SBD/June 2, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Dolphins Owner Predicts NFL Team Will Relocate To L.A. Within Five Years

Ross thinks L.A. will host an existing team, not an expansion franchise
Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross said the NFL's return to L.A. "will certainly be within five years," according to Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY. Ross, speaking Saturday at the NFL Career Development Symposium at the Wharton School of Business, said, "It's a question of finding that site where we can really build a stadium, get the approvals and move on. I know that's probably one of the great priorities of the NFL today." He added it will be "a team that moves" to L.A., as opposed to an expansion franchise (USATODAY.com, 5/31). Falcons Owner Arthur Blank said, "I think there will be one or more teams [in L.A.] in the future. Clearly, in terms of the media market, it’s not made a difference. ... But I think to not have one or more teams in L.A., over an extended period of time, on the surface it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense." THE MMQB's Peter King writes, "I think when Stephen Ross says an NFL team will be in Los Angeles within five years … well, I’m not saying he’s flat wrong, but I will ask this question: Now that Steve Ballmer has handed Donald Sterling (apparently) $2-billion for the Los Angeles Clippers, how many other sports-freaky people have $3 billion to $4 billion to spend to do what it takes to put a pro football team in Los Angeles?" (MMQB.SI.com, 6/2). Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio said of Ross' comments, "I just think this is part of an ongoing effort to get people in L.A. to think that there’s a chance, when by all appearances, there’s no real chance.” Florio continued, “It comes and it continues to be the leverage for every other city that wants to shake some public money out of the tree to build a new stadium" (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 6/2).

ACROSS THE POND: Blank, when asked about the short- and long-term future of the NFL in Europe, said, "The games in London, I think are a tribute to the NFL, a tribute to the fans there, the quality of the game -- and I think that it’s proved conclusive that fans will come out when they see the real players playing games that are really meaningful, as opposed to NFL Europe. So I think -- and all three of the games for 2014 sold out immediately, 240,000 tickets. ... There’s been discussion about potentially having a franchise in London. I’m very optimistic." He added of the London games, "I think it will lead to [a team]. I think it will start with an increased number of games. That will be translated into a very successful series of games, and eventually, I think a franchise. And maybe more than one." Meanwhile, Blank said of his concerns regarding the league's future, "You have to worry a little bit about overexposure ... What worries me in any successful business is a word called complacency" (MMQB.SI.com, 6/2). PFT's Florio said of potential NFL expansion: “They like to talk about football being in London and L.A. Who’s going to move? The Bills are the only team right now that are a viable candidate and politically it could be disastrous for the NFL if they take the Bills out of Buffalo. I don’t know if there is a clear, no-brainer team that is going to move to L.A. or London and every few years somebody uses that possibility of a move to get the new stadium or the stadium upgrades that they want” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 6/2).
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