Friday, October 14, 2011
By Arash Markazi
Welcome back to the NFL@LA mailbag where I’ll be answering all your NFL in Los Angeles questions. You can send me a question in the comments section below, on Twitter or you can find me on Facebook. We’re pretty flexible around here. And remember if you didn’t get your question answered or want to discuss anything further we will have an NFL@LA chat on Friday at 1 p.m.
You have pointed out that the Jaguars stadium lease make them unlikely candidates to move to LA. Can you provide some more details on what makes that arrangement so prohibitive for a move out of Northeast Florida? Are there any potential loopholes there?
-- Sean Lawton
Well, first of all, Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said he has no plans to sell the team or move the team. All the other teams that are rumored to move have owners that would either sell the team or move the team if they don’t get a new stadium. Jacksonville is always brought up presumably because it’s, well, Jacksonville. The Jaguars' lease to play at EverBank Field runs through the 2029 season, and if the Jaguars wanted to leave before then, they would be required to prove they had lost money in three consecutive seasons or convince a local judge that the city was failing to properly maintain the stadium. The odds of any NFL team losing money in any year, let alone three consecutive years, or a judge allowing the local NFL team to leave town are remote. Of course, leases can usually be broken for a negotiated price, but it seems the penalty would be too steep considering the other candidates available.
If Farmers Field is built in Downtown Los Angeles, How will the tailgating situation turn out with the lack of parking in Downtown? I read that the number of the parking lots in use now around LA Live will be further reduced by a number of construction projects (hotels, condos, etc.) that will take place in the future.
Great question and it’s honestly the biggest problem AEG and Farmers Field must tackle along with finding ample parking, especially if they play weeknight games. AEG officials have said there will be room for tailgating and that there will be 32,000 parking spaces within a 15-minute walk of Farmers Field. The problem with that parking number is that it is good on weekends but many of those spaces would be occupied on a Monday or Thursday night for a game. And while there may be tailgating areas around Farmers Field it wouldn’t be like the ample room you’d find at the Rose Bowl or the projected stadium in the City of Industry which is being built in the center of 600 wide open acres.
From the time a team announces its relocating to LA to their first game in a new stadium, how long will that process take?
So, if a team decides it wants to move to L.A. on June 1, 2012 and construction begins the next day, it would be playing in Farmers Field by September 2016. If they chose to play in the City of Industry site they would probably be playing in their new home by September 2014 or 2015. Why would it take less time? Construction on the actual Farmers Field stadium is not going to begin until the new wing of the Los Angeles Convention Center is completed and the old West Hall is torn down, which would push construction back on the actual stadium about 24 months. There are no such concerns in Industry where they would simply grade the site and build a football stadium and parking lots.
I have always felt that another reason that Los Angeles has yet to land an NFL team besides L.A. politics, (especially the Coliseum Commission) is the fact Al Davis has always argued that the L.A. market belongs to him and ONLY him, ever since he moved his team down here in the early 80's. So my question is: Do you think with the passing of Al Davis, that talks between NFL owners and executives and L.A. leaders, might bear fruit and bring NFL football back to L.A.?
I totally agree that L.A. politics and the Coliseum Commission played a big role in delaying the return of the NFL to Los Angeles but I really don’t think Al Davis’ claim that he owns the L.A. market, despite leaving it 16 years ago, played a big role in their reluctance to come back. If they had a stadium that was ready to be privately financed in a location they liked and a team wanted to move there, I don’t think Davis’ claim would have stopped them from making it happen and I don’t think Davis really had a leg to stand on in court by claiming a city he deserted in 1995 was still his property years later.
Would the L.A. Chargers not be as valuable if there were to be a second team in L.A.?
Great question Jason. That was one of the biggest fears Al Davis had. He believed the Los Angeles market was his and his alone when he was here and he didn’t want the league moving another team to L.A. He thought it would weaken the franchise’s value and the Raiders’ stranglehold on the L.A. market. He could have had a new stadium at Hollywood Park in 1995 but the fact that the NFL insisted he agree to allow another NFL team to play in the stadium caused him to move back up to Oakland. Think about that. He hated the idea of sharing a stadium and a market so much he left a brand new stadium to move back to the old one he had left 13 years earlier. I don’t think the value of a franchise would drop that much if a second team moved to L.A. I doubt the values of the Jets and Giants are much less than they would be otherwise if they didn’t share the same stadium and market. There’s no doubt it would hurt it somewhat but not enough for a team to try and block it from happening.
With Al Davis' unfortunate passing, will teams feel more pressure to move to LA this offseason with more teams in the mix?
It certainly could if Carol and Mark Davis decided to sell the Raiders to a group that planned on moving the team to L.A. Remember both Los Angeles stadium groups want to buy about 30 percent of the team. The Davis family, which owns about 46 percent of the Raiders, could not sell that percentage because they would no longer be majority owners, so they would have to sell their entire percentage so the new owners would have the same controlling interest. Now if the Davis family announces it isn’t selling and keeps the team for a couple of years, then I don’t think you see that same urgency but I think most people expect the Davis to at least entertain the offers that will no doubt be coming their way.
How does the passing of Al Davis affect the Raiders chances of moving to LA?
I think they are now in the conversion, whereas before I never really considered them because of Al Davis’ relationship with the NFL and the L.A. market and also because Davis was not in a position to sell 30 percent of the team. Now that the team could be for sale, there’s a chance a deal could be made. Remember both proposed stadiums are being built with two teams in mind, which Davis had a big problem with. He didn’t want to share his stadium with another team.
Would Farmers Field be a Super Bowl Host? Who is the five most popular teams LA people root for?
Yes, both Los Angeles stadium proposals expect to be in the Super Bowl hosting rotation much like Miami if one of them is eventually built. I’d say the five most popular teams in Los Angeles are the Raiders, Rams, Chargers, Cowboys and Steelers.
Is Super Bowl 50 in LA a possibility?
I know the league would like it to be a possibility after the first two Super Bowls were held in Los Angeles. If it is going to happen, however, construction on the stadium would have to begin by the summer of 2012 and I’d also assume a team would have to move here by then too. I can’t imagine the NFL awarding the game to a stadium that hasn’t even started construction or to a city without an NFL team. If a team moves to LA by June 2012 and construction started, I fully expect the NFL to award the game to L.A. but that’s a huge “if.” I still think Super Bowl 51 is more likely.
How soon will there be a second team there?
I’ve always said if the San Diego Chargers are the first team to move to LA in 2012 or 2013, that the St,. Louis Rams would be the second team to move to LA in 2015. The Rams can get out of their lease agreement with the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission after the 2014 season if the Edward Jones Dome doesn't receive significant improvements. Plus, having the Chargers and the Rams relocate to Los Angeles would be the most ideal scenario for the league, which would like to see one AFC West team and one NFC West team move to Los Angeles (preferably with Los Angeles ties) so the geography of the current divisions still work and each of the conference's television broadcasters (currently CBS and FOX) will get a team in the country's second-biggest media market.