Wednesday, January 06, 2010

LA betting on drawing an NFL team by 2011

From AP:
LOS ANGELES (AP)—The company behind a plan to lure the NFL back to Los Angeles said Tuesday the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills are the first teams it will try to relocate.

Majestic Realty Co. managing partner John Semcken said the company is still considering at least seven franchises for a new stadium some 25 miles east of Los Angeles.

They also include the San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders.

But he said the Jaguars and the Bills are at the top of the list because they play in small markets that tamp down their earning potential and because they have little hope of building larger venues in their home regions.

I'm not a fan of any of these teams, but having watched the Oilers go to Nashville in my youth, I'm still a bit sore on the whole idea of teams switching cities, especially older, more established teams. Three of these teams have already called Los Angeles home before (the Raiders, Rams, and Chargers), but the Vikings, 49ers, and Bills have eons of history with their hometowns. They're some of the NFL's most venerable institutions.

Still, it is kind of silly for a city the size of Los Angeles not to have a team, especially when the Bay Area has two. One could argue that Los Angeles lost the Rams and Raiders because, despite hailing from a metropolitan area with a population of 12 million people, they couldn't fill the 90,000 seats in the Coliseum. However, 90k is a pretty absurd seat count for an NFL stadium (only FedEx Field in DC matches it without resorting to standing areas). Plus, for all but the last year of the LA Rams, there were 2 NFL teams dividing up the Angelino fanbase.

With all this in mind, I looked up the Harris Poll of NFL team popularity for this year. The results are interesting, especially the top 10. Only one of the top 10 teams changed metro areas in the last 35 years (the Indianapolis Colts in 1984). The spring chickens of the bunch are the San Diego Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys, both 50 years young. None of the eleven newest teams in the NFL made the top 10, while 6 of the 11 oldest teams were included.

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