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Rand: Now the Miami Dolphins are using L.A. as a threat

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • May 6, 2013 - 9:53 AM

 

An NFL team in Los Angeles makes a certain amount of sense, even if previous teams there ended up moving. It's the second-largest media market in the U.S. behind New York. There is plenty of wealth to fill the luxury seating. Etc.

 

But for now, the NFL has the perfect situation in NOT having a team in such a huge market -- which sounds crazy until you think about it.

Every team with an old stadium can use the threat of moving to Los Angeles as leverage. Even if it's not an overt threat, it works. The notion certainly helped the Vikings (eventually) get their stadium approved. And now the Dolphins are doing the same thing. Miami CEO Mike Dee (not to be confused with Mike D from the Beastie Boys) brought it up recently after Florida lawmakers finished their session without approving funding to fix up the Dolphins' existing stadium. Per ESPN.com:

Dee said in the interview that 73-year-old owner Stephen Ross has no intentions to move the franchise but at some point he'll sell the team and the aging stadium will be an issue confronting the new owner.

Dee was asked in the interview if moving the franchise to Los Angeles now becomes an option.

"I don't think it's an option for Steve Ross, but for a subsequent owner? The Dolphins are one of the only franchises in the National Football League that do not have a long-term lease with their community," he said.

Perfectly vague and blameless. The current owner wouldn't do it, but what about the next guy? Do you really want to lose the Dolphins, Florida? Los Angeles, meanwhile, has the perfect set-up in that it has committed to building a costly stadium, but only if the city gets a team.

As long as there is no team, LA has no financial commitment. And as long as LA has no team, the specter of a team moving there can be enough to influence stadium construction and renovation elsewhere. The only ones who lose as long as this cat-and-mouse game keeps going are LA football fans, and nobody really knows if they exist.

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