In just over one year’s time, 3 NFL teams have signed papers to relocate their franchises. Last year the Rams started the trend back up again (this has been a common, yet puzzling trend over the history of the NFL) by moving from St. Louis back to Los Angeles after a 21 year stay in the Midwest. Now this offseason, we have already had the Chargers announcing a move to Los Angeles and the Raiders agreeing to move to Las Vegas.
First things first, Los Angeles has done fine without a football team. The reason why LA has done fine without a football team is simple, most people in LA aren’t from LA. The people living in and around LA aren’t born and raised in Southern California, they are from Milwaukee, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. In LA they have the freedom of watching their teams when they are on, because every game is on in LA. As a matter of fact, based on Steelersbars.com, there are 37 Steeler bars in and around the LA area. Sure the residents of Southern California love their NFL, but they love their own NFL teams. Now, with the Chargers moving to town, the CBS and FOX games will no longer be the national games, it will be the Rams and Chargers every week. So, yes the NFL adds the 2nd largest television market in the country, but guess what, those people were watching the game already. In all likelihood, the ratings in the LA area will go down. Because now, instead of watching the Game of the Week between the Cowboys and Packers on FOX, they are stuck watching the
St. Louis Los Angeles Rams.
What makes this worse is that fans in San Diego, St. Louis and Oakland are losing their teams for one reason and one reason alone, GREED. The billionaire owners of these teams, that basically are printing money at this point, with the amount of revenue that the league now has, wanted new stadiums and held the fans and cities hostage over who should pay for the new stadiums. The cities and fans rightly stood their ground and now the owners are leaving.
Now the solution.
When a team relocates, they have to pay a relocation fee to the other owners of the NFL. That fee is $500 million, which divided evenly to the other 31 owners is just over $16.1M a piece. If you are wondering why the other owners approve these team relocating, now you know. The $500M fee is essentially a $16.1M bribe to vote in favor of the relocation.
Here is how to fix this trend. The NFL owners loan the money to the owners/teams to build their own stadium.
According to Forbes, going into the 2016 NFL season the average value of an NFL team was a record high, $2.34 Billion. Billion with a B! In 2015, 30 of the 32 teams made at least $50M, with the Cowboys leading the way, banking $300M. These owners have the money to help out the other owners. After all, they are one big team, right? If each owner loaned that same $16.1M we talked about before and you add it to the $500M that the relocating owner was willing to hand over to relocate, you have ONE BILLION DOLLARS to build a new stadium. This can be done, all while staying in the city and with the fans that have supported you for so many years.
I know that this won’t happen, and it is for the same reason I mentioned before, GREED. But for the good of the NFL, it should happen.
In business, marketing can make or break a business. Is Phil Knight and Nike where they are today without Michael Jordan, the Swoosh or Tiger Woods? NO!
Moving these teams all over the map is bad marketing for the NFL and bad for business. The NFL is taking 3 cities and fan-bases and making them castoffs, basically telling the cities of St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego, that they aren’t wanted. Will the people of St. Louis want to consume the NFL product after that message? I doubt it.
Even worse, the NFL is moving those franchises to cities that don’t want these teams to begin with. Los Angeles is the 2nd largest city in the country, if they wanted football in Los Angeles it would have been there already. It would never have left 21 years ago.
And who exactly is going to pack the stadiums in LA and Las Vegas when these team move? I’ll tell you who, fans from the visiting teams. The fans that fill those 37 Steeler bars in LA, will pack the LA Coliseum the next time the Steelers are in town. And that will happen with every other team in the leagues fan-base too. How about Las Vegas? Talk about a great road trip game to go to! Go to Vegas and watch your favorite NFL team, done!
A few years back, billionaire business man and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban was criticized for saying that the NFL was a balloon ready to burst, and that they were getting too big for their own good. Cuban is a smart man. After a season where TV ratings, game attendance and cost of Super Bowl tickets were all way down from the previous season, it might be a good idea for the NFL and their owners to start caring about their consumer, otherwise Cuban is going to be exactly right.