By Mike Florio, November 11, 2013
If the NFL returns to Los Angeles, it’ll be the NFL returning to Los
Angeles. Even though it will be an NFL team that returns to Los
According to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, the
league reiterated to all 32 teams in an October memo that the league
owns the market, and that the league will decide if/when a team can move
The NFL also explained, per Kaplan, that a team buying real estate in
L.A., ostensibly for a new stadium, wouldn’t keep the league from doing
its own stadium deal. Kaplan writes that there are some concerns that a
team may try to squat on the L.A. market by purchasing the land.
Kaplan mentions that teams like the Raiders and Rams will soon see
their stadium leases expire. It’s possible, if not likely, that the
league fears that Raiders owner Mark Davis would try to swing a deal to
return to L.A. without league involvement or approval — especially since
the Raiders once believed (and possibly still believe) that they have
special rights to the market they vacated after the 1994 season.
In 1996, the Seahawks tried to move to Los Angeles, in defiance of the league. And the Seahawks failed.
Apart from the league’s desire to apply a coordinated negotiated
approach that maximizes the revenue and other benefits of an L.A. deal,
the NFL also will want to impose a significant relocation fee on the
team that moves. The value of the franchise that enters the Los Angeles
market will skyrocket — and the owners of the other franchises will
want to siphon off a slice of it.
There’s also a chance that the memo wasn’t really aimed at preventing
a team from going rogue, but at signaling to the powers-that-be in L.A.
that a deal can happen if/when someone is willing to do the kind of
deal the NFL likes.
In other words, the NFL makes a ton of money and the “partner” either
loses money or doesn’t make much of it in order to be in business with