Goodell LA memo: League has leverage, not teams or cities

We now have terms for how a NFL franchise could land in Los Angeles, thanks to a Roger Goodell memo revealed by the LA Times’ Sam Farmer. The memo went out to all 32 teams, a handful of whom could be relocation candidates: Rams, Raiders, Chargers,  Jaguars, Bills. Bullet points are fairly straightforward:

  • The NFL and the owners as a collective decide which team(s) relocate. No team is going to unilaterally decide to move. This makes sense because the NFL holds the purse strings for up to $1 billion of the stadium project (based on where it’s located).
  • While the league acknowledged the AEG’s Farmers Field and Ed Roski’s City of Industry concepts as potential stadium sites, Goodell left open the possibility of other sites. Recently, Dodger Stadium re-emerged as a potential site.
  • The NFL prefers two teams in LA and will require a new stadium to have space to host a second team.
  • Expansion to a 34-team league is not currently in the cards, which means that in all likelihood, the first team to be in LA will be a relocated franchise.
  • Franchises interested in relocation will have from January 1 to February 15, 2013 to apply for relocation.
  • A team like the Raiders would have to have to explain why it would make more sense to move to LA instead of sharing a stadium with the 49ers.
  • All avenues to get a venue in a team’s existing marketed would have to be explored/exhausted.
  • Arrangements would have to be made in advance for an interim venue while the new stadium is under construction.
  • Any franchise relocation would require a 3/4 approval of the 32 owners.

It’s a fairly clearcut process, and for the teams that may be involved, as fair as it can get. The Rams could be considered in the lead due to the state of their negotiations with St. Louis. The Bills have a $200 million refurbishment deal on the table that the NFL would prefer over relocation. The Jags aren’t going anywhere for at least a year or two while new ownership is still in its honeymoon period. The Raiders are working with Oakland/Alameda County at the moment, whereas the Chargers have failed at every turn to get something done in San Diego. The approval process will extend well beyond the six-week period, but it’s somewhat poetic that the applications will occur at the same time as the playoffs: the futures of the applying franchises will be at stake.

23 thoughts on “Goodell LA memo: League has leverage, not teams or cities

  1. Realistically, could the Raiders make an argument that being a tenant in Santa Clara is better for the team and league than being top dog in Los Angeles? I know the inverse of that is the argument they’d have to make, but that one seems a lot easier to construct.

  2. Very informative post! thnx

  3. My money is on the Rams for one of those spots

  4. Al Davis would never have gone along with this. All of the owners now are scared of Goodell.

  5. Its gonna be chargers and rams. AFC and NFC teams that are at an impasse with their respective cities/counties

  6. I think teams have to demonstrate that they’ve exhausted all options in their current market before they can go to LA. All the Raiders have to do is show the NFL the Coliseum City proposal, which invites them to spend $1 billion of their own money that they don’t have, and that should meet the “exhausted all options” requirement.

  7. pjk, And they’ll have to explain why Santa Clara doesn’t work. Which frankly might be tough since it’s exactly what the NFL has been telling the Raiders to do. They’re going to have to be really creative if they want to convince the NFL that SC is bad for them since by most measures it’s exactly where they should be moving.

  8. Nam – absolutely. Right now, the LAX TV market gets to show the four “best” games on any given weekend. It’s been a ratings bonanza for the NFL down there compared to when the Sheep and the Raiders were down there. If the Raiders move back down south, then the LAX TV market will be stuck with one Raider game either in the morning or afternoon slot; if the Chargers move north, that’ll only make it worse. There’s already pro football down in Los Angeles, and it’s spelled U-S-C.

  9. Right now Los Angeles is considered a secondary market for the Chargers. The Chargers are the local LA team and games are shown in their entirety regardless of what local TV stations may want to show. LA is subject to blackout rules for the Chargers, just as the Bay Area is for the Raiders. But there is obviously more latitude when it comes to broadcasting NFC games; which is good for TV ratings.

  10. I think the NFL likes having the Bills in Buff to have a foot in Toronto, and Canada as a whole. The Jags are destined to leave eventually I feel, but I thought they were locked in until 2027?

  11. Chi, the Raiders and Niners RARELY play each other. The “crime” card as you describe it doesn’t even exist after Niner-Raider preseason games were cancelled indefinitely. And frankly it wouldn’t be prevented by them not playing in the same stadium anyway because as we all know the “crime” as you called it happened at Candlestick, another stadium the teams don’t share.
    As for Brian Stow, WTF does that have to do with the Raiders or football for that matter? Last I checked Brian Stow (a Giants fan) was beaten in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium by Dodger fans.

  12. The Raiders will never return to LA.

    The NFL already knows the Raiders failed miserably once in that market and for them to return would be a bad move as the heart of their fan base is in the East Bay.

    The Raiders have no argument on not sharing with the 49ers in Santa Clara. The 49ers are the ones paying the debt service year to year and the Raiders would not have to charge SBL fees to their fans like the 49ers have had to do.

    In LA, they would have to help raise $$ to build the stadium with SBLs/PSLs and would need a 2nd team to help them get it built. The 49ers in Santa Clara have already done all that leg work without the Raiders involved.

    Now, I say the Raiders move to Santa Clara and try to build in Oakland at the Coliseum site as it is a very good place for NFL football. Great tailgating, BART station, and huge parking lots for fans to hang out.

    Sign a 5-10 year lease with the 49ers and have out clauses if they can build a new facility in the Bay Area.

    In fact, it is a huge risk for any team to head to LA as past results show LA to be a bad NFL market in general. The Rams, Chargers, and Raiders were all once there winning a lot of games and still did not get fan support.

    The Chargers bolted quick to San Diego because of this and the Rams who dominated in the 1970s moved to Orange County and still they did not get fans in the 1980s despite fielding winning teams and having luxury suites and premium seating.

    People in LA love basketball, baseball, college football, and even hockey. The NFL requires a different kind of fan that LA does not posses.

    There are a lot of transplants in LA who have their own teams and would not care if a team relocated there. If the team started to lose, blackouts would occur on a weekly basis even in a shiny new stadium.

    The NFL has to expand in order to succeed in LA. The demographics suggest 2-teams but in reality LA cannot support more than 1 at one time. Example: The Rams had LA to themselves for years and won a ton of division titles and got little fan support with no other competition in the entire South-land area.

    One can argue the stadium was the issue but in the 1970s premium seating and luxury suites were not required to make $$ and the Rams still did not get fans. In the 1980s they had a stadium that both, were winning, and did not get fans.

    The Bay Area is half the size of LA and but this market has the right kind of fans to support 2 NFL teams and that is evidenced by both teams selling out every game last year despite playing in dumps.

    I just do not believe LA deserves NFL football and history is a good indicator of future results….Does not bode well for any team thinking about moving there.

  13. Great points by Sid.

  14. Chi, I thought you just said up above that Mark Davis will tell Goodell the Raiders “stand alone.” Which is it? Just a piece of advice, key to having an position in an debate, is having a position. Not changing sides over the course of an hour.

  15. If the Raiders move to Santa Clara, it would be a great move for the BAY AREA because we will keep a two team market, which we can support! Put your allegiances aside, it would benefit the BAY AREA economically if the Raiders stayed here. It is very unlikely that the city of Oakland has the money or resources to realistically get the Coliseum City project off the ground. I’m not a hater, but a realist. It would be a great idea for Raiders to move to Santa Clara, and it would be an even greater move if Mark Davis could get the Oakland name changed to San Jose if they make the move. Anyone in marketing would agreed that a city with almost 1 million in population would be better suited for a professional team than a city with a population of less than a 1/2 million and shrinking. I grew up with the great Raiders teams of the 70’s and would hate to see them leave again. Santa Clara makes all the sense in the world for the Raiders and please throw out the “crime card.” It’s apple and oranges when you start comparing the current crowds that attend Raiders and Niners games compared to the crowds that will be attending the games a the new stadium in SC. It’s would be like comparing the the Giants fans that went to Candlestick versus the current fans that go to AT&T park, very different crowds to say the least. I want to start a new movement called KRITBA, which stands for “Keep Raiders in the Bay Area.” OK, it’s not as smooth as SOS, but it’s a lot more realistic!

  16. The LA Rams did OK attendance-wise until 1990 or so, considering they played in two of the worst stadiums in NFL history. They got a healthy 60k throughout their time at the Coliseum despite the distance from the field and the neighborhood, and didn’t drop off that much in Anaheim until they had one foot out the door in a joint with the worst baseball/football configuration ever. The switch to corporate seats should make LA a stronger market, not a weaker one.
    I agree that to try to shoehorn two teams in there does not make sense. The Rams can get out of their lease easily in StL and probably make the most sense. Chargers would work too (although I don’t know that LA would accept a SD team as well). AEG has intimated that the Raiders are not who they want given the fan base and their experience with them the last go-round.
    A new team in LA will definitely have to deal with bandwagonitis, but lots of teams have that. Look at how crappy the 49ers’ attendance was in the 70’s vs. how well it was after they won their first SB.

  17. The comments above reminded me of the stark differences between MLB and NFL. Can you imagine such a memo coming from Selig’s office? I suppose having $1B gives the NFL commissioner a little more weight when he pushes for what is “good for the league”.

  18. Has everyone here forgot that not long ago Mark Davis was interviewed Monte Poole where he specifically declared Oakland is his number one choice followed by Dublin Ca!! I don’t think Mark Davis will move the team to L. A., at the very least if he can’t get a stadium built in Dublin he will then become the subtenant with the 49ers, now I read someone say that if they do share the stadium in SC, that they should also change their name to the San Jose Raiders!! Lmao!! Really? If the SF NINERS get to move to SC and remain the SF Niners why wouldn’t the Raidere remain the Oakland Raiders if they move temporarily a roughly 40 miles south of Oakland! hell they can move to L. A. and still be called the Oakland Raiders if Mark Davis desires it!!! Carol Davis has been rumored to say she does not want the Raiders moved out of Oakland and it may very well be true, do to the fact that she has never moved to L. A. and remained in her home in Piedmont Ca while the Raiders played in SoCal. The Raiders belong in Oakland period!! The teams most likely and a available to move are the Chargers and Rams. The City of Oakland should not be underestimated and people have to realize the Raiders A’s and Warriors are not just Oakland’s assets, but they are all of Alameda county and Contra Costa county’s assets!!! They more than just three sports teams… They are the Eastbays civic pride!!! Help keep the the Raiders A’s and Warriors in Oakland!! Visit attend the meetings, get involved and become a volunteer!!

  19. re: The Raiders belong in Oakland… But they are last or near-last in revenues, no? If Oakland can’t provide the revenues needed to make the team pull its weight revenue-wise, why should the Raiders forever be stuck there because they supposedly “belong in Oakland?”
    re: Raiders A’s and Warriors are not just Oakland’s assets, but they are all of Alameda county and Contra Costa county’s assets!!!
    …the three teams are private ventures and are not owned by the city or counties. In the A’s case, all this so-called East Bay civic pride has resulted in the ruination of the A’s ballpark and very poor attendance, even when the team is winning.

  20. @pjk,
    You are right these teams are private ventures and no city/county owns them, however I believe the only reason the Raiders are last team in revenue is simply because as we all know fans like winners and if the Raiders can’t put out a good product on the field and don’t start winning games and subsequently making the playoffs, it’s obvious that no one is gonna go see a team lose, but just watch this upcoming season if the Raiders start winning you will see the games sell out and the revenue will start flowing.
    Now in regards to the A’s, it’s my belief that Lew Wolff has done everything in his power to make attending A’s games a not so attractive experience, by tarping off the entire third deck and trading off players that have the chance to do well for the A’s as soon as they start doing good, we all know he is trying to cry wolf(no punt intended) by making the A’s the Appear as a revenue losing franchise to eventually make his case to MLB and grant them the move to the south bay, which will never happen, but that’s another story! lol

  21. How has Lew Wolff made attending games unattractive? Is it by offering some tickets for $2? Is it the free parking on Tuesdays? The free hot dogs on Wednesdays? Offering the best prices in pro sports? All the great game day giveaways? How has all this made attending games unattractive? As far as the tarps, why does a team that only draws about 15,000 per game (not counting Giants, Yankees and Red Sox games) need 45,000 seats? What is the good of increasing the seat supply when there is no demand? Would the ambiance be better with 30,000 uncovered, empty seats as opposed to the 20,000 empty seats we usually have now? And how can Wolff keep players when A’s ticket revenues do not support the salaries that these players can make elsewhere? And what is Wolff to do about players who refuse to consider the A’s as a free agent destination because the do not want to play baseball in an empty football stadium? What about the existence of “No trade to Oakland” clauses in some players’ contracts? Wolff is trying to solve all this with a new stadium, which has to be built privately, which can be done in Silicon Valley with its rich corporate base but not in Oakland, where the demand for premium seating (needed to pay a ballpark) has proven to be weak.

  22. @Chi – You’re not providing a debate here. You’re just throwing out idle ideas. Go to a meeting and make your voice heard.

  23. @ML, Thank you!

    @chi, I don’t speak representing SOS, I speak representing my self only, and yes you should and are welcomed to attend a meeting, the next one is scheduled for Monday July 9th at 6:30pm Red Lion Hotel 150 Hegenberger Rd Oakland, come one come all, I’m there at every meeting as a volunteer.

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