Yesterday, Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross broached the subject of franchise relocation when he mentioned that “it’s important to the NFL to have a team in Los Angeles.” He also mentioned Toronto as a future home of the Buffalo Bills, even though Toronto has yet to sell out any of the three NFL games they have hosted.
Ross went a step further and said that if LA is going to work as an NFL town, there may need to be two teams in the city to justify the $1 billion price tag of a new stadium.
If we assume one of the LA teams is relocated from another city (e.g. San Diego, Minneapolis), that means the second team would have to arrive via expansion.
But if America’s most popular sport does decide to expand, they would need to add two teams to preserve balance. What other city is ready to host an NFL franchise?
PROS: Orlando is the second biggest TV market in the US without an NFL Franchise. It is also one of the tourism hotbeds in this country and an NFL franchise could become just the latest attraction. Not to mention there would be endless cross-promotional possibilities with the city's numerous theme parks.
CONS: The weather for the first two months of the season makes the NFL difficult in Florida for the casual fan unless the stadium includes a retractable roof. There is also the issue of the current state of the economy in central Florida which is among the worst in the country. And would the NFL want a second team so close to the Tampa-St. Pete area?
PROS: Football does well in Ohio and the Columbus Crew generally have strong attendance in the MLS.
CONS: There are five TV markets bigger than Columbus without an NFL franchise and the Blue Jackets of the NHL are regularly near the bottom of attendance. Besides, would the NFL add a third team in Ohio?
PROS: Sure it is the UFL, but the Omaha Nighthawks have been the most successful franchise to date, and have actually sold out games. Also, Midwest teams tend to be much more regional and can attract die-hard fans from hours away. And in Omaha, the NFL would be four hours away from the closest franchise.
CONS: Omaha is just the 76th largest US TV market. While small markets can work in the NFL (e.g. Green Bay), it is not ideal.
PROS: Sacramento is the 3rd largest TV market without an NFL franchise.
CONS: Sacramento has struggled with attendance at Kings games. And if the NFL adds to two teams to LA, that would give California five NFL teams. Six seems like too many.
PROS: Salt Lake City is the 5th largest TV market without an NFL franchise, and could help fill that void between Denver and the left coast. There are no teams within 500 miles of Salt Lake City. Also, the city has a proven track record with pro franchises, as the Jazz have consistently placed in the top 10 in the NBA in attendance.
CONS: It's Utah.
PROS: Portland is the 4th largest TV market without an NFL franchise and is regularly named as a potential expansion or relocation destination for pro sports franchises. Seattle has proven that sports fans in the Pacific northwest can be football-mad even for mediocre teams. Also, the Trailblazers tend to draw very well in the NBA.
CONS: Only 200 miles from Seattle and doesn't have the sex appeal of other potential locations.
PROS: San Antonio is the 5th largest TV market without an NFL franchise. But they also have the added benefit of being close to Austin which is one of the largest cities in the country without a pro sports franchise. But the biggest advantage is there is no need to build a new stadium. The Alamodome is already NFL-ready at a capacity of 65,000 and has already temporarily hosted an NFL team (Saints in 2005).
CONS: In the NFL, television is king, and there are bigger markets available than San Antonio.
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