The news that the Los Angeles City Council has given Phil Anschutz’s AEG another six months to get the work done to build a National Football League usable stadium certainly bodes well for a Los Angeles fan base but it also sends out a message to another city’s fan base. The NFL doesn’t care about you and your loyalty.
The Los Angeles politicians need AEG to get a commitment from one of three ownership groups, Oakland, St. Louis or San Diego to build the facility and then the city will need to figure out what to do with a nearby convention center. The NFL never liked AEG’s football plan where AEG would own the facility and take most of the dollars generated inside the building leaving far less for an NFL owner than customary. It was thought AEG wanted to get a team on the cheap. They would buy into an NFL franchise to make LA worthwhile. Has AEG tweaked the plan? Only the NFL knows.
What does all the LA maneuvering that say for three potential fan bases that might lose their team? The ones who buy the shirts, paint their fans and live and die by their team? What does it tell the corporate base in those cities? The answer is easy. The NFL doesn’t care about you. Go ahead root for the team but in the end, it’s not your team, it’s the owners’ team and that owner can do whatever he or she wants. The NFL has deserted Oakland, Baltimore, St. Louis, Anaheim Cleveland, Houston and Los Angeles in the past three decades. Was it because of fans? Nope. The stadium financial situations were not good enough and some city had a better deal.
Fans don’t matter. Owners want customers who are willing to spend and spend and spend money on tickets, facility restaurants and buy all sorts of merchandise but in the right stadium. Those customers are tossed aside when the building is deemed too old and doesn’t deliver enough revenue. The NFL embraced St. Louis in 1995 after Rams ownership left Anaheim. St. Louis lured the team by promising the franchise’s owners would be in the upper quarter of stadium generated revenues. The old stadium in St. Louis can no longer do that. It’s all about stadiums not fans.
This article was republished with permission from the author, Evan Weiner. It was originally published in sportstalkflorida.com and can be viewed by clicking here.