The Memorandum of Understanding approved by the Los Angeles City Council with the Anschutz Entertainment Group moves professional football a step closer to Los Angeles after a 16-year absence. But it might mean another California city could lose their NFL franchise.
The negotiated deal still has some yards to gain before it scores the big touchdown of returning an NFL team to the City of the Angels. The $1.2 billion deal for a stadium and remodeling of the convention center seems to be sensitive to taxpayer concerns. The stadium and team would bring both construction jobs as well as permanent jobs related to the stadium.
However, if the team that occupies Farmer’s Field comes from another California city, jobs will be lost there.
After the MOU was approved by the City Council, sports talk pundits started speculating which team might move to L.A., since it is assumed by all that the NFL will not add a new franchise at this time. The stadium will not be built without a team confirmed for the new stadium.
The list of possible tenants for Farmer’s Field is not long. The Minnesota Vikings (possibly following the trail first pioneered by the basketball Lakers) is one team that gets attention because that franchise is making little headway in getting a publicly financed stadium. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, and a one-time Los Angeles team, the Rams, now calling St. Louis home, all are considered possibilities.
But, because of contractual obligations and other hurdles these teams face, many pundits think the move will occur within California. Either the San Diego Chargers will move north or the Oakland Raiders will move south.
The Raiders once played in LA, as well, but they would not be welcomed back by all as you can see in this Los Angeles Times piece by sports columnist, Bill Plaschke.
Like the Vikings, the Chargers are also looking for a taxpayer financed stadium, yet economic conditions don’t bode well for such a move.
The prize for any team to move to Los Angeles is acquiring a huge population base with America’s second largest city. The NFL wants that to happen. With a team calling Los Angeles home, the NFL would again consider LA a prime spot for mega-events like the Super Bowl.
Still, the deal isn’t done yet. AEG is not the only developer seeking a team and stadium in the Los Angeles area. Ed Roski is pinning his hopes on a stadium in the City of Industry and he has not given up the fight.
Furthermore, AEG will perform an environmental impact report for the stadium plan but is seeking state legislation to protect against frivolous lawsuits challenging the study. Would legislators from the Bay Area and San Diego County vote to clear the path for AEG if it means one of their teams could possibly move away?
Intrastate rivalry could be a roadblock that negotiators for an NFL team in Los Angeles were not anticipating.