Magic Johnson is interested in an NFL team in Los Angeles
When Magic Johnson expresses interests in professional sports teams, it usually comes to fruition. The part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sparks, and the upcoming LA Football Club, has recently stated he would like an NFL franchise in the city he has called home since his first days in a Lakers uniform. It is a venture, that while not likely to occur within the next year, could potentially be in works down the road.
Johnson stated the following in a recent visit with ESPN.
"We helped the Dodgers rebound. We're No. 1 in attendance in baseball; we've been that for the last two years. So we know how to take a franchise, elevate it and also sell it to the fans in Los Angeles. That's going to be important to whoever the owner is, to make sure they have someone locally to sell the team to the local market."
Just from a purely economic standpoint, a team to Los Angeles makes sense. LA is the second largest market in the country, and the NFL is the only one of the four sports leagues that does not operate a franchise within the city's limits. There are hurdles that remain prevalent to this day.
The first, and perhaps most pressing issue, is that it would require the relocation of an already existing NFL team. The most recent candidates for such a move have been the St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. The problem with uprooting a franchise is relatively self explanatory. If there is still enough demand in the area for said team, the public outrage will be palpable.
The second is the cost of rebuilding and re-branding. A new NFL franchise (unless the Raiders were to move and continue under the same name) would require a new team logo, uniforms, television deals, sponsoring, and construction of a brand new stadium/team facilities. This venture could easily cost a potential ownership group a few billions. Nevertheless, Johnson remains confident that it can happen.
"I know how to do it. Whether it's me or somebody else, I think it's important," said to USA Today.
"Even if I'm not involved, I just want the suite. Seriously, I'm going to be the first one in line to get a suite. So whoever's coming, even if I'm not a part of it, I'm going to buy my suite and I'm going to be there, just like I was at Raiders games and Rams games. If it's the Raiders, the Rams, the Chargers – I don't care who it is – I'm going to be there because I love the NFL and I love football."
All of this is moot for now, however, as the NFL has squashed any plans for team relocation in 2015. Roger Goodell, has opened up a committee to discuss future franchise opportunities in Los Angeles though. It is not much, but it is a start.
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