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NFL Merry-Go-Round: Relocation Roundelay

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It strikes me how a stadium yet to have a shovel on the ground has a sponsorship deal yet we're still stuck with the clunker of "New Meadowlands Stadium" still around as a name

LA is more attractive.

In any case, I've never understood naming rights. When the Ballpark in Arlington was built, it was known as "the Ballpark." When Ameriquest bought the naming rights, it was known as "the Ballpark." When it switched to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, it became known as "the Ballpark." Heck, even Cowboys Stadium is more commonly referred to as "Jerryworld." So how does it even help a company to buy naming rights?

It's not just about stamping the name. There are package deals that include using luxury suites for business use, advertising, showing off new products, marketing to season ticket holders, etc.

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I refer to FedEx Field as FedEx. Hey lets go to FedEx!! Woo! I mean it gives the Skins money, so why not?

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It strikes me how a stadium yet to have a shovel on the ground has a sponsorship deal yet we're still stuck with the clunker of "New Meadowlands Stadium" still around as a name

And "Cowboys Stadium".

Wasn't the plan to hold off on corporate sponsorhsip until the economy improves? That way, the team could get maximum dollars for the naming rights. Why sign a 10 year deal for $50 million when in a few years, you might be able to squeeze a company for $70 million?

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I can't find the link at the moment, but I read somewhere the other day that the City of Industry stadium proposal is pretty much dead now.

The downtown plan is getting lots of press at the moment, but the Industry plan is still very much alive.

I think Roski's biggest hurdle is that he wants to own a substantial piece of the team. I'm not aware of AEG having any such requirement, which will make his proposed stadium more attractive to owners who want a lucrative new move that they don't have to share.

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Yes! How dare stadiums not have corporation names on them! OUTRAGEOUS!!!

My point is, that I'd prefer some sort of permanent name, instead of these "placeholder" names.

And, a non-corporate sponsorship name would be ideal.

Especially since even a sponsored name can become a placeholder in a hurry; just ask the folks in Philadelphia, home of Core States First Union Wachovia Wells Fargo Center, which is less than 15 years old and already on its fourth name due to a series of mergers.

In any case, I've never understood naming rights. When the Ballpark in Arlington was built, it was known as "the Ballpark." When Ameriquest bought the naming rights, it was known as "the Ballpark." When it switched to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, it became known as "the Ballpark." Heck, even Cowboys Stadium is more commonly referred to as "Jerryworld." So how does it even help a company to buy naming rights?

It's not just about stamping the name. There are package deals that include using luxury suites for business use, advertising, showing off new products, marketing to season ticket holders, etc.

Also, TV/radio announcers are generally expected/instructed to refer to stadiums by their proper names (sponsor-branded or otherwise) during the course of game coverage. They don't say, for example, "And now, back to JerryWorld", they say "And now, back to Cowboys Stadium."

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For a downtown LA area stadium, why would it be Farmers field? So random for that area.

LA Lakers

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This is not a repeat from 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010...

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Both stadium plans are proceeding quite nicely with local governmental approval, actually. I haven't checked in on them in a while, but hasn't the City of Industry one cleared all hurdles? Aren't they just waiting for a team before rolling the bulldozers in?

Frankly, if inside buzz is to be believed, Ed Roski's City of Industry proposal will be "waiting for a team" for quite some time.

According to the Los Angeles Times, word is that "everal NFL owners and executives have quietly indicated they prefer the AEG concept to Roski's". And why not? No offense to Roski, but Majestic Partners doesn't have anywhere near the worldwide cache in sports-related development and management that AEG does. Further, the AEG plan is located in the heart of a burgeoning new entertainment district in downtown Los Angeles, situated adjacent to the Staples Center, the Nokia Theater and LA Live!. Roski's stadium, even with the ancillary development he plans to build around it, will be located in... City of Industry.

Roski may have gotten out of the gates first, but the AEG plan has all of the momentum. The chances of Roski getting a rumored-to-be-on-the-move NFL team to commit to his project before AEG definitively knows whether it can move forward with its plans in downtown LA are non-existent. Should AEG get the go-ahead from local and state officials, Roski's plan is dead-in-the-water. If AEG gets the go-ahead, and two NFL teams subsequently called Los Angeles home, they'd share the downtown stadium. There would be no need for a second facility in City of Industry.

Roski's only hope at this point is to either hope that AEG's plan falls through, or for him to find an NFL owner who wants to divest of his/her team altogether and is willing to sell immediately. Even the latter is no sure thing, as Goodell and the remaining NFL owners seem to be so enamored of AEG's plan that they might well hold-off on allowing Roski to close on such a purchase until after they knew whether or not the AEG plan was moving forward.

For what it is worth, I think the only possible hang-up here is AEG waiting on California state lawmakers to grant the project an exemption from certain provisions of the state's environmental quality act - specifically, immunity from lawsuits that can hamstring such projects for years. In 2009, California lawmakers granted Roski's project such immunity, so I don't know how they'd justify not extending the same courtesy to AEG. Beyond that, I'm of a mind that the other particulars of this deal are all but signed, sealed and delivered. I'm willing to bet that behind the scenes, Goodell has already signed-off on relocating a team to Los Angeles. Further, I wouldn't be surprised if AEG has already reached an agreement-in-principal with at least one rumored franchise about moving. I just don't see this project having progressed this far - and AEG touting it so publicly - if the major players weren't all-but-certain that it is going to come to fruition.

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Yes! How dare stadiums not have corporation names on them! OUTRAGEOUS!!!

My point is, that I'd prefer some sort of permanent name, instead of these "placeholder" names.

And, a non-corporate sponsorship name would be ideal.

Especially since even a sponsored name can become a placeholder in a hurry; just ask the folks in Philadelphia, home of Core States First Union Wachovia Wells Fargo Center, which is less than 15 years old and already on its fourth name due to a series of mergers.

In any case, I've never understood naming rights. When the Ballpark in Arlington was built, it was known as "the Ballpark." When Ameriquest bought the naming rights, it was known as "the Ballpark." When it switched to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, it became known as "the Ballpark." Heck, even Cowboys Stadium is more commonly referred to as "Jerryworld." So how does it even help a company to buy naming rights?

It's not just about stamping the name. There are package deals that include using luxury suites for business use, advertising, showing off new products, marketing to season ticket holders, etc.

Also, TV/radio announcers are generally expected/instructed to refer to stadiums by their proper names (sponsor-branded or otherwise) during the course of game coverage. They don't say, for example, "And now, back to JerryWorld", they say "And now, back to Cowboys Stadium."

I agree with the TV stuff, but the local crowd usually doesn't refer to it as such. Usually, the local crowd becomes resentful of any company that takes over the naming rights of a stadium that had a previous name. When Ameriquest came into the picture at the Ballpark, people would openly boo the "Ameriquest Bell" that rang after a home run. There was no reference to the company in fan postings or everyday talk. Heck, most people didn't say it "wow, the money will help the team;" most said "wow, this will help Hicks line his pockets." Not sure that worked that well for him...

Even stadiums that have initial naming rights like the American Airlines Center aren't referred to as such around here. Most people I know either call it the Stars/Mavericks Arena or more commonly the "AAC" (pronounced either A-A-C or "Ack")

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I just don't see this project having progressed this far - and AEG touting it so publicly - if the major players weren't all-but-certain that it is going to come to fruition.

I couldn't agree more. But there are some hurdles (aside from securing a team) - hurdles which the other project has already cleared. I don't know how likely Sacramento is to give AEG the same environmental waiver that Roski received, considering this is a new legislature, with a new governor.

Sure, the city of LA's preference would be for a downtown team. The NFL's might be as well. But I wouldn't underestimate Roski, no matter how much press AEG has received in the last week.

It will come down, as you say, to whomever can strike a deal with a team first. And as I said above, I think AEG has the advantage, since they haven't made their ownership of the team a condition.

Either way, LA will have a team very soon.

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No new stadium broke ground to be built until after the deal was made for the LA Rams . . . . to move.

Incorrect. The stadium now known as the Edward Jones Dome broke ground in 1992, a full three years before the deal to bring the Rams to St. Louis was consummated. The motivation that led to the public funding of the dome's construction was the prospect of securing an NFL expansion franchise, a process that St. Louis was going through at the time ground was broken. As a matter of fact, construction of the new stadium was one of the reasons why St. Louis's expansion application survived the first two rounds of cuts of the 1993 expansion derby. Having attended the first and only St. Louis Stallions pep rally in October, 1993 at the dome's construction site, I can assure you that there was no deal in place for the Rams prior to groundbreaking.

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I don't know how likely Sacramento is to give AEG the same environmental waiver that Roski received, considering this is a new legislature, with a new governor.

The turnover in the California legislature as a result of the November 2010 elections wasn't nearly as great as that felt elsewhere in the country. California Assembly Speaker John Perez - who represents the downtown district where AEG's planned stadium is to be built - voted in favor of the exemption for Roski. State Senator Tony Strickland - vice chairman of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee - has pledged his support for granting AEG the exemption. Phil Anschutz has contributed millions of dollars to political campaigns in California over the past 10 years - including those of Governor Brown and Speaker Perez. Further, Brown is a darling of the state's unions and it will be awfully hard for him to deny the construction trades the jobs associated with the facility's construction.

Bottom line? There will be considerable back-and-forth, as there was with the first vote, but I envision AEG being granted the exemption.

Sure, the city of LA's preference would be for a downtown team. The NFL's might be as well.

Frankly, the only preference that really matters right now is that of the NFL. I can't see them bypassing a chance to work with AEG - an entity with extensive, global sports-related development and management experience - in order to align themselves with Roski, largely a real estate developer. Nor do I see them preferring City of Industry over downtown Los Angeles.

But I wouldn't underestimate Roski, no matter how much press AEG has received in the last week.

Again, Roski's lost what little momentum he had. The NFL's owners and executives never came out in support of Roski's plan the way they have AEG's. The few remarks Goodell ever made about the City of Industry site were lukewarm. By comparison, Leiweke's had several face-to-face meetings with Goodell about AEG's plan already... and the word on the street is that Goodell is very much in favor of it.

Roski's all but done. That's why he's been reduced to having his second-in-command at Majestic Partners, John Semcken, take potshots at AEG's proposal for the better part of the last three months. Majestic has nothing else to offer. They can't trump AEG's location. They can't trump AEG's naming-rights deal. They can't trump AEG's track-record as not only a real estate development outfit, but as a global sports-and-entertainment marketing/management/promtional firm as well. Most importantly, they can't match the fact that Goodell and the NFL's owners are aligning behind AEG.

At best, Roski's City of Industry site is a fallback... and one that the NFL brass don't seem particularly enthused about.

It will come down, as you say, to whomever can strike a deal with a team first. And as I said above, I think AEG has the advantage, since they haven't made their ownership of the team a condition.

AEG's not requiring an ownership stake in a relocating team is simply the "cherry" on top of their proposal.

Either way, LA will have a team very soon.

It has been a long time coming, but that is the case.

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Yes! How dare stadiums not have corporation names on them! OUTRAGEOUS!!!

My point is, that I'd prefer some sort of permanent name, instead of these "placeholder" names.

And, a non-corporate sponsorship name would be ideal.

Especially since even a sponsored name can become a placeholder in a hurry; just ask the folks in Philadelphia, home of Core States First Union Wachovia Wells Fargo Center, which is less than 15 years old and already on its fourth name due to a series of mergers.

In any case, I've never understood naming rights. When the Ballpark in Arlington was built, it was known as "the Ballpark." When Ameriquest bought the naming rights, it was known as "the Ballpark." When it switched to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, it became known as "the Ballpark." Heck, even Cowboys Stadium is more commonly referred to as "Jerryworld." So how does it even help a company to buy naming rights?

It's not just about stamping the name. There are package deals that include using luxury suites for business use, advertising, showing off new products, marketing to season ticket holders, etc.

Also, TV/radio announcers are generally expected/instructed to refer to stadiums by their proper names (sponsor-branded or otherwise) during the course of game coverage. They don't say, for example, "And now, back to JerryWorld", they say "And now, back to Cowboys Stadium."

I agree with the TV stuff, but the local crowd usually doesn't refer to it as such. Usually, the local crowd becomes resentful of any company that takes over the naming rights of a stadium that had a previous name. When Ameriquest came into the picture at the Ballpark, people would openly boo the "Ameriquest Bell" that rang after a home run. There was no reference to the company in fan postings or everyday talk. Heck, most people didn't say it "wow, the money will help the team;" most said "wow, this will help Hicks line his pockets." Not sure that worked that well for him...

Even stadiums that have initial naming rights like the American Airlines Center aren't referred to as such around here. Most people I know either call it the Stars/Mavericks Arena or more commonly the "AAC" (pronounced either A-A-C or "Ack")

The naming rights holders probably couldn't care less what the locals call the place, as long as they get their name routinely mentioned on TV/radio, shown on signage on TV etc. to the regional/national TV viewing audiences as part of its proper name. The folks at Mall of America had to know most locals would still call the Vikings' stadium the Metrodome just out of 28 years' worth of habit, but that didn't stop MoA from doing a naming-rights deal for that stadium because they knew it would give the MoA name nationwide exposure during Vikings home games, highlight packages and other related NFL programming.

The team owners couldn't care less either, because the rights holders were still willing to give them truckloads full of cash to add their name to the stadium's proper name.

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How about the Vikings play at Farmers Field, and the Chargers at that City of Industry Stadium?

Why build two 1 billion dollar stadiums for 2 teams when you can build 1, 1 billion dollar stadium for 2 teams? Seriously only one stadium is going to be built in LA, and the AEG one definitely has the momentum. Roski has been stalled ever since the economy collapsed. And frankly his location sucks compared to the one AEG just came up with. Now that AEG is almost completely funded (assuming they get 2 teams), they'll be building sooner rather than later. Only question is which two of the wayward teams (Vikings, Chargers, Jags, Bills, Raiders, Rams) will be the first to jump on board with AEG and get the new home they desire.

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I want to see the Vikings go to LA, their color's and the Lakers would easily make them one of the city's own idenity.

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I want to see the Vikings go to LA, their color's and the Lakers would easily make them one of the city's own idenity.

Regardless of who the second team is I think one of them has to be the Jags. They've never had enough fan support in Jacksonville. As for the other team, the Chargers seem a likely candidate until you look at the price they'd have to pay to relocate ($500 million) and the Spanos family inability to pay it. The Vikes seem likely if there isn't movement on their stadium soon (particularly now that the Metrodome has proven to be a liability). The Bills won't move as long as the old man is alive, and neither will the Raiders. As for the Rams, frankly a few new HD boards and some bells and whistles added to their existing stadium COULD keep them in St. Louis, but they're also very flexible on the ownership front.

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I want to see the Vikings go to LA, their color's and the Lakers would easily make them one of the city's own idenity.

So, would those colors be known as "Screw You, Minnesota" purple and gold?

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As for the other team, the Chargers seem a likely candidate until you look at the price they'd have to pay to relocate ($500 million) and the Spanos family inability to pay it.

You're mistaken about the amount the Spanos family would have to pay to relocate.

Between February 1st and April 30th of each year through 2020, the Chargers can announce their intention to leave the San Diego market if they pay-off the bonds used to finance expansion of Qualcomm Stadium in 1997. The figure they would currently have to pay is $26 million... not $500 million.

That's according to an Associated Press story posted on NFL.com in December 8, 2010.

Chargers will stay in San Diego for at least one more season

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