“Cities-vs-NFL-The Ultimate Grudge Match”
For the third time in 13-months, the NFL has allowed a franchise to move.
Last February, the Rams won the bidding war to move into Los Angeles, their mega dollar Hollywood Park stadium deal bringing pro football back to the market.
The Chargers were given the right to also move into Los Angeles, the first choice franchise, to become the second team in the market. Almost a year to the day, they left San Diego to become a tenant in the Hollywood Park stadium.
And now the Raiders, by a (31-1) vote, get the green light to exit Oakland, again, this team headed to Las Vegas.
Each city has different issues. Each city tried but failed to please it owner, the other 31-owners, and the league office.
CHARGERS: We went thru 15-years of bad mayoral leadership. Drunks, bums, leaders with gambling addictions and social perverts. We had it all cornered in terms of no-class leadership. Of course, a crappy City Hall was just a piece of the equation. City attorney issues, a pension scandal, a rotten economy, all contributred to the failure to get something done from 2000-to-2015.
Of course, team ownership had no vision, no idea how to accomplish building a civic coalition to find a way to get a ‘yes’ vote. The Spanos family idea was to propose a new stadium, draw up snazzy brochures, give it to civic leaders, and say build it, pay for it, and give it to us, ‘we’re the NFL’. Compare the Spanos leadership to John Moores and Larry Lucchino would you please.
Until the current mayoral leadership got in place, there was never a unified city-county-civic plan. Too little, too late, because Kevin Faulconer could not convince Dean Spanos, to come to the table. Tinsel town awaited.
The Chargers fans and the community has every right to be angry, but so did Cleveland and Baltimore, who back in the day, couldn’t get stadiums built, till their franchises vacated.
RAMS: St. Louis had the best plan of all, a consortium of city-county-state financing, wrapped around corporate involvement. They had the lands, the permits, the resources.
They never had Stan Kroenke on their side, for his visions were big money deals in real estate transactions, not in the (314) area code, but rather in Los Angeles. He dreams big, builds big, makes money for everyone.
St. Louis died a second time, having lost the Bidwell owned St. Louis Cardinals to Phoenix back in the 1980s.
But bigger than that, in luring the LA Rams to the newly minted TWA Dome, the city put poison pills in the lease that would eventually kill their hopes of retaining the team.
Nobody knew Georgia Frontiere-John Shaw would sell the team. The poison pills said the dome had to be upgraded equal in amenities to the top 25% of buildings in the league, Jerry Jones World included. It put them into a corner they could never escape, and in arbitration, the city lost.
Ante up or say good-bye, and we know what the new owner, Kroenke did. Hello LA.
RAIDERS: Oakland had the worst stadium situation of all, a sewer of a facility, shared with the A’s baseball team. Al Davis left Oakland once, for a series of broken promises in Los Angeles. He returned with a promise for a stadium upgrade, and got that. But Mount Davis was ugly, it never sold out, and the team got bad.
Oakland is a near bankrupt city. Yes there is a following, and an East Bay entourage that numbers 35,000-fans. That is all. Despite the growth of a very good young team, the upper deck of that stadium remained tarped off.
The socio-economic health of the East Bay is different than Santa Clara, the new home of the 49ers. It’s surely not the Silicon Valley It’s not even the affluence of the state capital Sacramento.
The Raiders could have co-existed in the Bay area with the 49ers. The NFL could have forged a tenant deal that would have preserved the franchise there, much like the Rams-Chargers transaction in Inglewood, but they didn’t, and Mark Davis didn’t want that either.
So now, despite all the corporate prose issued by Roger Goodell, about ‘hometown communities’, the NFL has allowed three franchises to move.
All to new homes. All to new palaces. All to locations where they will be printing money in the hallways of their stadiums.
The Chargers fans got screwed by their owner.
The Rams city fathers self destructed because of their poison pills used to lure the team out of LA to begin with..
The Raiders fans fell victim to bad geography and economics more than anything else.
The worst part of all this is the public image the owners are trying to create. That a man from St. Louis, worth 12B needs more money. That an owner from San Diego, making anywhere from 10-to-20M a year profit while running the franchise into the ground, needed to be taken care of. That a cash-poor, poorly run guy in Oakland should get a free ride just because he owns the team.
At all these press conferences, Kroenke, Spanos, Davis want you to believe they are the ‘victims’ of their cities failures.
Welcome to the NFL’s new world. Do what we want. Give us what we need. Make as much money as we can.
The letters on the shield say it all. N-F-L….No Fan Loyalty.