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STATE OF THE STADIUMS: A REPORT ON FOOTBALL'S INFRASTRUCTURE
Published October 7, 1994
Last Sunday, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue floated the possibility of the league helping finance a new stadium in the Los Angeles area as a way of keeping the Rams and Raiders from leaving the nation's No. 2 media market. In an interview with THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY, Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp, Ltd., and an expert on football facilities, says that while the Coliseum is a better-than-average facility, the Raiders are at a disadvantage compared to franchises in smaller markets. THE DAILY: Tell us about the state of stadium infrastructure in the NFL. GANIS: Generally, it appears the smaller market locations have new, better revenue-producing stadiums than the larger markets with the older stadiums. You've got two of the best markets in the country, Los Angeles, the No. 2 market, and Washington, the No. 6 market, and those are the only two locations in the NFL that don't have any luxury suites. ... After the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars go through their three years with only a portion of the television revenue, they are going to be better off financially than the Giants, Jets, Bears, Raiders, Rams. That is an anomaly that is a very strange situation. THE DAILY: Why is this? GANIS: You have municipalities that desperately want NFL football, want to secure it or retain it, and will step up to the plate and put up some serious tax dollars to help a stadium be built. In other instances, you have a city like Chicago. The Bears are an incredibly hot property, but there is no credible threat that they will move out of the marketplace. ... There is no incentive to get the public sector to act -- and that is part of the problem in L.A. In Southern California, and the L.A. area in particular, there is a lot to do. Football is not the be-all- and-end-all. ... The idea of spending money on a sports stadium is considered laughable to many political leaders. ... So then, the league is left in a difficult situation where you have teams that are at a financial competitive disadvantage, like the Raiders and the Rams, but they are playing in large markets that are needed to keep the national TV revenue up. THE DAILY: What about Tagliabue's L.A. idea? GANIS: The NFL proposal is realistic. You may just have to look down the road, it is not like in Jacksonville where the day after they got the team, they started reconstruction of the stadium. ... [But] I have heard from some of the owners that if you start helping one financially, where is mine? ... You can certainly see Robert Kraft, who paid something like $150 million for the Patriots, playing in a stadium that is acknowledged by Paul Tagliabue as being poorly located and a poor facility, saying, "It's nice you are helping L.A., but when you are done can you help me please?"