Bringing Football to L.A. May Be Harder Than It Sounds

The Coliseum could be an interim home for an NFL team

AEG and the L.A. City Council want a football team playing in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum by 2012 and kicking off in the proposed Farmers Field by 2015.

The California state Senate has approved Senate Bill 292 amongst others to help fast track the constructions of the downtown stadium that Bill Clinton is applauding for its environmentally friendly plans.

But, not so fast.

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The "if you build it, they will come" attitude may not be enough to bring football back to a city that has been without it since 1994.

"I don't necessarily think the NFL is going to come to L.A., regardless of the [AEG] deal," Neil deMause, author of the book and companion blog Field of Schemes said. "I don't think any team will jump on it [moving to L.A.]. They would have to exhaust all other options."

Moving a franchise to Los Angeles may consequently become a team's biggest bargaining tool in their quest to stay in their hometowns, with their hometown fans.

The idea of moving a franchise to L.A. may be tempting for some owners, but a brand new stadium will not make up for the over-saturated sports market (two baseball teams, two basketball teams, two hockey teams, two college football teams and a soccer team) or the disillusioned football fans who have been burned before by teams who have abandoned the city and now foster long distance relationships with their favorite teams.

A new team will also have to pay a massive amount of money in rent to AEG. "If they want to pay rent," deMause said, "they don't have to do it in Los Angeles."

DeMause thinks it will be five or ten years before a team plays their first first down in Los Angeles, regardless of the overriding push from city officials.

"It's the pride of bringing a team to L.A., and saying they're creating jobs," deMause said of the city's gung-ho attitude towards Farmers Field. "They want big shiny things they can point to and say I got that accomplished. It's really hard to put your name on a plaque at a kindergarten for lowering class sizes or for reducing hunger rates."

More on Farmers Field
- USC Master Lease Improves Chances of NFL Return to Coliseum
- AEG is Cloaking its Downtown Stadium in 'Green' Snake Oil
- NFL Football is Bad for You and Your Neighborhood
- Downtown LA Stadium: AEG Seeks Protection from Lawsuits

Sara Ramsey is a graduate student at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, which has partnered with KCET-TV to produce this blog about policy in Los Angeles.

The photo used on this post is by Filckr user Flabber DeGasky. It was used under a Creative Commons License.

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