As a 49er fan there has been something missing in my life since 1994: an L.A. football team to root against. Sure, one could root against USC, but as a Pac-12 guy living in the deep south, it is hard to root against the Trojans since they can consistently be mentioned in the conversation with the top SEC teams.
Since the Raiders and the Rams both jumped ship, there have been numerous rumblings about teams that could move to Los Angeles. In fact, it doesn’t seem like much of a conspiracy if the NFL was keeping teams out of L.A. in order to have leverage in NFL cities where they wanted a new stadium.
NFL owners could say, “Well, I want to stay here but if I don’t have an economically viable facility here then we will have to look at Los Angeles.”
City leaders whimper, voters cave and voila, 21 new stadiums since 1995.
But, if we remove the tinfoil from our heads and put the conspiracy theories aside for a moment, we all know that the NFL has wanted to be back in L.A. since 1995. However, the issue has been, and will continue to be, construction of a new stadium in Los Angeles.
There are two competing plans: the downtown proposal and the City of Industry proposal. The downtown plan seems more likely with AEG, the mega sports and entertainment company, behind its proposal. AEG has sold naming rights to the new stadium (Farmer’s Field) and is waiting for a team before ramping up efforts to build.
But there is one little problem: AEG wants ownership of the team that moves to L.A. Many of the candidates to move don’t want to sell their team to AEG, so there is an impasse.
The solution? Expansion. Roger Goodell has indicated this year that the NFL does not desire expansion. However, one thing that the NFL does desire is money, and Los Angeles represents a lot of that. To avoid the scheduling issues the league had in 1999 when the Browns created an odd number of teams, the NFL should put one team in L.A. under the ownership of AEG and expand to another market.
Let’s look at some of the possible markets for an additional NFL expansion franchise besides Los Angeles and their relative strength as possible NFL markets.