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McCourt’s involvement makes L.A. return less likely

McCourt V. McCourt Getty Images

Yes, it appears the NFL will have a team in London before it ever returns to Los Angeles.

With the league not interested in Ed Roski’s shovel-ready project in the City of Industry and the league presumably interested in the AEG proposal in downtown L.A. only if Phil Anschutz will do a deal that’s very bad for him financially (which he won’t), the last shot at a new venue is Chavez Ravine, adjacent to the stadium where the Dodgers play.

And the former owner of the Dodgers is now in position to screw that up, too.

The Los Angeles Times reports that documents recently unsealed by a court in California show that Frank McCourt has the contractual ability to be the sole landlord for an NFL stadium built at what many believe is the NFL’s preferred L.A. location.  But Sam Farmer of the Times explains that the NFL has no desire to be in business with McCourt, whose ugly divorce resulted in the sale of the Dodgers.

To make the stadium happen in Chavez Ravine, someone would have to buy out McCourt, making an already incredibly expensive proposition even more costly.

Farmer’s item contains plenty of intriguing details.  Chavez Ravine landed on the NFL’s radar screen in the mid-1990s, with former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley envisioning a team playing in a stadium overlooking L.A., led by a General Manager named Roger Goodell.

Those possibilities evaporated when the Coliseum became, at the time, the preferred local option for a return from the NFL.  (Saints fans everywhere are now rooting for the invention of time travel.)

As a result, the NFL is even farther from returning to L.A..  With more than a generation gone since the Rams and Raiders left and the NFL perhaps as popular as it ever will be domestically, it makes far more sense for the league to focus not on a frontier that has been conquered and abandoned, but on new turf in a different continent.

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59 Responses to “McCourt’s involvement makes L.A. return less likely”
  1. mustbechris says: Jun 13, 2013 11:49 AM

    I can’t wait until a team gets put in London and it’s a colossal failure.

  2. hor2012 says: Jun 13, 2013 11:52 AM

    I’m a Saints fan but I don’t get the time travel thing. Could someone explain it to me

  3. accipiterq says: Jun 13, 2013 11:56 AM

    I don’t get the Saints reference…

  4. eroschmidt says: Jun 13, 2013 12:02 PM

    I have been worried about my beloved Buffalo Bills taking the money and running to LA when our 94 year old owner dies but the Bills recently just signed a new 10 year lease with $150 million dollar stadium upgrades. The buyout penalty to move the team is set at $400 million. I think LA getting a team will happen so I’m actually hoping they figure LA out and get a team in there in the next few years before the Bills lease expires….

    GO BILLS.

  5. mike5011ad says: Jun 13, 2013 12:05 PM

    Bottom line, it doesn’t really matter where you play the games in the US. That’s why there is no rush to put a team in LA. All the big money is in the TV contracts. If you put a team in LA, you aren’t going to gain many more viewers overall. They’ve pretty much saturated the market. That’s why the owners are pushing so hard for overseas markets. There’s 700 million Europeans that they can market to who don’t already get NFL football. These owners didn’t get rich by being dumb…

  6. exboomer says: Jun 13, 2013 12:05 PM

    LA will NEVER support a full time NFL team. They’ve already failed twice in the past and nothing has changed to make anyone except the greedy NFL owners think it will be a success a third time. And I agree with mustbechris, a London based franchise WILL be a huge failure as well.

  7. prince5000 says: Jun 13, 2013 12:07 PM

    mustbechris says:
    Jun 13, 2013 11:49 AM
    I can’t wait until a team gets put in London and it’s a colossal failure.

    ___________________________________

    100% agree.

  8. eatitfanboy says: Jun 13, 2013 12:11 PM

    Sam Farmer is just planting these stories because the AEG downtown stadium was going to named Farmer’s Field, and he thinks that would be cool.

  9. randy8123 says: Jun 13, 2013 12:15 PM

    If Goodell was GM of the LA team he (most likely) would never become commish, and the bounty suspensions would (most likely) never have happened.

  10. blacknole08 says: Jun 13, 2013 12:15 PM

    Why is there not a NFL team in Canada?

    Every other major sport has at least one, and it seems like a more logical area for one than London.

  11. buddysguys says: Jun 13, 2013 12:19 PM

    so much for you chumps saying the Bills are moving to LA…and dont even bother with the Toronto talk.

  12. matthewsherman2013 says: Jun 13, 2013 12:19 PM

    If Goodell was GM of LA team he wouldn’t have punished the Saints for BountyGate.

  13. eliownsthepats says: Jun 13, 2013 12:20 PM

    If the comish was GM of a LA franchise in the 1990’s more than likely not been the comish that lowered the BOOM on your teams a$$!!

  14. peoplesrepublic0fdabayarea says: Jun 13, 2013 12:23 PM

    Hurricane Katrina sent all ‘Aints fans to the stone ages…get it?

    GO NINERS!

  15. upperdecker19 says: Jun 13, 2013 12:23 PM

    LA area NFL fan here. Honestly can care less if we get a team back. It would be nice to raise my kids w/ an occasional gameday experience…..but the last game I attended in San Diego….I witnessed a stabbing in the stands, and multiple people puking and peeing in the middle of the parking lot. So most likely wouldn’t attend games even if they were here.

    That all aside. McCourt is HATED here!!! He could become CEO of Walmart, Apple and Microsoft and those companies would fail in LA. Anything with his name attached to it, the typical LA fan won’t touch!

  16. melbatoast123 says: Jun 13, 2013 12:31 PM

    I don’t get the Saints reference…

    Roger Goodell runs the team in LA, likely doesn’t become Commissioner, then doesn’t suspend Payton.

  17. jimmyt says: Jun 13, 2013 12:31 PM

    Most that pay attention to such things have known for a long time that the NFL is done in L.A.

  18. jeremycrowhurst says: Jun 13, 2013 12:31 PM

    Yes. You’re right. It makes much more sense to abandon L.A. and pursue London. It’s all so clear to me now.

  19. romosmicrodongs says: Jun 13, 2013 12:35 PM

    american football will never beat out eu rugby in europe

  20. asimonetti88 says: Jun 13, 2013 12:38 PM

    ugh. McCourt is garbage. Terrible news for fans here in LA.

  21. schmitty2 says: Jun 13, 2013 12:44 PM

    If they build a stadium in Chavez Ravine they better build a police station right next door.

  22. 1standinches says: Jun 13, 2013 12:45 PM

    California had its chance with 3 football teams and couldn’t hold on to either of them Plus California is broke..

  23. dougydougdoug says: Jun 13, 2013 12:47 PM

    The NFL is unique, in that it has a system in place to share the profits from TV revenue. Without such a thing, a marque team like the Packers would have folded years ago. They would have never been able to compete with the much (MUCH) larger markets.

    So that makes the NFL a great commodity.

    MLB and NBA are different. They allow regional TV rights ownership, and in fact, that makes franchises like the Yankees, Dodgers, Lakers & Celtics worth more than most NFL teams, even though the NFL is by far, a much more valuable corporation, as a whole.

    So…the LA market. It’s number two in the country, and from a regional standpoint, closer to number one. However, the proof is in the pudding, and with exclusive rights to that high TV dollar, no single owner has the incentive to take the massive financial risk on setting up shop in LA.

  24. 1standinches says: Jun 13, 2013 12:47 PM

    Correction.. Los Angeles had its chance with 3 football teams and couldn’t hold on to either of them Plus California is broke.

  25. th56 says: Jun 13, 2013 12:48 PM

    Funny how this was a done deal while the Vikings were pushing for a new stadium, then promptly fell apart after the Vikings approved their Stadium.

  26. usmutts says: Jun 13, 2013 12:51 PM

    L.A. is where NFL teams go to die.

  27. wallio says: Jun 13, 2013 12:51 PM

    There’s no teams in Canada because its illegal. And no I’m not joking. They past something called the Canadian Football Act (or similar) which basically means its CFL only up there. The bills games had to get a special exception.

  28. dougydougdoug says: Jun 13, 2013 12:52 PM

    romosmicrodongs:

    Now that is shortsighted. The games in London draw capacity crowds, every year. And they are NOT giving those tickets away. On top of that, the SuperBowl is the single most watched sporting event, on the planet, every single year. The numbers only grow, every year.

    Admittedly, comparing the spectacle of the SB to regular season games is a little over-reaching. But you’d be naive to think that there isn’t a large, and valuable interest in the sport throughout all of Europe. Don’t forget, we have three major sports here in the USA, and they all make good money. Just because people love Soccer in London (for instance) doesn’t mean they won’t equally enjoy, and pay money, for NFL.

  29. efriedo says: Jun 13, 2013 12:58 PM

    Why put a team in London when the NFL Europe was such a failure? They had football over there, they didn’t support it. ’nuff said…

  30. hrmlss says: Jun 13, 2013 12:58 PM

    As a Dodger fan, McCort could screw up screwing up….

  31. wallio says: Jun 13, 2013 12:58 PM

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Football_Act

    It looks like it was never passed, but was brought back up again when the Toronto talks started. The CFL is SERIOUS business up north.

  32. docboss says: Jun 13, 2013 1:06 PM

    There will be a team in LA when someone puts 3 billion into the NFL owner’s pockets and a stadium, AND has the consent of the Commish. Expansion only. Can we stop with the perpetual Rams/Jags/Bills nonsense? They should all move but the other owners are greedy/jealous. London is irrelevant. Just a curious diversion to English “fans”. Look at all the successful NBA, NHL, and MLB franchises in London. Zero.

  33. spideysdog says: Jun 13, 2013 1:06 PM

    the NFL tried Europe. it was called, wait for it….. NFL Europe. it failed. badly. nothing has changed.

    too many variables working against it.

    a. London is 8 hours ahead of the pst and 5 ahead of est. are Seahawk fans supposed to tune in at 4am to watch our team play the London Fog?

    b. Football, at its peak, may garner hockey level interest over there. just because football is KING here Florio, does not mean it will be there. those crazy Europeaners have their own “football” and as much as we may like our pigskin stateside, them boys KILL over their football.

    c. playoff scheduling would become a logistical NIGHTMARE. imagine if London DID field a competitive team and win a division. you want to talk disaster for tv?

    and as we know, NBC, CBS, FOX, and ESPN run the NFL. without the 25 billion dollars in contracts they provide, these fat cats aren’t sitting so pretty.

    lastly, and most importantly, how would Madden/Gruden get the bus/ horse trailer over there?

    nothing to see here. move along.

  34. arnieuk says: Jun 13, 2013 1:12 PM

    Talking London, why not just have a weekly game there, take 16 afc teams every one plays a home game there, and have it organised the away teams are the 16 NFC opponents. Then the following year have the 16 NFC teams be the home team and the 16 afc teams as an away team. It means every team is on the same footing, one home one away game over a two year period.

    It’s more likely to attract a full crowd as you will have different teams every week, you will see all the superstars instead of a jax team with little attraction.

    You also won’t have the issue of free agents not wanting to uproot their family to the uk, and of course the high income tax rates etc etc.

    I think that would be more of a success than one team being put at a clear disadvantage of all the travelling and maybe not getting to attract free agents. Fans get to see everyone, keeping them interested, and attracting different fans every week.

  35. gotitan says: Jun 13, 2013 1:14 PM

    mike5011ad says:
    Jun 13, 2013 12:05 PM
    Bottom line, it doesn’t really matter where you play the games in the US. That’s why there is no rush to put a team in LA. All the big money is in the TV contracts. If you put a team in LA, you aren’t going to gain many more viewers overall. They’ve pretty much saturated the market. That’s why the owners are pushing so hard for overseas markets. There’s 700 million Europeans that they can market to who don’t already get NFL football. These owners didn’t get rich by being dumb…

    ___________________________________
    Yeah, because no owner has ever signed off on the likes of Ryan Leaf, Charlie Frye, Quincy Carter, Danny Wuerffel, Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn, Kyle Boller, David Carr, Joey Harrington, Tim Couch, JaMarcus Russell, or Akili Smith. That is just to name a few in one position.

  36. possumsauce says: Jun 13, 2013 1:16 PM

    The real reason the NFL doesn’t want a team in LA is because that vacuum is very useful to the owners in their negotiations for new stadiums every 15 years. If a municipality develops gator arms when it comes to footing the cost of a new building for some billionaire’s team, said billionaire can easily make veiled threats to relocated.

    Once LA is occupied, who would they use? Portland? Louisville? Toronto and London I guess, but no one is taking that seriously yet. Maybe once the league can develop some traction with the LA story and manage to portray that as some viable alternative, it’ll make a new replacement boogeyman and LA can get a team.

  37. lagg1 says: Jun 13, 2013 1:23 PM

    Moving a franchise to London is not a smart business move for the many reasons stated. Moving a franchise to Toronto is not in the best interest because it will affect Buffalo even though there are over 20 million people in Ontario province. I will state this again-I think pay per view in some form is coming. It could be the end of free TV. The cable networks-NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX all have cable sport networks. The games could be shown there. The networks could raise rates against both the advertisers and the public.

  38. NoHomeTeam says: Jun 13, 2013 1:34 PM

    exboomer says: LA will NEVER support a full time NFL team. They’ve already failed twice in the past and nothing has changed to make anyone except the greedy NFL owners think it will be a success a third time.

    ************

    It appears that you misunderstand history. It’s not entirely clear who you mean by “they,” but my guess is that you are implying that the football fans in the area somehow failed the NFL. The truth is, it was the NFL that failed the fans. Al Davis and Georgia Frontiere supposedly couldn’t manage to make money here. That speaks more to their incompetence as owners than to the quality of the L.A. area fan.

  39. thisonesforpat says: Jun 13, 2013 1:48 PM

    randy8123 says:
    Jun 13, 2013 12:15 PM
    If Goodell was GM of the LA team he (most likely) would never become commish, and the bounty suspensions would (most likely) never have happened.

    Yes. And if my aunt had gonads, she would be my uncle.

    If, if, if…

  40. granadafan says: Jun 13, 2013 1:57 PM

    As an SF Giants fan living in LA, I loved and also hated what the McCourts did to the Dodgers. Anything bad that happens to the hated ones was a good thing for Giants fans. However, I do enjoy going to ball games at the beautiful Dodger stadium and McCourt let it become run down. I hate to give McCourt any money as the d-bag doesn’t deserve it.

    I want the NFL back in LA. Politics won’t let it happen though. Another reason to hate McCourt even more.

  41. radrntn says: Jun 13, 2013 2:04 PM

    AEG is still on the market for sale for the right price. 10 billion is a pipe dream

  42. rajbais says: Jun 13, 2013 2:44 PM

    New rule: NFL owners collectively should keep their noses out of other teams’ stadium businesses.

    I team should build it stadium Wherever it feels Would work for them and their fans.

    Industry, California would actually be a better option then LA live or Chavez ravine Because football is a great community sport. Surrounding the city of industry are a bunch of Los Angeles suburbs and an ideal target market for Stadium go ours.

    This is a blue-collar or middle-class civilian sport and because the attendees would live in the cities that surround industry the NFL should sign off with that location.

    After all the owners would look like total hypocrites if they kept the New York stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey, but Not end the Los Angeles football drought saga with a place that can fit a stadium at a cost Friendly price???

    I am rooting for Ed Roski To have the final laugh against the NFL. Many forms of fan violence occurred because the stadiums are out of date and do not attract classy people. When you look at a place with Oakland or, back in the day, veterans Stadium in Philadelphia the stadiums hosted a ton of fan violence.

    Look at candlestick Park in San Francisco. There was a 49er fan that punched a kid that wore an Oakland raiders jersey.

    Maybe if the stadiums were classier and gave people something to do and took their anger away the violence would end.

    There are plenty of alternatives to putting a stadium in industry, California.

    Having fans Acting classier would be one of them and newer stadiums have proven that when looked at versus their aging counterparts.

    Plus, does every Super Bowl have to be in a major city? No. Dallas proved that with Arlington, Texas, the New York teams are proving that with the Meadowlands, and San Francisco will be proving that with Santa Clara, California.

    This thing needs to put to rest. Particularly when the Oakland raiders are a team that could be a good fit for Los Angeles what is as a team is love for by Los Angeles civilians than any other team. The merchandise sales have proven that.

    Their lack of a stadium is causing them to not profit more and the NFL is at fault for that.

    The NFL should end this because if they want football to be successful in Los Angeles stop talking about how there is no football team and rhetorically asking when it’ll come back to Los Angeles.

    If you keep doing this you will be beating up a dead horse, metaphorically speaking, and football in Los Angeles will never come to fruition.

  43. mblue24 says: Jun 13, 2013 2:52 PM

    They need to keep the NFL teams in the USA. Why go to other countries? Damn it’s the National Football League not the World Football League.

  44. sidneyz says: Jun 13, 2013 3:37 PM

    The decision not to put a team in LA because of pure greed and arrogance will undoubtedly bite Goodell and the NFL straight in the Butt. The NFL Bubble will someday burst and then they will be begging for a team in LA.

  45. thetooloftools says: Jun 13, 2013 4:11 PM

    L.A. is not a football town. It’s ok. It is what it is.

  46. richiesaurus310 says: Jun 13, 2013 4:29 PM

    To be honest not having a football team is kind of a good thing for us, we can watch any game we want on Sunday instead of just the local team’s game. I’m a Niner fan in LA, so I don’t care if we get a team or not. I wouldn’t mind an NFC team, but really I’ll always be a Niner fan anyways.

    Btw why isn’t Hollywood Park in Inglewood not being looked at as a potential spot for a new stadium? Three freeways, Centinela Hospital, and LAX are all nearby. Build the stadium where the racetrack is, tear down the forum and put a parking garage there, and extend a train that runs there and continues to LAX. Boom, problem solved.

  47. rcali says: Jun 13, 2013 4:46 PM

    It’s very simple, the only reason a team is not in L.A. is because the people refuse to be bent over by billionaires to build their office buildings. Everything else is just small talk.

  48. antonio says: Jun 13, 2013 5:34 PM

    I live in LA.

    I want an NFL team ASAP.

    If they are going to build a new stadium, Downtown LA is the only place that makes sense, due to the easy public transportation and walkability.

  49. shadowcell says: Jun 13, 2013 5:51 PM

    Yeah, LA “isn’t a football town,” sure, I guess that’s why the Bruins and Trojans and the Rose Bowl are so popular around these parts.

    Of course Farmers Field is a bust. It’s as if the people who proposed that thing have never even seen a map of LA, let alone been here. A football stadium served entirely by LA’s overloaded mass transit system? Especially by the Blue Line, a light rail line that has to snake its way tenuously and slowly through downtown? No space for tailgating? Crammed right in there next to Staples Center, which is already shared by the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings, all of which are competitive and highly attractive at the moment?

    It’s ridiculous. If that was the NFL’s favored alternative, it just goes to show that they really aren’t serious about bringing an NFL team back to LA, and they won’t be, until threatening to move your team to LA if the taxpayers won’t pay for your nice new stadium stops being an effective negotiating tactic for the owners.

  50. jkaflagg says: Jun 13, 2013 6:26 PM

    The NFL is first and foremost a business; and while Frank McCourt is considered a slimeball by many people, to others he is considered a nasty-ass, lawyer-up businessman who converted a parking lot into a billion-dollar profit with more on the way due to the real estate clauses in the Dodger sale. While there are PR issues in dealing with McCourt, there are also big dollars – which NFL owners crave far more than a sterling reputation. The Guggenheim group knew there would blowback from the big sale and real estate partnership with McCourt, but they did it anyway – because it was good business. The NFL will look at it the same way.

  51. chiefsfanmex says: Jun 13, 2013 6:57 PM

    London? No way …. How about Mexico City? The worlds largest city with 23,000,000 people, many stadiums, one that seats over 100,000 people, and only about an hour from Houston and two hours from Dallas. NFL football is extremely popular here (this is the Steelers 2nd or 3rd largest fan base outside of Pittsburgh).

  52. mackcarrington says: Jun 13, 2013 8:05 PM

    Hollywood Park in Inglewood was once a considered site. However the person who had the lease on the land was under deadline to make a stadium deal. The time on the deadline ran out and the land holder had to sell that land to someone who wanted to build hotels there.

  53. natefalkirk says: Jun 13, 2013 10:06 PM

    “it makes far more sense for the league to focus not on a frontier that has been conquered and abandoned, but on new turf in a different continent”

    No, it makes no sense to move on to new turf in Europe.

    If the NFL truly wants Chavez Ravine, they will find a way. That is, if they really want to move to LA, rather than use it as a bargaining chip.

    “Growing the game” stateside doesn’t necessarily mean moving or expanding.

    -How about enabling more folks to actually go to a game? (affordability)

    -How about playing a preseason game in a neutral/college/other city location? (expand fanbase)

    The LA-NFL team issue is sooo tired.

  54. jimmylions says: Jun 14, 2013 2:40 AM

    If the NFL wants to put a team here, the league is going to have to pop for the cost of the stadium.

    The NFL needs LA more than LA needs the NFL.

    The only ones who are really desperate to build a stadium here are career politicians who love gargantuan construction projects because the gargantuan budgets make stealing very easy.

  55. mrznyc says: Jun 14, 2013 8:24 AM

    The LA football fan already has two teams, USC and UCLA. It is the only major city in America with two big time college teams. Other than Miami there isn’t any city that identifies with a major college team. They already have their football fix. That’s what the NFL is up against.

  56. ssh991 says: Jun 14, 2013 10:44 AM

    @ wallio

    The Canadian Football Act was proposed but not passed.

  57. phinfan says: Jun 14, 2013 4:02 PM

    Its probably cheaper and easier to buy out city blocks and relocate people in COMPTON!!!!!!!

  58. finz4eva says: Jun 14, 2013 8:53 PM

    From what I hear Directtvs conract with the NFL expires after 2013 and after that it will be PPV for any game.

  59. boltfaninfalconcountry says: Jun 15, 2013 6:44 AM

    So does that mean we no longer have to hear NFL owners use LA as leverage to coerce a stadium out of their city?

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