Chat with Arash Markazi
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPNLosAngeles.com writer Arash Markazi stops by to chat. There is never a shortage of questions when it comes to the ongoing saga of the NFL and Los Angeles and that's what Markazi's new blog NFL@L.A. is all about.
Football fans in L.A. aren't alone in their uncertainty about the league's return. The league too has plenty of questions about the city after being away for 16 years. With so many teams rumored to be coming to L.A. and so many proposals being floated, Markazi's blog is the place to get all of the latest information.
Markazi joined ESPNLosAngeles.com as a columnist and writer after five years with Sports Illustrated. Markazi has also written for Slam, King, Vibe and Playboy and is on the board of directors for the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation.
Send your questions now and join Markazi Friday at 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET!
Arash Markazi (4:00 PM)
Hey everyone, welcome to this week's NFL@LA chat, let's get started.
Since this is the last year of the Metrodome lease... could this be the last year of football in MN and the start of annoying post game press conference questions by you next year?
Arash Markazi (4:02 PM)
Haha. Well, I don't know if this is the end of football in Minnesota. Something tells me you guys will figure things out but it won't be easy. The NFL was in Minneapolis this week to figure out what the stadium situation is and Eric Grubman from the league made it clear that if a stadium plan was not in place by the end of the year the Vikings could relocate to Los Angeles.
Jason Yingst (Riverside, CA )
I am wondering about the possibility of Vikings moving to Los Angeles first and join NFC West- Then Rams would be realigned to NFC North. And either Chargers or Raiders would come as 2nd team. That way there would be both NFC and AFC west in Los Angeles. Your thoughts?
Arash Markazi (4:04 PM)
The Vikings remain a distinct possibility as long as their stadium situation goes unresolved. If they do move to Los Angeles and the Rams stay in St. Louis (they have their own stadium situation and have been linked to a move to L.A.) then I could see the possibility of those teams switching divisions to make geographic sense. I've always felt the Chargers would be the first team to move to L.A. but if the Vikings were the first, a possible second team would come from the AFC and the Raiders and Chargers seem like logical candidates.
Jason Yingst (Riverside, CA )
Would it be possible for Los Angeles to just have one NFL team? Assuming other teams would get a new stadium or deals. Or do you think it is guaranteed we would have second team once first team decides to move here?
Arash Markazi (4:10 PM)
A second team is certainly a possibility but not guaranteed, it's just a distinct possibility since the league is telling both stadium projects to account for the possibility of two teams and the league's desire to have a NFC and AFC in the nation's second largest media market when the TV contracts expire in 2014. But no, if L.A. gets one team that doesn't mean a second team is guaranteed.
Joshua (Santa Rosa, CA)
If the Chargers are able to get a new stadium in San Diego, does that mean only an NFC team would move to LA, since the Chargers would already be providing an established AFC presence in Southern California?
Arash Markazi (4:13 PM)
First of all, I don't think San Diego will get a new stadium for the Chargers but even if they do the NFL doesn't consider San Diego a part of Los Angeles. If an NFC moved to Los Angeles first, the Chargers' presence in San Diego would not mean the NFL would not want to put an AFC team there was well. The Chargers being in San Diego didn't prevent Los Angeles from having both the Raiders and Rams.
Carlos (Rancho Cucamoga)
Will Mark Davis sell the Raiders so they can move to LA?
Arash Markazi (4:15 PM)
That's a big question that must be answered sooner rather than later. There was little to no chance of the Raiders moving to Los Angeles as long as Al Davis was the owner and now that he has passed the question is whether Carol and Mark Davis will sell the team. If he does, I can certainly see the Raiders moving to L.A. Both AEG and Majestic want to majority owners of the team if possible and there is already a built-in Raiders fan base in Los Angeles.
Craig (Green Bay)
Aaron Rodgers wants to play in L.A. - the Packers will move, mark it down!
Arash Markazi (4:16 PM)
Haha. I can safely say that's the one team that will not move to Los Angeles.
Neuheisel's gotta be done this year right? There's no way this UCLA team is going to beat 'SC which is the only way he comes close to saving his job.
Arash Markazi (4:17 PM)
Yeah, I don't see how he makes it past this season. Maybe he can be an assistant coach on L.A.'s NFL team. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the Baltimore Ravens before taking the UCLA job.
Correct me if I'm wrong but last week you said L.A. hopes for 2 teams by 2015? Let me guess you guys will have a team like the Dodgers that plays in the heart of L.A. and some other team like the Angels with a ridiculous name called "The Los Angeles Radiers of Anaheim in Orange County"!
Arash Markazi (4:18 PM)
No, if L.A. does get two teams they will both share the same stadium like the Giants and Jets do with MetLife Stadium.
Joshua (Santa Rosa, CA)
With the Giants/Jets Stadium, the people designing it and building it knew who the two teams using it were going to be. In the Bay Area, a stadium is being planned that at this point is specifically for a particular team (the 49ers), but the possibility of having to share exists, and they know who it would be that they would be sharing with (the Raiders). In Los Angeles, however, they still DON'T really know which team(s) they're going to get. How do they design and build a stadium when they don't know what team(s) they'd be building it for?Even if one team commits early, they don't know when, or even if, they would be getting a second team, even if they have been told to be prepared to end up with two teams.
Arash Markazi (4:22 PM)
Well, you can certainly design a state-of-the-art stadium without knowing what team is going to play there. It's not like the stadium would be built like a spaceship if the Raiders played there or a boat if the Vikings played there. A stadium is a stadium. There would be ways to customize it for the team playing there like they do with the Giants and Jets but the design of the stadium is not dependent upon which team plays there.
Keian (Downey, CA)
So far I haven't heard any team owner sound eager to move to L.A. or even say outright we're moving if things don't change in their current situation. Is this all just them being politically correct? Because it just seems like the only people who want the NFL in LA is AEG and Majestic.
Arash Markazi (4:24 PM)
The league and city and state officials in California want the NFL to return to L.A. so it's not just AEG and Majestic. As far as the teams rumored to move there, there is no way they would come out and say they want to move to L.A. or are even thinking about moving to L.A. That would be suicide in their current market. Teams like the Chargers and Vikings want to see how their stadium situation works out and if it doesn't happen and L.A. is ready to give them an acceptable deal, they would probably move.
What makes the NFL think two teams in L. A. would work this time, when it led to them both leaving before?
Arash Markazi (4:26 PM)
The NFL in 2012 is a lot different than the NFL was in 1994 and the stadiums currently being proposed in L.A. are 100 times nicer than the Coliseum and Anaheim Stadium were in the early 1990s. A lot of things have changed since 1994.
Joshua (Santa Rosa, CA)
I remember reading something about the Thrashers moving to Winnipeg that since Atlanta had now lost two NHL franchises in 30 years, it is unlikely to get a third anytime soon. Could St. Louis and the NFL be looking at a similar situation if the Rams leave, since that would be the second NFL franchise that St. Louis has lost in the last 30 years?
Arash Markazi (4:30 PM)
Probably. If St. Louis lost both the Cardinals and Rams, it would be hard to imagine them getting another team unless they built another state-of-the-art stadium and after getting burned twice, would they be willing to spend over $1 billion doing that?
If the Chargers moved to L. A., would they be able to preserve their fan base in San Diego? They would have to adjust their song so that it didn't reference San Diego! ("San Diego Super Chargers...")
Arash Markazi (4:33 PM)
That's true. I think it could still work with "Los Angeles Super Chargers." It depends on if the team decides to keep the name and colors if it moved. If they did, I could see the team keeping some of its fan base in San Diego, including some that would even make the two-hour commute to watch their team. That's what happened when the Raiders moved to Oakland and that's a six-hour drive.
Joshua (Santa Rosa, CA)
The intriguing scenario for me would have the Rams moving back to Los Angeles (with or without the Chargers), and the Jaguars (who were nearly put in St. Louis to begin with) moving to St. Louis (although, admittedly, I was not previously aware of the strict terms of the Jaguars' lease).
Arash Markazi (4:35 PM)
I could see the Rams moving back to Los Angeles but everything else you said doesn't seem realistic. The Jaguars aren't moving and if they did, it wouldn't be to St. Louis, which would have just lost a second NFL team due to stadium issues.
Joshua (Santa Rosa, CA)
I knew that Al Davis sued the NFL for blocking a proposed stadium in Irwindale, but I hadn't realized that it was because the NFL wanted him to be open to sharing the market and stadium with a second team. But this makes no sense because he was already sharing L. A. with a second team, the Rams (who were also trying to get a new stadium). Unless Davis was trying to force the Rams out of L. A.? But then why would Davis leave as well, shortly afterward? And to go back to the same stadium that was unsuitable 13 years earlier, where he would still be sharing the market (with the 49ers--the 49ers, moreover, who had won 5 Super Bowls in the interim)? And now their only realistic chance of getting a new stadium in the Bay Area is to...share it with the 49ers!
Arash Markazi (4:42 PM)
The Raiders weren't sharing the market or a stadium with the Rams, who were playing in Orange County and at Anaheim Stadium, not Los Angeles and the Coliseum. Davis did not want to share the building with another team so they moved to Oakland, not San Francisco, to play at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, not Candlestick Prk. As far as them sharing a stadium with the 49ers in the future, Davis was always against that idea. It will be interesting to see if that changes now with Carol and Mark Davis in charge.
Josh (Fullerton, CA)
I hate the idea of Chargers, a San Diego team, moving to LA. How likely is it they will rebrand? and come to LA as an expansion team like Browns-Ravens?
Arash Markazi (4:49 PM)
I thought for a while that the Chargers should keep their name and colors since they were born in L.A. in 1960 and played at the Coliseum but the more I think about it they should probably re-brand themselves like the Ravens and Titans did. Playing in L.A. for one season 1960 doesn't mean anything in 2012 and L.A. fans want to root for a team of their own.
David Lutmer (Tyler,TX)
What specificaly does the NFL not like about the Farmers Field plan?
Arash Markazi (4:54 PM)
The biggest issues are with AEG trying to buy a percentage of the team that plays there at a discount although that is simply part of a negotiation. You never walk into a car dealership and offer to pay face value, you try to low ball the deal and work your way up. The second problem is with AEG's revenue sharing model with the Lakers at Staples Center which would be copied at Farmers Field where the team sells tickets and game day sponsorship but shares suite and club seat sales as well as naming rights and founding sponsorship sales with AEG. Such a deal would be laughed at by most owners but the teams AEG is talking to would be making more than twice as much as they currently are under such a model.
Arash - In your gut. Which team do you think the powers that be at the NFL want to see move to LA
Arash Markazi (4:57 PM)
I have no idea what team or teams the league wants to see in L.A. but I don't think they would mind seeing an AFC West team like the Chargers and an NFC West team like the Rams return to Los Angeles.
Arash Markazi (4:59 PM)
OK, that's it for this week. See you guys next week.