NFL teams eventually could go where the people, money are

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The NFL’s stance regarding Los Angeles has pivoted from luxury to necessity for one primary reason: The well of taxpayer money for stadium construction and renovation has gone drier than ever.

While there’s a chance the pendulum could swing the other way at some point in the future, the current cycle feels more than temporary. If so, and absent efforts by local leaders to finagle public money without elections that are likely to fail if they ever happen, teams that want their stadiums to be replaced will either have to find a way to do it with private money in their current locations — or they’ll have to move to a city where they can.

Which means that the league inevitably will be looking at the bigger cities, where a greater concentration of fans and a greater opportunity to consistently fill a venue would mean a greater flow of cash that would be used to pay for the stadium.

For starters, get used to the idea of two-team markets. The norm in New York since the merger, L.A. (which went from two teams to none 20 years ago) eventually will have a pair of franchises sharing a stadium in Carson or Inglewood. And Chicago already has made noise about an NFL equivalent of the Cubs/White Sox dynamic. If/when the time comes to replace Soldier Field, the Bears plus another team would be in much better position to pay for a new stadium without public funds than the Bears alone.

Major international cities would also become more viable without American tax dollars, especially if the citizen in foreign countries would be more willing to allow public money to be used to lure the NFL. It’s been known for years that England could eventually host one, and possibly two, teams. Toronto remains in the mix as well, despite the failed Bills experiment there.

And is it a coincidence the NFL suddenly is interested in returning to Mexico? More than 100,000 fans showed up there a decade ago for a game between the Cardinals and 49ers. With or without public assistance, the pesos would be plentiful for building a swanky new home for a Mexican NFL team.

Three cities with NFL teams currently aren’t in the top 50 U.S. television markets, based on the 2014 Official NFL Record & Fact Book: Buffalo, Green Bay (Milwaukee is No. 34), and New Orleans. Jacksonville ranked 48th, and Kansas City (No. 31) and Cincinnati (No. 35) trailed greater Orlando (No. 18), Sacramento (No. 20), Portland (No. 22), and Raleigh-Durham (No. 24). If it’s going to take private money to build stadiums, market size becomes far more important to finding private money.

Although the size of a market hardly becomes a guarantee of future relocation (the Packers surely will never leave Green Bay, and the Bills seem to be destined to stick around Buffalo), it becomes a major factor if a franchise hopes to finance a new or renovated stadium and can’t get money for nothing from the politicians.

The cycle still could shift, especially if the abandonment of San Diego, Oakland, and/or St. Louis serves as a wake-up call to other cities that could face losing their teams in the future. For now, though, NFL teams that want new or improved stadiums will have to pay for it themselves — which will make markets with more people and more money necessarily more attractive.

83 responses to “NFL teams eventually could go where the people, money are

  1. NFL teams already go where the people and money are, well except for Green Bay. Green Bay gets the people to come to them. The LA experiment has failed numerous times, I don’t see what would change it now.

  2. Billionaires have to pay out of pocket to fix up their offices. What a novel concept.

  3. Some cities that would support an NFL team if given the chance

    1. San Antonio
    2. Oklahoma City
    3. Omaha (sorry, Peyton)
    4. Louisville
    5. Birmingham, AL
    6. Portland, OR
    7. Las Vegas
    8. Albuquerque
    9. El Paso
    10.Tulsa

  4. Tax payers get strong-armed into paying ‘half’ for new stadiums … meaning a half-billion dollars at least – and their reward? The NFL is sending games over to London, or Mexico – or whatever other foreign vendor will fill their pockets – which always means one less home game for somebody.

    Just out of curiosity NFL – how much money is “enough”?

    You can only eat “so well” .. can only drive “so fancy” of a vehicle, live in “the best” house … then, what do you do with the rest? Is all that greed really worth it?

    Don’t be surprised if Rodger Goodell and the NFL owners all have coin slots on their tombstones with a little sign that says “insert coins here.”

    You can’t take it with you, but these guys are sure the heck going to try.

  5. The billionaire owners can thank tax cuts by ultra conservative republicans that they financed for that. It’s ironic how that works right?

  6. Following the money could kill the golden goose. NFL teams in Dubai & Qatar would be an intense train wreck. A team in mexico secretly owned by narco billionaires would also be a great soap opera to watch.

  7. People in SoCal would be more likely to support a team in Vegas moreso than in our own areas/cities. Would LOVE to see it.

  8. Another point: as the current crop of NFL owners die off and get replaced, it will have to be by richer and richer people, the sort of people rich enough to pay for a new stadium out of pocket if need be.

  9. the Packers surely will never leave Green Bay
    ————————-
    Of course not because Green Bay is the only place that is can get the people’s money by both taxes AND souvenir stock. Fans of other teams would never pay the latter like Packer fans do, especially while already being taxed to pay for the team every year.

  10. Gee, I guess as long as voters (the people that ACTUALLY vote) continue to pass referendums to use taxpayers money, the owners will take it. Wouldn’t you?

  11. They could move to where I’m at, but the rockchucks, rabbits, rattlesnakes, coyotes and deer can’t afford a stadium either.

  12. Orlando has a new stadium ready and #18 in market size. Like ive said before. It’s the 2nd largest market without an NFL team behind LA. Except we have a stadium ready. Local fans ready to fill that stadium and orlando had over 60 million visitors last year. Beat out nyc. Its a global market down here roger. Wake up!

  13. abanig says:
    Jul 12, 2015 2:07 PM

    The billionaire owners can thank tax cuts by ultra conservative republicans that they financed for that. It’s ironic how that works right?

    ——————————————————

    Brilliant comment. Especially since the majority of teams are in larger cities and the majority of larger cities are run (into the ground) by Democrats.

  14. Billionaires become billionaires by having others pay for things like stadiums when they don’t have to. They, in most cases won’t dig into their pockets when cities and/or states will pat the expense.

  15. How come not all of my comments post???? Anyway. ORLANDO HAS A STADIUM If jags move down they need a rebrand.

  16. I’ll keep reminding everyone that the NFL and the owners would move all the games to the moon if they thought it could make them more money. Maybe not the moon yet, but the league is gaining steam on moving teams out of the country. They are already alienating the West Coast with their 6 am London games. NFL does not care about you, less and less each day.

  17. Some teams that would support the NFL if given the chance:

    1. San Antonio
    2. Oklahoma City
    3. Omaha (sorry, Peyton)
    4. Louisville
    5. Birmingham, AL
    6. Portland, OR
    7. Las Vegas
    8. Albuquerque
    9. El Paso
    10.Tulsa
    –——-–———————————–
    Major problem with most of these cities is it takes more than filling the stadium to satisfy the owner. It’s about the local TV deal money and there’s a reason why teams aren’t/haven’t flirted with moving to these towns or cities. If you think an NFL owner could make more money in Omaha, El Paso, Tulsa, etc. over St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, etc. it would have happened by now.

  18. Why would Packer fan heads explode? It states very clearly that Green Bay will never relocate. Tiniest TV market and yet Lambeau has been sold out for longer than the Vikings have been a franchise.

  19. Randy_Michigan says:
    Jul 12, 2015 2:29 PM
    abanig says:
    Jul 12, 2015 2:07 PM

    The billionaire owners can thank tax cuts by ultra conservative republicans that they financed for that. It’s ironic how that works right?

    ——————————————————

    Brilliant comment. Especially since the majority of teams are in larger cities and the majority of larger cities are run (into the ground) by Democrats.
    ——————————————–

    And even more brilliant comment by you! If the stadium isn’t located downtown the state legislatures and governors make those decisions.

  20. Why would Packer fan heads explode? It states very clearly that Green Bay will never relocate. Tiniest TV market and yet Lambeau has been sold out for longer than the Vikings have been a franchise.
    ____________
    It is a good thing they got that extension a couple years ago and help from a business to sell out that playoff game against San Fran.

  21. Pump the breaks on all this NFL apocalypse talk. The L.A. deal is being driven by someone who is willing to pay for his own stadium (Kroenke) which has been the hang up this whole time. London is being groomed as the next extortion threat now that L.A. will inevitably be occupied. And there will be expansion before there’s a second team in Chicago…. in other words, it ain’t happening.

  22. don’t vote for the politicians that will green light the taxpayer funding

    i don’t begrudge these billionaires their fortunes. but you don’t get rich by giving money away and i also don’t blame them for taking deals like this if they can get them

    and please can we stop with this international nonsense, football is an american sport. americans are fine with this, and the rest of the world that loves soccer more is fine with this

    don’t fix what isn’t broken!

  23. 407magic says:
    Jul 12, 2015 2:41 PM
    How come not all of my comments post???? Anyway. ORLANDO HAS A STADIUM If jags move down they need a rebrand.
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    It would not work in Orlando unless the Jaguars or Bucs moved there (not that far from the die-hard locals to travel). Which stadium are you referring to? The Citrus Bowl holds around 70,000 but was built when Roosevelt was president and the new one is soccer specific and will hold less than 30,000. Orlando would need a new venue regardless and the taxpayers wouldn’t do it. Tourists could not sell out games and the locals would probably bail once the novelty wore off only to resurface to watch a dominant team. Not happening.

  24. Interesting how it will all unfold. Owners are getting to the point where fans don’t care. ESPN is being strained financially. Teams will have to share stadiums to remain viable. All this just as Goodell is about to get fired for being the joke that he is.
    His position will be; “see, they fired me but couldn’t replace me” rather than, “they fired me, but it was too late to recover.”
    They all deserve themselves.

  25. To Fin fan

    The citrus bowl had a 90% renovation last year and is up to par with NFL stadium standards, it holds up to 65k now. Orlando is 18th in market size. Locals can fill it. I mentioned tourists cause tourists companies buy sections or rows to sell as part of a vacation package. It would make the team a global team. I’ve seen it in magic games. Brasil and Argentina tourists sections. It can happen. If jags don’t move here another team will and jags will move elsewhere. Would be perfect with jags since you wouldn’t have to mess with division realignments. Bucs have contract with stadium til 2020 i think. Not sure about the jags.

  26. Oh and fin fan. Tax payers didnt have to approve it. The money that got the citrus bowl renovated was mostly from tourists tax/hotel tax. Tourists money. Benefit of living in the most visited city and state in the world.

  27. Better get used to this folks. This is only gaining steam. I expect every team will play at least one way game in another country before this decade is over and the next major stadium projects, outside of maybe L.A., will not be in this country. NFL is becoming golf and tennis where they just move the show around. Yep, even after you funded your team’s owner’s home office building.

  28. Cincinnati might be the 35th biggest television market… but… it is the 28th most populated metropolitan area in the United States (located in the 7th most populated state).

    Factor that in with the weather from November to April and I bet you have a higher SEASONAL television viewing market than many bigger warmer winter higher population television markets.

    ALSO… factor all of that together with THE FACT that football is MUCH MORE POPULAR and IMPORTANT in Ohio than the majority of American (Ohio/Florida/Texas = TOP Football States).

    ALL THAT SAID… let ’em all move. I can live without public stadiums and professional sports.

  29. I didn’t realize they renovated the citrus bowl that much. Seems big enough but the NFL boys club likes to have free perks and lots of elitist amenities. I still don’t think central Florida would be good over the long haul. Neither is Los Angeles but they seem willing to sacrifice darn near anything (except money) to get back into that market.

    I don’t understand the logic with the big city must equal more profit argument. The NFL makes money off TV revenue. Local games profit is much less and dwindling because of the costs to consumers that go to the games. They broadcast games nationwide and those contracts are not dependent on a specific market. People in LA already watch the NFL on TV so they won’t sell any more Domino’s or beer by actually having a team there. At best they could sell pricey seats/boxes to local companies and rich folks who like to be ‘seen’. Those people couldn’t care less about the team and are in no way ‘fans’. They are simply money factories. This model cannot be sustained but they will go after every last nickel while the sport dies a slow death.

  30. There was a poll recently that was asking people in foreign countries if they were (American) football fans. The foreign countries that had the most were Mexico (by far) and Brazil. England was way down the line. But the NFL is chasing dollars not fans.

  31. Last year i was really excited for the NFL season to start. This year I could care less when it starts.

    The fact that incompetent Goodell is still Commish and these corrupt owners keep him as Commissioner, tells me all i need to do about them both.

    Love the game of football but the League office and Goodell is destroying the NFL day by day.

    From the outright lieing by Goodell and Wells, to these corrupt owners that screw everyone over, i wont be watchinf much.

  32. I’ve been saying this for years, it’s inevitable that the NFL will only be in big cities in the future, although Green Bay could be the only exception.

  33. Everyone can cry about billionaire owners, but if you put down Mao’s Little Red Book for a minute and look at reality you’ll see that only about half of the owners are billionaires, most of them are in the 1.X billion range, the last two stadiums built cost over a billion dollars and the owners net worth isn’t made of cash in the bank free to spend on a stadium.

    The socialist media figures won’t tell you that stuff.

  34. Yes, it’s a small city. No, it doesn’t have world-class libraries and opera houses and museums. But the major reason the Packers are able to survive in an atmosphere of big-city money and big-city exposure…….is their fans.

    You can mock the stock and you can clown the town, but the fans are the best in the NFL and are not afraid to put their money where their mouth is.

    We are showing you how it’s done.

  35. If NY is such a great market, how come the Jets have to advertise on Thursday Night football to sell tickets?

  36. Mexico? Hahahahaha… As someone who once lived in Mexico, let me inform the author, that the players’ families would all be kidnapped and held for ransome and all of the games would be fixed. What a completely illogical and mal-formed argument for the aithor to make. Still laughing, several minutes later.

  37. “Everyone can cry about billionaire owners, but if you put down Mao’s Little Red Book for a minute”

    “the last two stadiums built cost over a billion dollars”

    “The socialist media figures won’t tell you that stuff”
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Is there anything in that Little Red Book about the government building billion dollar stadiums for multi-millionaires/billionaires and passing it on to the taxpayers?!?

  38. this might one the dumbest articles yet.

    the chicago chargers? ok, Not.

    the packers will never move, besides their board of directors or whatever have been embezzling millions from the fans for decades, its the perfect set up.

    the reason they’ve sold out games so long is they played two games a year for close to 30 in milwaukee due to poor attendance, a poor facility (lambeau used to literally look like a dung barn in the 70s and 80s, now it looks like something weird stadium creation from a madden football game) oh, and to go along with a very poor on the field product.

    but yes, the will never move. the city charter states it after they bought the team in the 50’s otherwise the packers WOULD have moved due to poor attendance issues and lack of interest in general for the team. it was a smart investment that has put millions back into the city for infrastructure and education. and obesity and arrogance/ignorance as well. good job.

  39. 17 NFL teams are owned by billionaires.

    If billionaires aren’t rich enough to expand their own business (build their own stadiums)… they aren’t rich enough (lol!) to run a professional sports franchise.

    abninf feels that billionaires deserve handouts.

    abninf is a socialist.

  40. The vast majority of NFL teams play in stadiums that were built since the year 2000. Add in the older stadiums that have had $100 million and up renovations in the same time period, and it seems the only “bad” set ups might be San Diego, Oakland and Buffalo? I think Oakland paid Al Davis quite a bit when the Raiders moved back 20 years ago. Ralph Wilson’s estate planning made it almost impossible to move the Bills out of Buffalo.
    And all of these stadium deals feature some kind of public participation. Land, roads, tax credits, etc. I regularly read on this site that Jerry Jones built AT&T Cowboys Stadium without public assistance. But, I recall Jones shopped the stadium to every city in the metroplex until Arlington provided the best financial package.
    Every business everywhere is always seeking public assistance. And every government in America is working to provide as much assistance as they can. Manufacturing plants, corporate headquarters, call centers, research parks (incubators!), major motion picture production, and on and on are providing “quality jobs” through a “win-win” negotiation between the business and governments involved.

  41. It seems clear that the NFL is trying to rig the system.

    They want two big market teams and they want them to be good. The problem is that only one New York has been good over the last ten years, there are no teams in LA, and the one team in Chicago has underachieved.

    What has the NFL done?

    1. Went after the Patriots to give the Jets (and every other team) a better chance. It took away draft choices, suspended Brady, and let Jets owner Woody Johnson tamper with the #17 ranked player in the NFL while he was under contract to the Patriots to ensure he did not resign with the Patriots and knew there was a pot of gold waiting for him in NY. Could the NFL be any more obtuse?

    2. Pushed three teams (Rams, Chargers, Raiders) to leverage a potential LA move to get a better stadium deal with the idea that two will wind up in LA. Could the NFL be any more obtuse?

    3. Let the Bears’ mercurial receiver go on Inside the NFL during the season (Bears respond by trading him to who? The NY Jets).

    4. Had the team with one of the smallest markets (Jaguars) have an affair with the city of London. They did something similar to the Bills with Toronto.

  42. rcali says: Jul 12, 2015 2:42 PM

    I’ll keep reminding everyone that the NFL and the owners would move all the games to the moon if they thought it could make them more money. Maybe not the moon yet, but the league is gaining steam on moving teams out of the country. They are already alienating the West Coast with their 6 am London games. NFL does not care about you, less and less each day.

    ———————————————————-

    Hey, Hey, Hey .. I love the 6 am games!! Its football here on the west coast from 6 am to 8pm !! There is nothing better than a fridge full of beer, my Laz-E-Boy and football for the next 14 hours.

  43. doctorrustbelt says:
    Jul 12, 2015 6:51 PM

    17 NFL teams are owned by billionaires.

    abninf feels that billionaires deserve handouts.

    abninf is a socialist.
    ——

    But, but, but….I thought Republicans were the ones that gave handouts to billionaires.

  44. “And is it a coincidence the NFL suddenly is interested in returning to Mexico? More than 100,000 fans showed up there a decade ago for a game between the Cardinals and 49ers.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah but only 20 Thousand paid to get in, the rest sneaked in!…

  45. Folks…
    I don’t know hiw to break this to you but every single one of you who complains about rich NFL owners and spends your time watching NFL games and post is this board is a giant hypocrite. If you think it is so outrageous you ha e one and ONLY one recourse. STOP WATCHING THE NFL and stop going to games. It is SIMPLE supply and demand. Nobody FORCES taxpayers to pay ultimately. If a city can’t support a team then it won’t get a stadium. Don’t watch, don’t go to games. Otherwise just SHUT UP and quit whining g about the RICH owners.

  46. stellarperformance says:
    Jul 12, 2015 6:12 PM
    Yes, it’s a small city. No, it doesn’t have world-class libraries and opera houses and museums. But the major reason the Packers are able to survive in an atmosphere of big-city money and big-city exposure…….is their fans.

    You can mock the stock and you can clown the town, but the fans are the best in the NFL and are not afraid to put their money where their mouth is.

    We are showing you how it’s done.
    ————————————————

    Says the man who says Packer fans don’t take themselves too seriously…lol

  47. Have you ever seen a Packer fan wearing a cheesehead? Does he look serious?

  48. stellarperformance says:
    Jul 12, 2015 6:12 PM

    You can mock the stock and you can clown the town,

    ——————-
    Those rhymes are pretty witty. I challenge people to come up with their own. How creative can people get when rhyming about the Packers? Here is one from the top of my head. Punk the chunk. What are yours?

  49. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that 9 out of 10 PFT commenters never even had a passport let alone done much world traveling.

  50. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that 9 out of 10 PFT commenters never even had a passport let alone done much world traveling.

    ??????????????????????

    And this has exactly WHAT to do with the topic of the thread?

  51. Problem with the Toronto idea. Governments in Canada would never fund a stadium and the idea of PSL’s in the Toronto market is nothing short of laughable. The fact the Canadian dollar is also tanking just complicates the matter.

  52. Just wait. They’ll send some franchise to London. And then we’ll all get to laugh, well except the poor fan base that’s going to get it’s team stolen, when after a couple bad seasons the Brits stop going to the games and the team has to come back.

  53. We’re still assuming an actual stadium will even exist in Los Angeles, and for all the talk there has been no substantive move there. Contrary to this piece, what teams will wind up doing is simply making do with what they have stadium-wise, because the audience for these teams is there where they are even if public money for new stadiums isn’t. LA does not have an audience, even with all the nonsensical talk about moving two teams there.

  54. conormacleod says:
    Jul 12, 2015 2:30 PM

    Packer fans heads just exploded.
    __________________________
    You clearly didn’t read the article before jumping to the comments section, right???

  55. Las Vegas supports the Southern California Market and it’s teams, getting an NFL Team in either L.A. or Vegas is a 2 for 1.

    The Raiders for Vegas, the Rams for L.A.

    Get the Colts out of Indianapolis, a confederate flag loving city, move them as the second team in Chicago. The Colts could switch with the Bengals division-wise.

    The Chargers in Mexico City would be great.

  56. An NFL stadium last 25-30 years, the NFL makes 9 billion a year. Why can’t money from each franchise be saved yearly. 3 million over 30 would be 90 million. That’s a nice down payment on a billion dollar loan.

  57. cheeseisfattening says:
    Jul 12, 2015 9:29 PM
    How creative can people get when rhyming about the Packers?
    ///////////////////////////////////////////

    Well, if we’re going to start with you, the answer is: “Not very.”

  58. doctorrustbelt says:

    Is there anything in that Little Red Book about the government building billion dollar stadiums for multi-millionaires/billionaires and passing it on to the taxpayers?!?
    ======================================

    So since we agree most owners don’t have the cash on hand to personally finance a new stadium, what do you suggest, Karl?

  59. Not considered in this is the fact Buffalo is 60 miles city limit to city limit from Rochester. It’s also on the border of Canada. The immediate vicinity (within 30 mins) of the Canadian side houses half a million people. Rochester’s metro area is about 1.2 million. Combine those up (which FWIW is the real Bills immediate market) and you’re looking at a 3 million person area. Which means you’re all of a sudden way higher in the list than you previously were.

    Facts are important, and these are facts. Relegating the tv market for Buffalo to the immediate Buffalo area alone is foolish. It would be like refusing to acknowledge San Fran or San Jose as part of the Warrior’s market, just because they play in Oakland.

  60. The idea of a second team in Chicago, or any other city which currently has one team who doesn’t plan to move, is completely insane.

    Yeah, I can see half of Chicago’s die hard Bears fanbase dropping them just like that, because a new team came to town? Come on, man. No shot.

  61. Facts are important, and these are facts. Relegating the tv market for Buffalo to the immediate Buffalo area alone is foolish. It would be like refusing to acknowledge San Fran or San Jose as part of the Warrior’s market, just because they play in Oakland.

    ————————————————————

    same for the Saints, really, who have the Gulf Coast cornered. New Orleans may not be a giant TV market by itself but the Saints dominate two states (Louisiana and Mississippi) and have big chunks of others (Alabama, Arkansas,and even some of east Texas). To me the geographical/cultural dynamic of that is way more visible and, in the long run, profitable, than having a second team in Los Angeles that only the people who live there care about.

  62. mdd913 says:
    Jul 13, 2015 10:16 AM
    Facts are important, and these are facts. Relegating the tv market for Buffalo to the immediate Buffalo area alone is foolish. It would be like refusing to acknowledge San Fran or San Jose as part of the Warrior’s market, just because they play in Oakland.

    ————————————————————

    same for the Saints, really, who have the Gulf Coast cornered. New Orleans may not be a giant TV market by itself but the Saints dominate two states (Louisiana and Mississippi) and have big chunks of others (Alabama, Arkansas,and even some of east Texas). To me the geographical/cultural dynamic of that is way more visible and, in the long run, profitable, than having a second team in Los Angeles that only the people who live there care about
    ……………………………..
    Agreed. I don’t know anything about the NOLA market, so I didn’t comment. But I’m not at all surprised its a similar situation. If Florio was going to go out of his way to mention Milwaukee in relation to Green Bay, then someone better clarify Buffalo and NOLA too, because they’re no exception.

  63. A big reason teams never work out in Los Angeles is that the majority of “fans” there are compelled to be associated with a winner much more than going through ups and downs with one club. It’s not fabulous to have a losing team.

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