By Jack Humphreville.
The National Football League is considering moving one or two franchises to the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the second largest media market in the country with over 18 million residents in the five county area.
Now that downtown Los Angeles is no longer a viable option, the NFL is considering two locations for a stadium, including a $1.9 billion extravaganza in Inglewood to house the now St. Louis Rams. The second alternative is a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson that would be the home field for both the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders.
There a numerous benefits for the teams and the NFL. For example, each team would opportunity to increase their stadium related revenues through higher ticket prices (over $100 a ticket), higher concession prices (say hello to $12 beers), and the sale of more luxury skyboxes to Southern California fat cats using tax deductible dollars.
The League would also benefit from higher television ratings in LA, the Entertainment Capital of the World, which would more than offset any losses in the secondary markets of Oakland, San Diego, and St. Louis. It would also attract more viewers to its fledgling NFL Network.
But what do we get in return?
The three potential transplants are all losers and have a combined record this year of 12 wins and 21 losses. The managements of these teams are not considered to be brightest bulbs in the NFL, dooming us to seasons of mediocrity, disappointment, and frustration.
At the same time, we will be paying through the nose for this team.
Ticket prices will more than likely exceed $100. Toss in exorbitant concession prices, parking fees that would make Boston Frankie (McCourt) blush, and overpriced merchandise and the total tab for a family of four to attend a game will most likely exceed $600, far out of reach for most Southern Californians.
The NFL will also implement a personal seat license program where season ticket holders will have to pony up nonrefundable deposits estimated to be between $2,000 and $100,000 a seat in order to be eligible to buy tickets. This scheme is expected to raise about $500 million which will cover a portion of the cost of the new high tech stadium.
We will also be hit up with higher cable TV bills as the cable operators will pass along the higher transmission fees demanded by the local network affiliates who will argue that higher ratings warrant higher subscriber prices.
At this point in time, 75% of the owners have not been able to arrive at a decision on which team (or teams) will be awarded the LA franchise. But the logical choice would be the Rams as the NFL would lose significantly fewer fans if it ditched St. Louis as opposed to the larger and faster growing markets of San Diego and Oakland.
Furthermore, the Rams and its owner, multibillionaire Stan Kroenke, and his wife (a Wal-Mart heir) have greater financial resources than the combined resources of the financially challenged owners of the Raiders and the Chargers.
Industry pundits have estimated that a move from St. Louis, the 18thlargest market in the country with population of less than 3 million, to Los Angeles would increase the value of the Rams’ franchise by as much as $1 billion. As a result, the nabobs of the NFL – whose franchises have a combined value of over $60 billion – will extract a relocation fee estimated to be in the range of $500 million.
But rather than pocketing this relocation fee, the NFL owners should contribute it to a charitable trust as the price for our eyeballs and our having to put up with a losing team. These funds could be used to help finance the 2024 Summer Olympics or other sporting activities similar to those supported by the LA 84 Foundation, the organization funded by the profits of the 1984 Olympics.
Can money buy our love? Not really, but it sure can get our attention.
Cross-posted at City Watch.