League tells teams not to cut their own L.A. deals

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If the NFL returns to Los Angeles, it’ll be the NFL returning to Los Angeles.  Even though it will be an NFL team that returns to Los Angeles.

According to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, the league reiterated to all 32 teams in an October memo that the league owns the market, and that the league will decide if/when a team can move there.

The NFL also explained, per Kaplan, that a team buying real estate in L.A., ostensibly for a new stadium, wouldn’t keep the league from doing its own stadium deal.  Kaplan writes that there are some concerns that a team may try to squat on the L.A. market by purchasing the land.

Kaplan mentions that teams like the Raiders and Rams will soon see their stadium leases expire.  It’s possible, if not likely, that the league fears that Raiders owner Mark Davis would try to swing a deal to return to L.A. without league involvement or approval — especially since the Raiders once believed (and possibly still believe) that they have special rights to the market they vacated after the 1994 season.

In 1996, the Seahawks tried to move to Los Angeles, in defiance of the league.  And the Seahawks failed.

Apart from the league’s desire to apply a coordinated negotiated approach that maximizes the revenue and other benefits of an L.A. deal, the NFL also will want to impose a significant relocation fee on the team that moves.  The value of the franchise that enters the Los Angeles market will skyrocket — and the owners of the other franchises will want to siphon off a slice of it.

There’s also a chance that the memo wasn’t really aimed at preventing a team from going rogue, but at signaling to the powers-that-be in L.A. that a deal can happen if/when someone is willing to do the kind of deal the NFL likes.

In other words, the NFL makes a ton of money and the “partner” either loses money or doesn’t make much of it in order to be in business with the NFL.

48 responses to “League tells teams not to cut their own L.A. deals

  1. “In other words, the NFL makes a ton of money and the “partner” either loses money or doesn’t make much of it in order to be in business with the NFL.”

    From an NFL standpoint, why not? The party doing business with the NFL will surely realize financial benefits outside of that deal from the notoriety that comes from making that deal, and having it go smoothly from “dream” to “reality”.

  2. the league reiterated to all 32 teams in an October memo that the league owns the market
    What? How much did they purchase it for?

  3. I’d be interested to know if this strong-arming by the league violates any of the dizzying exceptions/restrictions placed on them by their antitrust status. The league goes to a fair amount of effort to insist that they’re 32 separate franchises with no collusion between them, but this sounds an awful lot like a single monopoly making the rules here.

  4. More of the same from the not-for-profit league, otherwise known as the National Football League. When is some politician going to call a hearing and examine the monopoly exemption this band-of-monopolists has received?

  5. They want a team to move to London before they allow one to come to Los Angeles. Roger is scheming his own plans. LA isn’t truly part of that plan. #GoodellMentality

  6. I have a solution. Instead of playing games over in London where interest in football is minimal (the London games are simply a novelty there), why not simply build a stadium in Los Angeles and have 8-10 games (with different teams each week) play in L.A.. That way you have the market and you can even host the Superbowl there, without having to have another expansion. The league is already watered down enough as it is. There is some really terrible football being played these days. Please don’t expand the playoffs either or you are going to see 6-10 teams make the playoffs.

  7. The NFL realizes that a team in L.A. would equal jobs. Lots of jobs. New merchandise deals. More ink and TV. The new facility created could be utilized for a summer Olympics bid. The list goes on. There’s a lot of money in the extraneous opportunities with bringing in an NFL team.

    The “partner” only needs to realize those opportunities, and the “partner” will be blessed with an NFL team at a very high, very publicly known up-front cost.

    Unless it’s an election year, in which case we can probably forget about the L.A. market…

  8. bengalsucker says: Nov 11, 2013 2:39 PM

    Stories like these make me wonder how in the he** the NFL is a tax exempt org in the eyes of our government.

    It’s quite simple. They do it for the same reason the Roman emperors kept the gladiator games going: It’s a lot harder for the public to focus on how awfully and corruptly they are being governed when they have something that serves as an enormous distraction.

    Because, face it: When the government was shut down a few weeks ago, were you more interested in knowing when and how a solution would be reached, or in how well your favorite NFL team was doing?

  9. Apparently the league learned nothing from the decades of losing litigation with Al Davis. Davis proved conclusively in the courts that HE owned the Raiders franchise and HE could go anywhere he wanted. So if the NFL wants to prove once again what a bunch of pinheads are running the show, they best stay out of that arena.
    The NFL is the clubs. The NFL doesn’t exist without the clubs. If I were the owners after getting a memo like that I’d call an emergency meeting, fire Goodell and the entire management team and start again.
    What a bunch of controlling knobs.
    And yes, it’s a ‘non-profit’. Maybe Congress should look at how the NFL runs things, too. These bozos apparently need ANOTHER kick in the rear.
    Not only have they stolen a game each week from the majority of fans who don’t have NFL Network, now they want to steal a franchise to London.
    It’s time for another league to challenge these horse’s hindends.

  10. Too many politicians have been bought and paid for by the billionaires and the tax-free NFL.

  11. There will not be a team in LA until a stadium gets built. They have been trying to build a stadium in L.A. for 30 years. It probably won’t happen in our lifetime.

  12. No sense in the NFL giving away its major bargaining chip in threatening cities like Jacksonville, Oakland, San Diego, St Louis, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Nashville, Seattle, Phoenix, Buffalo, Minneapolis, Charlotte, Indianapolis, & Tampa that their teams will move to LA unless the taxpayers fund a new stadium with sweetheart deals for the owners.

    That would be bad for business.

  13. The Raiders claimed they own the rights to L.A. -And any team that wants to move to Southern California must pay the Raiders first.

    The NFL is blocking that, making it fair for teams wanting to move to L.A.

    By fair, teams don’t have to pay the Davis’s any money, because the NFL is claiming they don’t own the rights, the NFL does.

    Any team that goes to L.A. is going to triple in value and make so much money, it will all work itself out. The NFL knows the L.A. market is a gold mine and will skyrocket even the lowest of the franchises.

    The Rams will be coming home. The question is what AFC team will move to L.A.?

    No, the Jags are not the team as they were built for London. The Chargers are building a new venue in San Diego. So who is left?

    The Raiders.

    As it should be, the Raiders have the strongest fan base of an AFC team in L.A.

    Unless there is a sleeper team?



  14. Stan Kroenke has been buying up a lot of land…in St Louis. You people and your Rams to L.A. you crack me up. That city is the biggest bunch of bandwagon jumpers I’ve ever seen with the Rams record over the past decade the team would be bankrupt out there.

    Just go watch Kobe for $400 a pop.

  15. Take the Washngton franchise and kill 2 birds with 1 shot . I’m sure you wouldn’t call them the L.A. Redskins. lol.

  16. jnvd3b says: Nov 11, 2013 4:30 PM

    Stan Kroenke has been buying up a lot of land…in St Louis. You people and your Rams to L.A. you crack me up. That city is the biggest bunch of bandwagon jumpers I’ve ever seen with the Rams record over the past decade the team would be bankrupt out there.

    Just go watch Kobe for $400 a pop.
    Teams with bandwagon fans:
    Seattle Sonics, Sacramento Kings, Pittsburgh Steelers (see the stands when down big in the 3rd quarter), Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Braves, any team in Miami, New Orleans Pelicans/Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets and Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, Phoenix Suns, San Diego Chargers, any team in Detroit but especially the Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks. I could go on forever. Anyone who subscribes to all of the league packages could.

    Just watch Hawks-Pistons play in an empty arena in February, regardless of the teams’ records or the location of the game.

  17. The real problem that has prevented relocation efforts to LA is that AEG has spiked any deal that hasn’t benefited it during the last 15 years, and its competitors have returned the favor. Now that they’re in different hands, there is hope.

  18. Am I the only one who has a problem with Goodell actively encouraging one or two teams to relocate to London instead of working on deals to relocate to L.A.? I know the NFL is a business. But goodness, let’s be reasonable here.

  19. One very important factor keeps being omitted from any talk of a team moving to LA.
    The fact is the the City of LA is not going to build a stadium. It is going to be built by a private , for profit entity. That entity is not going to just build a stadium without a piece of the action. That means they are going to want to have a percentage of a team that plays there.
    Are the Raiders, Chargers, or Rams going to sell apiece of their teams? Not Likely. The Jaguars? No. Look around the league and see which teams ownership may be in transition any time soon. The only team that has a flashing neon sign on it is in Buffalo. Ralph Wilson may soon be passing his team on to his family who has stated that they don’t want to own it. That would be the opening for the stadium builders to team up with other billionaires to make an offer the Wilson family could not refuse. Fans in Buffalo are holding on to the possibility that Jim Kelly is going to put together a group to buy the Bills and keep them in Buffalo. Maybe. But I don’t know how many billionaires are that beholden to Buffalo to keep a team there. Look at Staples Center in LA. That wasn’t built by the City of LA. It was built by the AEG corporation for their hockey team, the Kings to play in. AEG also owns a percentage of the Lakers. They would be looking to make a similar deal regarding football. The only team that would offer that possibility would be Buffalo.

  20. Doing it on their own, the vikings would screw up a move to LA and require another NFL bailout.

    This is a message to them and any other screw up franchise to let the adults handle the move of your franchise.

    It sure is better than London.

  21. Thanks for the reminder that the SeaPEDS almost moved out of town due to lack of fan support. Yet somehow these guys all make it seem like they are the best fans evarrrrr.

  22. Well you “know” if the league had to issue that statement, that there has to be a reason for it.

    Question is does Mark Davis have the same cojones as his father had. We know Al stated this many of times, that he owned the rights to LA. Alioto stated it in the courtroom a number of times. Paul Tagliabue has stated his opinion about paying the raiders for LA. Amy Trask has stated many of time that the raiders feel they own the rights to LA. Say what you want, but i think this will end up back in the courtroom again.

  23. Goodell is the type of guy that needs to stay away from power, for the sake of everyone around him. He reminds me of Bllomberg.

  24. Goodell is the type of guy that needs to stay away from power, for the sake of everyone involved. He reminds me of Bloomberg.

  25. The NFL is in no hurry to bring a team to LA, because LA is the best TV market & brings in a lot of TV revenue & the NFL can scare other cities to use public money for new stadiums with the threat of moving their team to LA.

  26. Mark Davis is telling the League they are number one. Well, he is holding up one finger anyway…

  27. Al Davis vs. the NFL

    The late Al Davis and the NFL had a love-hate relationship…with not much love. In April 1966, Davis was named commissioner of the AFL, and he quickly started signing the NFL’s top quarterbacks. Three months later, the two leagues merged (AFL owners blocked Davis from the meetings), and to Davis’ chagrin, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle was given the top seat. Davis returned to the Raiders, where he took over managing duties and bucked the league at every opportunity. In 1980, Davis attempted to move the Raiders to the L.A. Coliseum without proper league consent. The NFL filed an injunction to block the move, and Davis retaliated with an antitrust suit. Davis eventually won the lawsuit and was awarded $35 million in damages from the league. Adding prideful insult to financial injury, the Raiders won the Super Bowl the following year, forcing Rozelle to present Davis the Vince Lombardi Trophy

  28. “The league reiterated to all 32 teams in an October memo that the league owns the market, and that the league will decide if/when a team can move there.”

    The NFL needs to be bitch slapped again and the ball is in your court, Mark.

    Do it for your dad, do it for everyone.

  29. The NFL already lost this legal fight >30 yrs ago to the late Al Davis. They then stood by without protest when Davis’ actions to move his team without approval by other owners were duplicated by the late owners Art Modell, Bud Adams & Bob Irsay. If the NFL seriously tries to prevent any team from moving to any city of their choosing, their legal bill & actual/punitive damages will make Al Davis’ take of $35MM look like pocket change.

  30. Magic Johnson and his group will make some current owner a $2+ billion offer that they couldn’t possibly refuse. Just like they did with the Dodgers.

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