By John Seiler.
Are you ready for some football in Southern California?
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Thursday said NFL football is “highly likely” to return to Los Angeles 20 years after the Raiders scampered back to Oakland and the Rams defected from Anaheim to St. Louis. He said the recent $2 billion sale of the Clippers NBA team showed how profitable a new team would be for the NFL, whose owners would split a franchise fee for a new team; or a relocation fee, such as if the Rams return.
But the Times reported:
Previous L.A. mayors have predicted the imminent return of the NFL to the city. Though many in the NFL are optimistic that the league will soon return to the nation’s second-largest TV market, some team owners are skeptical about how much the ball has moved during the last several years.
Garcetti also said the deal could be done without taxpayer subsidies. But the NFL has preferred such subsidies as a way to get a deep commitment from local politicians. For example, the shining, new, high-tech Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara for the 49ers cost $1.31 billion, of which $114 million was from taxpayers.
That was an exception to the general resistance of California taxpayers in recent decades to stadium tax subsidies.
I suspect the NFL will punt on the new team until the next recession, when some of the owners’ other businesses have tanked and they’ll need some quick cash. There are 30 owners. So if the league intercepts a $3 billion franchise fee, each owner would get $100 million.
By contrast, in 1972, “Chicago industrialist Robert Irsay purchased the Rams for $19 million and then traded the franchise to Carroll Rosenbloom for his Baltimore Colts and cash.”
According to the CPI Inflation Calculator, $19 million in 1972 would be $108 million today, factoring inflation. So in 42 years, the value of an NFL team in L.A. has risen about 30-fold.