Report: NFL could return to L.A., own the stadium and act as landlord

Roger Goodell still wants a team in Los Angeles. (USATSI)
Roger Goodell still wants a team in Los Angeles. (USATSI)

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Looks like the NFL-to-L.A. idea isn't dead yet.

Though it's seemed more likely in the past few years that London would procure a franchise before Los Angeles could get another crack at hosting an NFL team, the L.A. Times reports that the league still has plenty of interest in the city.

Already, L.A. and Chicago are the only two cities now being considered to host the 2015 draft, and on Saturday, the newspaper reported "the NFL is taking another run at returning to Los Angeles" and possibly exploring the idea of building a stadium that the league itself would own.

The newspaper writes that a team could move to L.A. the old-fashioned way by building a stadium itself (most likely with a loan from the NFL in order to do so) and then owning that stadium and all the profits that are generated by it. But ... the league also could pay for its own stadium and then reap the benefits of naming rights, personal seat licenses and whatever else could be sold.

Another reason that could benefit the NFL entirely: the other 31 teams could share in that stadium-generated revenue.

But why would a franchise that's relocating to L.A. agree to the NFL acting as its landlord?

"That's the pivotal question, and there are a lot of owners who wouldn't want Big Brother as a landlord," writes reporter Sam Farmer. "That said, the NFL could make it more enticing by giving tenants control of key revenue streams such as sales of suites, club and general admission seats, local sponsorship and advertising, parking and the like. The challenge for the league would be making the deal attractive enough."

Another advantage: the NFL could begin building the stadium right away in order to be ready for a team to be named later. That way, a franchise that's relocating could announce that its leaving its host city and already have a new stadium waiting in L.A., thereby avoiding the ire (and eventual disinterest) of the original city's fans who the team still would want to fill the lameduck stadium.

"I'd love to be back in Los Angeles. But it has to be done the right way, we have to do it successfully ..." commissioner Roger Goodell said in October. "I want both [London and LA], but it doesn't matter which one is first."

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