NFL reminds teams approval is needed to move to L.A. (even if it isn’t)

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As the Rams apparently prepare to move back to Los Angeles, the NFL is doing the best it can to retain the perception that it controls the process. Even if it ultimately doesn’t.

According to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, the NFL issued a memo on Monday reminding all teams that the league, not any one team, will decide who (if anyone) moves to Los Angeles.

The memo explains that the NFL has formed a “Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities,” which will include Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Giants co-owner John Mara, Texans owner Bob McNair, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, and Steelers owner Art Rooney II.

Says the memorandum, per Farmer: “In particular, as has been discussed on numerous occasions and confirmed in various memoranda, any decision to resume NFL team operations in Los Angeles will require multiple approvals from NFL ownership, which can only be granted by a three-fourths vote of the clubs. These decisions include selection of a stadium site; approval of stadium lease and financing arrangements; and debt ceiling and sharing waivers (if needed); relocation consent and terms; and Super Bowl awards, among other subjects. A key role of this Special Committee will be to preserve the voting rights of the clubs on each of these important issues.”

That’s fine, but the fact remains that any effort by 31 different businesses to tell one business how (and where) it will do business becomes a potential violation of the antitrust laws. Late Raiders owner Al Davis fought that fight and won it three decades ago. If Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to do the same thing, he could win, too.

The real question is whether Kroenke is willing to dare his partners to try to stop him — and to fight them in court if they do.

52 responses to “NFL reminds teams approval is needed to move to L.A. (even if it isn’t)

  1. The only owners that would give him issues would be the other California teams. The league splits revenue. LA is a bigger market and therefore on paper should create a larger revenue stream than St Louis. The other owners like making money and this move (if it happens) means they will make more money.

    Al Davis sued the league and won very handily when they tried to stop him from moving. It can’t be that hard. Cleveland left without any legitimate legal issues.

  2. A rich guy with money wants to pay for his own stadium and make himself and every other owner more wealthy. In doing so, he brings a franchise back to a city that held that team for 50 years. The only opposition from the league would be a preference to be near Staples Center (great location, but could be trouble for for football stadium).

  3. Thank you St. Louis for warehousing our team until a suitable stadium could be built. It took 20 years, but it’s been worth it. The Rams and the Chargers will be great draws.

    The Raiders on the other hand are a dumpster fire. If they move to Inglewood, Kronke should build a new L.A. County jail on the property.

    Better yet, move the Raiders to St. Louis and rename them the Stallions. Retire the Raider name and leave the colors and history in Oakland. That way, their derelict fans can still play dress up and talk about the ’70’s in the parking lot during A’s games.

  4. All Mr. Kroenke needs to do is get the approval of Mr. Kraft, no one else. Mr. Kraft will tell Mr. Goodell of his approval. And that will be that.

  5. Mark Davis may also run into this problem if he decides to apply for relocation of the Raiders this week. Negotiations continue between San Antonio city leaders and Davis and his executives to move the franchise to Texas for the 2015 season. Agree with it or not the Raiders moving to SA is a very real possibility. We should hear something from the Raiders this week as to whether they will stay at or move to the Alamodome. The deadline for a team to apply for relocation is this Sunday.

  6. Al Davis would say that the “Raiders” own the rights to Los Angeles. So he might be in court a couple of times if Mark Davis is anything like his father.

  7. But we’re not actually talking about 32 different businesses. We are talking about 32 individually owned franchises. Do you think the owner of your local McDonald’s can change the menu or choose his own “meat” supplier without permission?

    It’s the same thing, except with billionaires.

  8. RonKarate says:
    Feb 9, 2015 6:52 PM
    California here we come! Right back where we started from!

    You mean Cleveland…. They started in Cleveland.

  9. C’mon! I strongly think the NFL is in on this move! As soon as they announced that no teams would be moving in 2015, I figured the Rams were moving. This smells like a PR stunt by the NFL to me. Why would they make the announcement that no teams were leaving if they were trying to use leverage against St. Louis?
    The NFL is protecting themselves and will be tickled pink to see the opening kick-off in LA.

  10. BTW, at some point the good people of STL would like to hear from Stan and his people. They haven’t spoken to us about this yet. Everything we hear is from Sam Farmer or Al Breer or some outside source. If Stan is unhappy in STL nobody knew it.

  11. I’d like to see the CFL expand into the US.

    The CFL could jump into Oakland, if the Raiders move to San Antonio, Jacksonville when the Jags move to London, and beat the NFL to LA. Gobble up all of the sites the NFL uses to extort the tax payers.

    Nothing like free enterprise and a little competition!

  12. oldcracker says: Feb 9, 2015 7:35 PM

    I’d like to see the CFL expand into the US.

    The CFL could jump into Oakland, if the Raiders move to San Antonio, Jacksonville when the Jags move to London, and beat the NFL to LA. Gobble up all of the sites the NFL uses to extort the tax payers.

    Nothing like free enterprise and a little competition!
    they already tried this. I loved it when they did. But in the end, the U.S. stadiums except for very few, such as the Alamodome, had the room for a CFL sized field. The problem for the CFL was that the American people didn’t take to the differences in rules, and the Canadians couldn’t stand the competitive disadvantage because U.S. labor law allowed them to have all American players if they wanted while CFL teams had a limit on “imports.”

  13. Al Davis won his legal battles with the league. ALL of them. But at what cost? Lots of unfavorable calls against the Raiders over the years.

  14. Could you please move the Browns to LA so i can end this miserable 3o years of my life watching a terrible team that is never going to be anything other than terrible….Thanks

  15. I don’t know, should an owner whose team is in the middle of yet another investigation into the violation of league rules be involved in any committee right now?

  16. i highly doubt anything serious comes from the Raiders trying to move to TEXAS .. that wouldn’t really be the best option Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable American Sports Franchise (tied or really close w the Yankees maybe a tad behind) tlk about trying to get water from a rock there’s not much there for the taking lol wouldn’t be a bright business move. nevertheless whatever they decide is up to them speaking of the DC Jerry was told years n years ago what he could and couldnt do or sell or market and well he won as well the entire Coca Cola / Pepsi fight he had w the league allowed him to make a crap ton of money and he doesn’t share his profits w/any of the other teams and he merchandises and sells his own merchandise you need a license from JJ himself to sell DC stuff not the NFL hence y its difficult even when every other teams merchandise is available somewhere with a license from the NFL DC stuff is missing. this whole ” the owners need to vote” to decide where you can run your business is ludicrous at best ! the Raiders should and will go wherever they decide regardless !

  17. “Al Davis won his legal battles with the league. ALL of them. But at what cost? Lots of unfavorable calls against the Raiders over the years.”

    Plus the team is frighteningly awful.

  18. The Raiders won’t be moving to San Antonio. The city is basically a suburb of Dallas (albeit 280 miles away). On the local stations, if the Cowboys play the early game and run long, they stick with it to the end, regardless how lopsided it may be; if they play the late game, the local stations don’t miss the opening kickoff, regardless of the early game’s outcome. Jesus and Satan could be battling to the death in the early game, but come 3 or 315pm Central time, if it’s time for the Cowboys to kick off, they go to the Cowboys game.
    So, if the SA Raiders and sort-of-SA Cowboys are on the same network at different times — or worse, playing at the same time — well, L’il Abner Jones won’t let any of this happen.
    But if anyone other than the Chargers or Raiders want to move to LA…..

  19. Just because something happened 20 years ago doesn’t mean it can happen today. Changes in by laws (which Current owners might have had to agree to in order to buy a franchise), covenants that might have been placed on a franchise by previous ownership, exclusion from partnerships (for example, NFL Network) due to by law violations, different interpretation of case law based on US court circuits where a suit is filed, changers in Supreme Court makeup, etc. are just a few of the myriad differences in the 2015 sports business landscape compare to 1994.

  20. Jerrah will never let a team into San Antonio. That’s Cowboy country. Won’t happen. Book it.

  21. You have obviously never been to LA if you think all the Latino football fans in Texas would jump ship to the Raiders if they moved to San Antonio. Mexicans everywhere support The Boys. Even in Raider territory.

  22. “The Raiders won’t be moving to San Antonio. The city is basically a suburb of Dallas (albeit 280 miles away).”

    What an absurd statement. San Antonio was founded 123 years before Dallas. It’s a four-and-a-half hour drive between the two. Houston is closer to Dallas than San Antonio. Does that make the Texans the Cowboy’s farm team?

    Does that make Green Bay a “suburb” of Chicago (208 miles)? Is Cincinnati a “suburb” of Indianapolis (112 miles), or the other way ’round? Which is which amongst Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, and Miami? Washington and Baltimore are 33 miles apart.

    Dallas and San Antonio are very different cities with very different personalities. No one I know around San Antonio is a Cowboys fan. Some Texans fans, maybe, but the Cowboys are as hated here as just about anywhere outside Dallas.

  23. What is the league’s end-game here? What is the point in trying to enforce a strategy that has already been torn apart more than once by more than one owner? Do these lock-step fools even understand precedent?

    The NFL has been absent from L.A. for this long because they kept trying to extort that city’s taxpayers the same way they’ve extorted other cities’ taxpayers. It hasn’t worked for 20 years. The obvious solution was an owner willing to pay to build his own stadium. With the exorbitant expansion fee the league charges the obvious owner would be one who already has his own team. Did the league delude itself into thinking an ambitious owner wouldn’t try to move to as lucrative a market as L.A.?

    So a smart owner comes along and solves the narrow-minded NFL’s inability to get a team back in the nation’s second-largest media market and what do those geniuses in the league office do? Rattle their ineffective, out-dated sabre in order to pretend that they actually have any control over the situation.

    The NFL makes money in spite of itself, not because it is a smart, innovative organization. Even when someone thinks outside the league’s tiny box, the only response they can come up with is puffing up their corporate chest and fantasizing that only they know what works.

    The only reason there are NFL team owners in the first place is because there is a ton of money to be made. Otherwise I can’t imagine any self-respecting businessperson giving the NFL the time of day. If the NFL didn’t have the tax- and anti-trust exemptions they enjoy there is no way those morons in the league office would last a year.

  24. Goodell and his buddies shouldn’t have control over other teams not in his inner circle of idiots!

  25. Trading a top 20 market (and losing it) for a top 5 market is not much of a net gain. The owners know that. Also get over this notion that Stan is building this thing with his own money. It will require TIFs and PSLs and won’t cost him a cent.

  26. gurnblanstonreturns says:
    Feb 9, 2015 8:31 PM
    Another committee with Kraft and Mara – shocking!


    This was exactly my thought when I read this. And I added Rooney too. What a surprise, right?

  27. If Al Davis were still alive, you can ask him whether he needed permission. Or the courts that backed him.

    The Stalinists who run the NFL central office apparently haven’t read their own history.

  28. Jags are not moving, I dont know what its gonna take for you guys to get it through your head. Its getting pretty comical. You guys act like its fact, yet everything the Jags have done in the past several years has shown they are investing in Jacksonville. Get a freaking clue.

  29. When the NFL lost to Al Davis over this issue the presiding judge said then that all the owners needed to do was make a the vote a simple majority. Still has not happened they would lose again in court.

  30. I’m a Ravens fan so I have no dog in this fight.

    When you compare the market from St. Louis to L.A., I would roll the dice and move. Way more money to be had in L.A. From a business perspective, I would move my team. As a fan, it would suck.

    Whoever moves their team (not a matter of if, but when), I hope they leave the team name and colors behind. It really messed up history when Robert Irsay moved the team from Baltimore to Indy. When the Browns franchise moved to Baltimore, they left the name and history in Cleveland. That is the right way to break a fan bases heart.

  31. In this case it might be different but the rules should be, if an established team leaves a City, they must
    leave their team Name/Colors and Trophies
    with the City and Fans they are leaving, unless returning to the original city (like this case). I’m sick of fair weather team owners screwing fans, burn out the revenue then move on..
    I still feel for the Houston Oilers fans!
    But here is the NFL trying to play God again!

  32. Only a handful of teams will object to the Rams moving because the la market means more money for everyone. Those opposed will be the California teams (other than the 9ers) and maybe one or two small town owners that believe in loyalty above all else (mike brown). Moving the raiders to the small market of San antonio, when it’s already served by the Cowboys would be much harder to swallow. The raiders are better off trying to get in on the deal with the Rams and building one super stadium to house them both.

  33. The CFL did have a US division with mixed results.

    Baltimore was the star of the league and the US teams for their two years. They originally named the team the Colts, lost that fight, were called the Baltimore CFL Team then the Stallions. At the games the announcer would always pause between Baltimore and Football Club so that the crowd could (and did) yell Colts. Baltimore made it to both title games, winning the Cup in their second attempt.

    With the Canadian average attendance in ’94 being 23,000 with attendance in Baltimore that year being 37.000+ the Browns decided it was in fact a viable market. With the Browns announcing their move the Stallions moved to the recently vacated Montreal, adopted the dormant Allouette name and exist to this day.

    None of the other US teams survived.

  34. Even after the legal ground the Raiders broke to slam dunk the NFL in their place, the NFL still tries to insist they remain relevant in the area where owners alone can decide if and where and when they want to move their teams.

    Talk about whizzing in the wind.

  35. Professor Fate: “What is the league’s end-game here? What is the point in trying to enforce a strategy that has already been torn apart more than once by more than one owner? Do these lock-step fools even understand precedent?”

    It’s a bluff, plain and simple. Goodell is basically signaling that they won’t let just any team move to LA without a fight. The league wouldn’t win said fight, but that’s not the point. The point is to discourage anyone from even trying to start it.

  36. The Rams will move. It will be up to the League to approve it in time or find some way to approve it after the fact.

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