PHOENIX — For the third time in a little over a year, NFL owners voted to move a franchise from its home city, with the Raiders receiving approval on Monday to move from Oakland to Las Vegas.
Ross acknowledged having concerns with two teams being in a Los Angeles market that has had a lukewarm reception at best to the return of the NFL.
“If you look at the total end result of having left three markets, having concentrated two teams in one market, which hasn’t demonstrated itself to be at the top of the list for a single team, and now putting a team moving from the sixth-largest market to the 40th-largest market — if you said that all before this process started, I don’t think there would have been too many people that would have said, ‘Yes, that’s the end result that we want,’” said Marc Ganis, a sports business consultant who works closely with the NFL on relocation issues.
“It’s an end result we may find acceptable, but it’s not the perfect solution. I don’t think there would have been anyone in the room that would’ve said that.”
The NFL will have two teams in Los Angeles this fall for the first time in over two decades. Combined, the Rams and Chargers won nine games last season.
But despite the two fledgling NFL teams playing in the ultracompetitive L.A. market, NFL owners for the most part still believe they made the right decision in approving the relocation of the Rams and Chargers to Los Angeles.
“I have no second thoughts,” said New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch, who resides in Los Angeles and has an intimate understanding of the market. “I think the success for any team in the market they’re in is how they perform on the field. I can’t predict how the Giants are going to do this season, and I can’t predict how the Chargers are going to do. But the fans want to see W’s, and W’s drive fans to come back to every home game. It’s pretty simple.
“I’m also in the movie business. So I look at a movie screen and I look at a football field as pretty much the same thing. It’s all fan-driven. You give the fans what they want and they’re going to come back to MetLife Stadium. You give moviegoers what they want and they’re going to come back to the theaters.”
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan said owners are simply backing the desires of their colleagues.
“These are club-driven initiatives,” Khan said. “Nobody is saying at [NFL headquarters], ‘OK, let’s have two here and one there.’ These are clubs that individually decided what they want to do. This is a partnership. And I think most of us want to support our partners.”
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft agreed with Khan’s sentiments.
“None of us like to see anyone move,” Kraft said. “I think the three situations — it’s horrible for the fan base. I went through it myself and came close to even moving in the New England region. But I decided not to do it, walked away from a great financial deal because that was right for me.
“In the end, we’re in a very competitive league, and you can’t compete at the highest level if you don’t have a first-rate stadium. I think that’s what this is really all about.”
Now that the NFL has two teams in Los Angeles, Ganis said it will be up to the Rams and the Chargers to carve out a niche in a city with eight professional teams and plenty of options for folks to use their free time.
“The L.A. market is a super-saturated marketplace now,” Ganis said. “And it’s not just for going to the games and selling tickets to the fans, but sponsorships and broadcasting. If you look at all of the regional sports networks in Los Angeles, it’s ridiculous. New York doesn’t have anywhere near as many as L.A. does, and New York is three times the size of Los Angeles.
“And so what you’ve got is the combination of too much in Los Angeles, which means the Rams and the Chargers need to market,” Ganis said. “They can’t just sit back and say, ‘We’re the NFL.’ You can do that in Green Bay. You can do that in Kansas City. Not that they do, but I’m saying they can do it. But in L.A., there’s way too much competition, and that doesn’t count the other things people can do in the fall that does not relate to going to a sporting event.”
ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss contributed to this report.