning to Los Angeles is a waste of time. While I understand the appeal of the Los Angeles market, I think it’s a weak sports town. The fans don’t support the teams unless they are in title contention every year. That’s why the Lakers have such a huge following. People didn’t really start going to Clippers games until five years ago. The Angels get good crowds but the Dodgers can be inconsistent when it comes to attendance. The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks have a following but hockey fans in California are very segmented. L.A is a bigger version of Atlanta. They will only show up if you are winning.
Despite L.A being an awful sports market, the league will force the issue and at least one of the three teams that have applied to re-locate will end up there. Its shame that San Diego and Oakland haven’t stepped up to the plate to help fiance new stadiums. As a result, two quality fan bases are going to lose their teams. Its the side of sports I hate.
The NFL going back to Los Angeles is inevitable. Maybe this time the surfers, the transplants, the actors and actresses and all the other frauds will embrace the league and a support a team or teams. If they don’t, the NFL will once again fall on its face. But that’s O.K. They are used to losing. What’s one more loss?