Many believe that it is no longer a matter of if, but when an NFL team makes the move to Los Angeles. With the Minnesota Vikings on the verge of finalizing a deal for a new stadium, the St. Louis Rams appear to be the team most likely to relocate to L.A. That would ultimately be a poor move by the NFL, though.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Rams have moved to the top of the Los Angeles relocation list for several reasons. It appears as though the team will be able to get out of its lease with the Edward Jones Dome as early as 2015 if it so chooses, and the franchise has also expressed interest in playing one game per season overseas in London.
Neither of those things bode well for Rams fans it would seem, but the Rams have already failed once in Los Angeles, so I'm not sure why the league would want to try it again. The L.A. market is obviously an attractive one because it's the second biggest in the country and would garner great television ratings, but there are other factors to consider.
There are obviously a lot of people in Los Angeles who want a team back in the city after losing the Rams and the Raiders, but a lack of interest was one of the main reasons why those teams were moved in the first place. There is no guarantee that the Rams will have a good team, so there has to be some question as to whether the fans will show up in droves.
I'm sure the first couple years would go well, but I'm not sure how viable Los Angeles is over the long haul. Economically there is no question that a team in L.A. would be more lucrative to the NFL than a team in St. Louis, but St. Louis is a sports-crazy town that is great for the NFL in its own right and moving the team will set a bad precedent.
Every franchise goes through bad stretches in terms of the on-field product as well as attendance, but it wouldn't be fair to move every team that has those problems. In St. Louis, and pretty much every NFL city, if the team is good, then people are going to go to the games and support them.
That wouldn't necessarily be the case in the Los Angeles, though. With so many other things going on, football isn't necessarily a top priority for a lot of people. They can stay home and watch any game they please if they so choose as well, so I don't see fan support being any better in L.A. than it is in St. Louis currently.
If moving to Los Angeles is a move that is based solely on money, then it's obviously a smart fiscal move, but the NFL generates so much revenue as it is that I'm not sure why this is such a pressing need. This clearly isn't a move that is on the horizon or guaranteed by any means, but it certainly seems like something that could happen a few years from now.
Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn't come out and said it, but it seems like one of his biggest goals is to bring NFL football back to Los Angeles. An expansion team doesn't seem feasible since the divisions are divided up nicely right now, so you have to believe that some team is going to have to move in order to make it a reality.
The Rams may head that list right now, but St. Louis is a city that loves and supports football, and moving them for the almighty dollar would be a move that would garner a lot of backlash if it were to be made.
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