SBJ/Oct. 28-Nov. 3, 2013/Franchises

NFL in Los Angeles, London

Since the Rams and Raiders left Los Angeles in 1995, the NFL has tried fruitlessly to return to the city. Now, in Jerry Jones’ eyes, the stars for a return are aligned — because at least four teams have lease deals that will allow them to easily move, he says.

“Probably the most since we haven’t had a team in L.A.,” said Jones, who was born in Los Angeles. “On top of that, you have to have an ownership that is qualified financially to get a stadium built and make the move, and we do have [current team] ownership that is qualified.

“It is a great market,” Jones said. “It has an aura of its own, a mystique of its own.”

Notably, Jones is unconcerned about the stadium piece, which has been the league’s stumbling block. He even suggests that while AEG and Ed Roski for years have proposed their own respective stadium sites, the owner of a relocating team could find his own location.

“There have been locations, and there have been people willing to be involved to do real estate deals,” Jones said. “It is just not the only piece of the puzzle.”

Jones would not name the four teams with flexible leases, but St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego are generally seen as clubs whose stadium deals would fit that description. And if it were up to Jones, more than one club may move to Los Angeles, as he offers the prospect of two teams moving to the City of Angels.

London

Jerry Jones says there is no reason an NFL franchise cannot be based in London within five years.

The league has shied from such a prediction, but it is hardly a secret the NFL is high on the British market, with two regular-season games there this year and three slated for next year.

London, which hosted Pittsburgh and Minnesota on Sept. 29, gets the Cowboys next year.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
“In general, the idea of a ‘wow’ factor of having an international team, especially with London being a possibility, is appealing to me,” Jones said. “It is very doable relative to travel, logistics, competition. I think it would be a real addition to the ‘wow’ factor of the NFL.”

The Cowboys have not been among the teams that have played a regular-season game in London since the league made those games an annual occurrence in 2007, but it was announced last week that Dallas would play in London next season, as the visiting team for a game against Jacksonville.

“London can catch on,” Jones said, considering the prospect of a London-based franchise. “We want to see London beating the Cowboys, or London beating the Giants. That is the ingredient right there. It is not just a show coming to town; it has got to have pride.”

Jones sees a relocated team moving to London and rules out expansion.

— Daniel Kaplan
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