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L.A. in the Market for a NFL Franchise

July 26, 2011 7 comments

In the last few years we’ve heard the rumors that Los Angeles was close to bringing a NFL franchise back to the city. Los Angeles has a history of stealing NFL Franchises away first with the St Louis Rams in 1946, then with the Oakland Raiders in 1982.

Rending of the $1 Billion stadium courtesy of Los Angeles Times

Nearly 40 years later L.A.  is at it again attempting to entice a NFL franchise to move back to the City of Angels. Recently the city of L.A.  released a draft of a “Memorandum of Understanding”  which is a basic outline of an agreement between AEG and the city to build the $275 million dollar wing on the Los Angeles Convention Center and the attached Farmer Field for a $1.2 billion stadium and events center. AEG President Tim Leiweke  is hoping to have the city council vote July 31st on whether they will issue the nearly $300 million in bonds and approve the deal, but recently stated he expects it to slip into August. At this present moment this means very little as the official deal would be about one year away. The agreement also states that construction cannot begin until a NFL team has signed a contact to play at Farmer Field. There has also been a little competition within the city.

This image provided by AEG shows the proposed NFL stadium, to be named Farmers Field in Los Angeles. It would have approximately 72,000 seats, with 200 luxury seats and 15,000 club seats.

Ed Roski’s real estate development company Majestic Reality has had permits in place for nearly two years for its 75,000 stadium east of L.A. but has not secured a NFL team.

So who’s it going to be? With the agreement getting slightly closer, five potential teams have been thrown in the conversation. The teams being the San Diego Chargers, St Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Minnesota Vikings. All teams in different markets with the exception of Oakland and San Diego. Currently San Diego is the favorite as they started in L.A. at Coliseum and also have tried desperately to get a new stadium to replace their 45-year-old Qualcomm Stadium. ESPNLA announces that

“The Chargers can announce their intentions to leave San Diego between Feb. 1 and April 30 of each year through 2020 if they pay off the bonds, which currently would be about $26 million, used to expand Qualcomm in 1997.”

But dont count out the other four teams. At this point it could be any team who moves to Los Angeles. I believe you could make a good argument for each team. As for attendance the Oakland Raiders could use the most help as they have not only the lowest attendance of the five potential teams, but they also recorded the second lowest attendance in 2008 next to the Detroit Lions with 462,000. The Oakland Raiders also had the lowest value of any NFL Franchise  in 2009 at $797 million with an operating income at -$5.7 million according to Forbes.com . It seems as far as numbers, the Raiders could use the most assistance. Not to mention with the NFL sharing ticket revenue taking one of the lowest ranking teams in attendance and potentially making them a top 10 ranking as far as attendance could be very good for all teams. Regardless L.A. will bring a strong fan base and a high atmosphere to whomever chooses to come in addition to a new stadium in a high entertainment market. Oakland has my vote, but what do you think?

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Viewing Parties Potential as the Next Best Thing


Through out the NBA Playoffs we’ve seen the Miami Heat and recently the Dallas Mavericks host Watching Parties when their team was on the road. These parties are free, with the exception of parking, and give the fans a home game feeling as hundreds of fans usually show up to support their team as they watch on the big screen.

Miami Heat fans gather outside American Airlines Arena to watch Game 5 of the Heat vs Bulls series

Seeing the reaction of the Dallas fans at their home arena during Game 2 of the NBA Finals as well as how many fans there were I begin to think, what if this became a every game thing in the NBA Finals and maybe during the regular season for highly anticipated games? Also what if teams sold tickets to these viewing parties?

Dallas fans watch their Mavericks play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the American Airline Center.

Teams could make revenue on both home and away games during the post-season. Fans always gather together to watch big games. Friends get together, either at home or at bars and restaurants, order food, and cheer on their team. Fans would be able to gather in bigger groups and watch games at their home arena with hundreds of other fans. It’s no secret that games are more entertaining to watch when you are surrounded by people who support the same team.

Tickets for Viewing Parties would be sold at the beginning of each series.  Initially tickets would be general admission, but could potentially lead to normal game seating based on demand. To encourage more fans to purchase these tickets, each ticket could include some sort of concession discount or coupon. Fans gather together to watch games as is, certainly given the opportunity to watch their game not only together, but in their home arena fans would come in packs. In-Game Promotions could be used for giveaways and contests just as they would be if the game was being played at that arena. You would want to create a near identical game experience. The revenue from these Viewing Parties would not  a franchise, but it would be revenue none the less and you can never have to much of that.

I believe this idea has the potential to take off, not only in Basketball, but Hockey as well. With a series Hockey fans could watch games in their home arena.  I know WHEN the Pistons make the finals again I’d love to go back to the Palace and watch a game on the big screen.

Marketing A Bad Team

September 24, 2010 1 comment

As a Michigan resident and Lions fan I’ve had the pleasure of having many of the Lions games “Blackout”. For a while when I said I was “watching the game” that meant I was sitting at my computer waiting for updates on ESPN’s Gamecast. I can still remember sitting at my computer during the 2009 season and seeing that the Lions were within the five yard line with seconds to go against the Cleveland Browns. I waited for 25 minutes before the final score came up. So how does a team avoid getting blackout? Well sell out, but that’s of course easier said then done. Winning teams fight to keep their tickets online, while losing teams fight to get people in the stadium. So how do you go about marketing a losing team to get people in the stadium? Make the customers’ experience, affordable, unique and memorable. As a intern for the University of Michigan Sport Marketing department I have the pleasure of doing a lot of marketing for the Big House. Even when the team was losing we still managed to get over a 100,000 fans in the stadium. Of course this has little to do with the marketing, but more on the tradition of the Big House. Being at a Michigan game, regardless of how the team is doing, is an experience like no other. Aside from the football, I also get to participate in the marketing for some of the lesser known sports such as Field Hockey, Gymnastics, and Track & Field. Increasing attendance at these sporting events is a little more difficult as you can imagine. People are less interested in these sports and naturally less likely to come. To give students and fans incentives to come we offer giveaways, food, and other prizes for people to come. For many games or events here at Michigan the students are given free pizza or hot dogs.

Ford Field during a good game

The Detroit Lions offered good deals on their concessions such as free refills on soda and popcorn at their home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. You want to attract fans to the games with the free food and prizes, but you want them to stay for the experience they had. You want to them to think of the sporting event when they are deciding how to entertain themselves or friends and family. You can’t continue to give free food for every event, but you can provide a great experience for them. The Lions are lucky in the since that they finally seem to have a team being put together. After a very successful draft and busy off-season the Lions have a building defense and a young offense with high potential. The new team facing the “Worst Team In The League” title is the St Louis Rams. The Rams are out to an expected 0-2 . St Louis is slightly different from Detroit in the sense that one decade ago St Louis was a threat. Detroit has not had an amazing team, a team worth watching, since the 1950s when they had one of the best secondaries in the league. St Louis made the right move and drafted QB Sam Bradford with the first pick of the 2010 draft. Now the Rams only need a couple of rebuilding years to strengthen their team. They need to make sure they hold the fan base by keeping the atmosphere of the games high, because god knows it won’t be the success of their team that keeps them coming back.

Teams that are going through struggling years need to keep the atmosphere of their games high. Fans incentives for coming to games is to see their team win. When the team struggles to get those necessary wins it is up to the franchise marketing department and provide the atmosphere  to give fans incentives to buy tickets and come to the games. Most fans (excluding the life long die-hard fans) will use the excuse “I’m not going to pay to see my team get killed. I will be a fan from my own home and keep my money in my pocket until they prove to me they can win games again.” Providing that atmosphere will get fans to the games.