In an interview on ESPN with Hannah Storm, Patriots owner Robert Kraft reiterated that it’s bad for the league not to have a team in Los Angeles and would like to see not one, but two, NFL teams come to the City of Angels.
NFL fans in Los Angeles have long wondered when a franchise would come back to the city. It’s been 20 years since the Rams and Raiders left the city for St. Louis and Oakland, respectively. Now we have a prominent owner saying that he’d like to get TWO teams back into the city within the next couple of years?
The NFL has been “trying” to get a team to Los Angeles for some time now. The last time the NFL expanded, when it brought in the Houston Texans, the city of Los Angeles was the original destination for that franchise. However, that plan got shut down when the city couldn’t agree on how to finance or where to build a new facility. Since then it seems the NFL has used Los Angeles as leverage in order to build state-of-the-art facilities around the league, much like how the NBA has used Seattle for the same purposes.
However, times seem to be changing and the allure of L.A. seems like too much to ignore now, especially for money hungry owners and a league that is desperately trying to expand it’s revenue base as quickly as possible. Los Angeles is the “untapped” market for the NFL. It represents potentially billions of dollars in additional revenue given it’s market size and the entertainment and media possibilities available in the city.
But of course, when it comes to the NFL in Los Angeles it always comes down to the venue. In the interview Kraft says, “It all starts with the stadium, and I know the league office is working very hard at that”. Well yes, indeed it does come down to the stadium. Where do you put it? Is it going to be at LA Live, The City of Industry, or potentially Hollywood Park? We don’t know yet. That is probably the biggest obstacle between the NFL and the city of Los Angeles right now.
When asked about a timetable for a return to Los Angeles Kraft wasn’t sure but said, “We hope it happens sooner rather than later”. When pushed, he stated that “I would love to see it happen within the next two to three years. I think that would be in everybody’s best interest.”
A team within the next two to three years? With no stadium being built, and no plans truly in place, is the NFL thinking about placing a team at the Rose Bowl or the Coliseum until a stadium is ready? Does that mean one team will come to Los Angeles to play in one of those venues and another will wait until the new venue is completed?
Kraft is clearly in favor of bringing the NFL to LA now, rather than later, and wants to see it happen. A lot of people in the city feel the same way. But we’ve heard this over and over again. We’ve heard about LA needing a team. But still nothing has happened.
We do know this much: The NFL is considering bring the 2015 NFL Draft to Los Angeles, which could be another step in the right direction. Or it could mean nothing. Quite simply, until we see something tangible we’re going to continue to believe that we’re a city without a team. We hope that it comes sooner than later. We want a team. But we just can’t commit to these vague possibilities of an NFL franchise.
Just tell us when and we’ll buy the tickets. Until then, we’ll see you in September….on television.