Opinion: Is bringing an NFL team to Los Angeles a smart move?
You really wouldn't think it upon guessing it, but Los Angeles is the second largest media market for professional football. And yet since 1995 its inhabitants have yet to find a hard, over-heated plastic seat within the city limits and watch a football game on the professional level.
Football is and forever will be a defining competition in the United States. It only seems fitting that an NFL team should be installed in the second largest city in this country. Los Angeles is a city filled with loyal fans and crushed dreams that still linger after seeing their Raiders team pack it up and head north to Oakland after a 19-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
After Cleveland was reinstated to the NFL as the league's thirty-first expansion, Los Angeles was actually the frontrunner to become the thirty-second and final team admitted to the league. In fact, after winning a 29-2 vote from the league's owners in 1999, all L.A. had to do was put together an ownership team and build a new stadium to secure the final slot.
Unfortunately, the city came up short due to disagreements met by the proposed owning groups, along with a denial from the city to use tax dollars to help fund such an operation, which included building a new state-of-the-art facility.
However, a new opportunity surfaced again in 2006. A bold presentation from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed his interest in bringing two teams to the city, one in Pasadena and the other in Anaheim.
It all became real last year when local papers reported the announcement that Los Angeles had been granted a permit to construct a new Coliseum. Even primetime television couldn't ignore the hype, as evident in HBO's Entourage where super-agent Ari Gold still fawns at the opportunity to be the one to bring a professional football team to LA.
However, in light of all the publicity surrounding this opportunity, there's always the fine print that is so hard to miss.
While our Governor may put himself in the shoes of Mr. Gold he also needs to recognize that the NFL is an organization that prefers to run under its own conditions and circumstances. Given the fact that there is a set balance with teams and divisions, the only hope LA has for bringing a team to the city would be through enticing a franchise to relocate, thus making a two-team move seem like an unlikely option.
So let's not get too excited just yet. Even if a team is convinced to punch their ticket to Hollywood, it would likely be one with an underachieving record; this is the case with Buffalo and with ambitious owners who smell opportunity in Seattle.
Heartbreak seems to be inevitable given such a drastic move for an organization's hometown fans. However, there are logical reasons to foster a new plan for relocation. For one, if the league was to make a transition in this direction it would create numerous jobs in a city that has seen unemployment skyrocket in the last few years.
In addition, a steady market is already in place to support the new potential pigskin prospects. This in turn would attract more investors and business, evident in the celebrity status of the Lakers- sorry Clippers fans.
While some fans may remain disappointed to see their team leave, it's hardly something to complain to the fans of Los Angeles about. After seeing it happen twice with the Rams and Raiders, don't expect to hear too much sympathy from LA natives. In reality, history has proven that regardless of where a team is relocated to, the real diehard fans continue to support them from afar.
Despondency is always the initial reaction to loss, however it's hardly a lasting one. But before anyone gets ahead of themselves, all hopeful fans can do is wait and see. Then again, for a city with 14 years of preparation for this, what's a few more?