In the NFL’s game of stadium roulette, which city is the next to get a team?

Getty Images

If more than three teams in 15 months will be getting the green light to move from their current cities, they will need to have a destination. So where’s the next place the NFL will send one of its teams?

The answer depends initially on whether there’s a market that will cough up millions in free money to make it happen. Although fewer and fewer NFL markets are willing to pay huge money to keep a team, there could be more Las Vegases out there, willing to find a way (ideally by avoiding a vote of the citizenry) to legitimize the city bigly by putting it in the big leagues.

Apart from whether cities like St. Louis or San Antonio or San Diego or wherever will find a way to pay the lion’s share of the price to accommodate one of the kings of the sporting world’s jungle, owners who have to buy their own stadiums will be tempted to pay the same price to build them in places where much more money can be made, both on game days and on the other 355 days of the year.

Loyalty sounds good in theory, but it’s a zero-sum game. For every city that loses a team, there’s another city thrilled to get one. The bigger the new city, the bigger the thrill; the smaller the old city, the smaller the outcry.

Then there’s the benefit of having an NFL-ready city, for when multiple teams are ready for a new stadium. The effort to get free money is never easy, but it’s a little easier when there’s a clear-cut “or else” option.

As noted by Albert Breer of, London looks to be the next “or else” option, regardless of whether the NFL would actually ever move a team there. Indeed, they’ve been talking about moving a team to London for years, possibly in an effort to spur interest in England — and possibly to prepare for this very moment, where L.A. and Las Vegas are filled and London must be a viable relocation option in order to get new stadiums built with other people’s money.

Still, London won’t be viable unless the Atlantic Ocean can be crossed more quickly, and until the league comes up with a strategy for erasing the disadvantage of playing in England without creating too much of an advantage. Also, if one team will be in London, two teams make even more sense, since it creates a natural rivalry and (if the teams are in the same division) reduces the overseas travel burden for the two teams from eight games to seven.

It’s still a long way off, but it’s coming. Because teams will soon need new stadiums, and if they can’t get someone else to pay for most of it they’ll start looking around for other potential destinations.

53 responses to “In the NFL’s game of stadium roulette, which city is the next to get a team?

  1. People need to stop being so stupid and not vote as a fan. Asking the voting public to be informed is asking too much however.

  2. The only reason the owners keep doing this is because with profit sharing, if you are ranked 32 out of 32 you are the weak link in the chain, and with so much revenue coming into the NFL (by us), they must continually ensure each franchise has a business model that holds up their end of the deal.

    None of it would matter if we as a people weren’t ravenous and spent increasing amounts of money on everything NFL. We cant both continue to do that and blame the owners greed, you cant be mad they keep taking your money and continually try to turn it into a better product.

    The answer? Meh who cares. I think we are all fatigued by this relocation stuff and the league knows its best for business to just chill out for awhile. All stadiums needing replacement have either been renovated or the teams are locked into long term leases.

  3. The Concorde jet cost roughly $125M to build in today’s money per plane.

    Problem solved.

    Or, the teams can jump off the Empire State Building, bounce off Roger’s ego on Park Avenue, and safely land at Heathrow.

  4. Oh what the h*ll, put a whole division in England. That way the US division that plays the England division can just spend 4 straight weeks there. And the English division can spend 4 straight weeks in the US.

  5. “Still, London won’t be viable unless the Atlantic Ocean can be crossed more quickly…”

    And then you have a few teams in the Pacific and Mountain time zones that cannot quickly get to the Atlantic Ocean before they cannot quickly cross it…

  6. As expensive as new stadiums have become, it would behoove each individual owner to set aside money in savings/investment to help finance a new stadium/stadium upgrades. And also for 32 teams collectively to put money in an interest bearing/ investment account for low interest loans when an owner needs a new stadium/upgrades.

  7. I think the NFL doesn’t realize, or maybe they already do, one thing that possibly could happen. Others have mentioned what I am about to say already. A team’s brand and product could be a national one, etc. The fans still followed the Raiders when they moved to LA.. Other teams also have fans across the country. A lot of those fans do live in a city without an NFL team and follow a particular team. Why cough all that money to keep your team in a city, when another city will be glad to do it?

    TV revenue is the real cash cow for an NFL team. You can watch the game using the internet, cable, or satellite. The Nielsen ratings for the cities in the US has ranked Las Vegas 40th. Where is all that other money to be had coming from?

  8. As and when the NFL is ready to invest in a couple of SSTs, it may be time to award a franchise to London.

  9. There is a strong consensus by economists that states stadiums are not worth the costs, particularly to the communities. Instead, only the owners would benefit.. Let the owners move and let the other cities pony up the money.

  10. NFL Owners want tax payer dollars to fund stadiums. I live over here in England and can say that UK tax payer £££s will NEVER end up funding a stadium over here. This never happens, especially in a capital. city already chock-full of stadia. Even the national soccer team had to self-fund their stadium at Wembley a decade ago, and that was in the financial good times.

    So rest assured, Bills, Jags and Panthers fans, nothing happening over here any time soon on this front, all #NFLsmokeand mirrors.

  11. Portland OR, San Antonio Austin, Orlando, Raleigh Durham, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, and Oklahoma City. Keep American football in America. There is plenty of cities here that can support it.

  12. Apr 2, 2017 3:39 PM
    NFL Owners want tax payer dollars to fund stadiums. I live over here in England and can say that UK tax payer £££s will NEVER end up funding a stadium over here. This never happens, especially in a capital. city already chock-full of stadia. Even the national soccer team had to self-fund their stadium at Wembley a decade ago, and that was in the financial good times.

    So rest assured, Bills, Jags and Panthers fans, nothing happening over here any time soon on this front, all #NFLsmokeand mirrors.

    I agree. Smoke and mirrors. A bluff
    No way England will allow the owners to ignore your laws concerning rules with players like the USA does. Canada will not either. Many rules in players contract go against our bill of rights and England’s laws as well. You guys will not let your officials ignore them as we allow ours.

  13. Tax payer funded stadiums for billionaires is the oddest commerce exchange I have ever witnessed I think.

    That’s like Walmart asking a community of citizens to build them a store so they can profit off selling us stuff.

  14. I hope that not all fan bases could be so easily hoodwinked by a grifter owner like the fraudulent Ziggy Wilf into voting for a public referendum to spend billions on a monument to their stupidity.

  15. If you can get Jerry Jones (after all he basically runs the ownership) to go along the 4+ million people in the San Antonio / Austin Corridor (particularly if you include Corpus Christi) would be ideal and fuel the intra-state competition between the large Texas metropolitan areas. If the Raiders play there in 2018 I bet the San Antonio market is going to look very attractive to Buffalo, Jacksonville or Carolina.

  16. Cleveland’s stadium will turn 20 in 2019, and my TV producer ex GF tells me it was not built properly with respect to the ability to easily produce TV out of it. So don’t be surprised if (a) the crooked owner, who barely escaped indictment for a massive fraud perpetrated by his company against its trucking customers, starts whining about a new stadium, and (b) Columbus, which city [though not region] has a larger population, mulls building a stadium for them.

    Yeah, it would be stupid. Especially with the financial trouble over the Blue Jackets’s stadium. But it would not surprise me a bit if it comes up.

  17. Portland, are you kidding me that city is a pig sty. they allow homeless people to camp anywhere and all their garbage they take with them. On the highways and in the city. They build a new stadium there and the homeless will be camped out at the new stadium.

  18. Atlantic City, NJ–If Vegas can have a team, why can’t this broken down city get one?

    Austin, TX–Rising young population but Texas already has two teams too many.

    Mexico City–If London is an option, then why not show some love to our amigos down south?

    Tuscaloosa, AL–They already have a professional team but some players might have to take a pay cut for salary cap reasons.

    Boise, ID–It has a good name. Not sure if Boise is in Idaho. Boys, I da ho’.

  19. While games are getting very boring, the thing the NFL has over all other pro sports is that it’s 1 game a week. You can attract so many more fans because there is almost no commitment to be a fan.

  20. Colts moved to Indy, Baltimore built a new stadium. Cardinals moved to Phoenix, St Louis built a new stadium. Browns moved to Baltimore, Cleveland built a new stadium. Oilers moved to Nashville, Houston built a new stadium.

    So my guess would be San Diego or St Louis.

  21. I’m not so sure that you’re going to see too much in the way of relocation in the future.

    The two franchises that make the most sense (Jaguars/Bills) have ownership groups that either A. Love their city and won’t relocate because they own another team in said city, and the backlash would be so great for moving the Bills that the fans would likely stop supporting the NHL team too, or B. In the case of Khan, has already spent hundreds of millions doing renovations on their stadium, building a multi-million dollar training complex, and has invested a lot of money into real estate ventures within the city. Neither of those teams will move.

    A lot of cities with stadiums at, approaching, or beyond 20 years old (Green Bay, Chicago, Kansas City, New Orleans, Miami, Jacksonville, Washington, Baltimore, Cleveland, Tampa, Nashville, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Denver, Seattle, Detroit, New England, and Houston are all 15 years old or older.) have been putting a lot of money into said stadiums to keep them up to date. In the case of Miami and New England, those stadiums are privately owned.

    The only teams I see currently as being wild cards are the Panthers and Saints because of their ownership situations. Richardson in Carolina wants the team sold to the highest bidder upon his death and who knows who’s going to get the Saints once Benson dies, he’s already wrapped up in legal battles over it.

    I don’t believe that London will ever happen and to be honest, I believe that San Diego, San Francisco (2nd team can play in Levi’s) St. Louis, and San Antonio alone are more than adequate stalking horses.

    Currently, every single one of those markets have an NFL caliber stadium ready to go on a temporary basis, unlike Las Vegas, which I believe will ultimately fail as an NFL market.

  22. Indeed, these are the Golden Years of the NFL.

    If soccer ever catches on, watch out!

    I can’t stand soccer, but the resentment being fostered by the NFL in bullying cities into financing their playgrounds will continue to fester beneath the surface.

    Nothing is forever.

    Not even the NFL.

  23. Toronto, Mexico City, and Guadalajara are the three biggest metropolitan areas in North America without a team.

  24. If the NFL is serious about London, it should look into buying a Concord. A 3hr flight from the East Coast would make playing in London much more tolerable.

  25. The London Patriots would be hilarious.
    We could burn effigies of King George the 3rd and throw tea around and break windows and burn buildings just like in the good ole days of the American Revolution.

  26. Stop with the London talk.. logistically a nightmare.. you hamstring the entire franchise as most players don’t want to uproot their families to live internationally so free agency would be a mess.. there is a whole different health and tax code.. it is the dumbest idea since they tried to make all NFL fields Astroturf. They like the game so much, they can develop their own league.

  27. I don’t believe I would want a team until Goodell leaves the roost. I don’t trust Roger.

    My heart breaks for St Louis, San Diego and Oakland. They derserve much, much better.

    I can’t imagine how devastated the Raider fans have to be and the fact they aren’t leaving for at least two years. I hope the fans give Goodell and Mark Davis the royal treatment as in not showing up at all for the remainder of the time they play in Oakland.

  28. lscratchingthesurface says:
    My heart breaks for St Louis . . .

    Why? St. Louis stole two NFL franchises from two other cities, and apparently that was OK. But somebody else takes those teams away and suddenly St. Louis is some kind of victim?
    Not buying it. What goes around comes around.

  29. Canada and Mexico. Duh.

    Toronto. Mexico City.

    Goodell’s London obsession, if realized, will dilute the quality of games even more. That is unacceptable.

    Statistics say a team crossing three time zones is basically spotting the opponent six points.

  30. Just as brick and mortar stores are being crushed by online retailers there is a monumental change that could occur .

    Are fans in a stadium necessary ? can Fans be a TV audience that pays to see their team play in 8 games a year .
    No trips to the stadium , parking hassles crap overpriced food and tickets fewer and fewer people can afford.

    The stadium becomes an entertainment production facility with 20,000 high priced seats max. For the owners who make most of their money from TV a greatly reduced personnel and capital cost.

    team expansion becomes a function of how many fans can be signed up in a given area .

    Not possible ? sure it is just step into any sports bar and you have a gathering of fans with lots of dollars being spent .

    Forget Billion dollar stadiums

  31. The NFL is getting more and more popular in the UK. However, all UK based NFL fans already support an existing team. I’d love to see a London team but in essence I’ll always be a Steelers follower.

    I don’t think it will do any good to have a London-centric team either. It would have to be a UK titled franchise to broaden appeal. ”UK Spitfires” or whatever.

    And why London 🙂 Come to Wales. The Millennium Stadium holds 70,000 has a roof and is surrounded by great pubs. … and its 20 minutes from my house.

  32. It will be a very long time before another team moves. Sad for Oakland but my Raiders are closer to me. Don’t see London getting own team but instead o slate of games. Canada will never get a team. Ownership in Jacksonville seems committed to the city. Ownership inBuffalo owns half the city and another team there plus New York State would never let it happen remember Jets and Giants play in New Jersey so it will be the state not the city help funding a stadium

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!