Friday, October 23, 2009

Keep The NFL Out of Los Angeles

You've probably heard by now that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (yeah, he's still the Governor and Californians are still paying the price for something people thought would be cool and funny five years ago) has pushed forth the proposed $800,000,000 football stadium to be built in Los Angeles.

Before we talk football let me first say that it's pretty much a common fact that no stadium ever built with taxpayer money ever turned profit for it's taxpayers. It's simply there for entertainment, and creating a few jobs; mostly entertainment though. Although in this economy every job is important, (construction, stadium vendors, maintenance), using taxpayer money to create a football stadium when the state of California is financially collapsing seems like a bogus idea.

Next, the city of Los Angeles failed to support professional football before. It's well know that these fans will only hop on a train when it's already full, or never at all (which may explain the cities awful public transportation). The Rams and Raiders didn't leave LA because they had great attendance, they left because the teams hit hard times and they couldn't attract more than 35,000 on average.

The decline of football in LA had nothing to do with outdated facilities either. Currently the Jets and Giants share the same "old" stadium in New Jersey and both teams sell out every game, every season; in much worse weather, often with bad teams. This isn't east coast bias, these are just facts. California fans are not east coast fans, their passion for sports doesn't match their passion for leisure.

Los Angeles is also a melting pot of transplants. You walk around downtown on any given day and you'll see Steelers, Packers, Colts, and 49ers fans everywhere; not to mention a ton of Giants, Cowboys, Chargers, Rams, and Raiders fans. Unless one of those teams moves to LA, there just won't be a market for it. This would mean the Rams, Raiders, and Chargers are at the top of the list for moving to LA.

Vikings fans, you can now breath a sigh of relief.

I don't see Al Davis moving the team back to LA considering the divorce from the market was pretty messy. But a shiny new stadium in LA might be tempting, and the Raiders are still the most popular team in the region; Not to mention the Oakland Coliseum is way past it's prime and nothing new is set to be built. Still, I just don't see it. The Raiders just belong in Oakland.

The Rams would fit perfectly back in Los Angeles. St. Louis needs a new stadium and plans to get one done are sketchy. The team is up for sale as well, making it easier to make the move back to LA. However, if the Checketts group wins the bid for the team, NFL rules will likely keep the team in St. Louis.

The Chargers make the most sense. There's really no plan to build a new stadium, the team desperately needs a new stadium, and the franchise has already acquired territorial rights for Orange County. Moving the team up north would likely hurt the Charger fans in San Diego, but the team would remain San Diego's market team. I like the odds of this happening the most. San Diego has had financial problems lately, the city recently build the Padres a state of the art ball park, and historically, both the Chargers and Padres have drawn poor attendance numbers in down years.

Still, moving any of these three franchises to Los Angeles would not end any of their franchises question marks outside of stadium issues. Attendance in Los Angeles will always be iffy. When the team in 11-5 it'll be bustling. When the team is 14-2 it'll be a mad house. When the team is 8-8 it'll be quiet. When the team is 5-11 it'll be empty. This is a guarantee. Whichever franchise moves to LA may get a shiny new stadium, but it won't find itself off of the "black out" lists anytime soon.

Also, there hasn't been a rapid desire from the people of LA for a professional team. This is a USC city right now. The fans of Los Angeles care a lot more about College football than they do for pro football and it's not because they don't have a pro team. USC has captured the sports fans of this region the same way the Lakers have. If a pro team comes to LA, they'll be second fiddle to a college powerhouse; much like in Jacksonville.

So before you make a bigger mess than you already have Governor, put this to rest. It's a mess in the making. Things have been just fine without a pro football team in LA. In fact, since football left LA, the league has exploded. I'm not saying they're relative statements, but it proves that the league is fine the way it is.

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