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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?

Rutgers Coach Proposes Alternative to Kickoff


Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano

After watching Junior Defensive End Eric Legrand lay helplessly on the field after a head collision last October, Head Coach Greg Schiano begin thinking of a way to make the game of football safer that help prevent an injury from happening in the future for all levels. It is no secret that Kickoffs are one, if not, the most dangerous part of the game of football. For this reason the NFL recently moved the Kickoff to the 35 yard line to lessen the chance of injury. Coach Schiano proposed a Kickoff Alternative that would be safer for all players while not drastically changing the game.

Schiano Plan:

“Replace all kickoffs with a punting situation, including after the opening coin toss and to start the second half. So, as an example, when Team A scores a touchdown, it immediately gets the ball back on a fourth and 15 from its own 30-yard line. It can punt it back to Team B — the most likely outcome and a safer play since the bigger collisions usually happen on kickoffs. Or it can line up and go for the first down, essentially replacing an onside kick with an offensive play that would require more skill than luck.”

I personally think this has potential to considered at the Collegiate and Professional level. It keeps returns in the game and also provides an opportunity for a team to retain possession. Punting from the 30 would result in a similar outcome as an average kickoff. In the 2010 season the smallest average for a starting punter in the National Football League was 40.1 yards. With the average punt return near ten yards players would fall short of the 40 yard line. This is a double edge issue as teams with elite punt returners such as the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, or San Francisco 49ers, will have a strong advantage and could potentially start a majority of their drives on their opponents side of the field. Another issue would be the 4th and 15 option instead of punting. While one would think being on their own 30 would be enough of a risk to influence coaches to punt, many teams have players who average 15 yards. In 2010 21 WR/TE averaged 15.0 yards  per catch or more, with several more averaging 14.0 yards per catch or more. Not saying that coaches would choose to go for it after every score, but it would be well in their grasp. I believe making the 4th and 15 a 4th and 20 would be a slighty more difficult and would reflect the difficulty of an onside kick  more accurately.

Schiano was also questioned whether the receiving team would be allowed to attempt a block of the initial punt. When asked Schiano said “I don’t think that’s what you’re looking to do with this. Maybe that’s not an option – maybe you can’t block the punt because that’s not what you’re looking to accomplish here. Maybe it’s one of those deals like in an All-Star Game where you can’t block the punt, that it would have to be all return game.” One scenario I thought about when I read the details of this rule is the possibility of a team dominating the time of possession. Think of all the shoot out games where teams trade punches for the entire game. The entire game is filled with big plays and at the end it is the team who has the ball last that wins. In a game where there is little defense a team could potentially score, be successful on a 4th and 15, and repeat. The opposing team could have a hand full of possessions the entire game. Yes it is a long shot, but in certain games where it is all offense for both teams it could happen.

I personally love Kickoffs. I don’t believe the hype before a Kickoff would be the same if it was a Punt. That being said you cannot put a price on how safe the game could be and with the recent emphasis on players safety in the NFL I believe this idea is at the very least worth considering.

What do you think?

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.

Tressels Resignation Warning to All NCAA Coaches

June 1, 2011 1 comment

As a Michigan alumni part of me could only be happy to see the Ohio State Buckeyes face such penalties.  After leaving Ann Arbor without a victory over Ohio State my dislike only grew. At the same time I could only feel slightly sorry for the Buckeyes considering what they will lose in the two to three years pending they lose some of their top players.

Over the years we’ve heard of several players being paid at several universities. Weather it be Chris Webber at the University of Michigan, O.J. Mayo at USC, or Joe McKnight at USC we’ve heard it a million times. Each time the NCAA issues a punishment and the regret the institution feels is temporary. So when Tressel finally resigned I begin to think, since I’m all but certain more universities are paying players, what are these players thinking at this time? As much as it hurts me to say it, Jim Tressel has been a very successful coach. One National Championship with several other visits to the big game in addition to a handful of Big Ten Championships. Tressel has helped Ohio State consistently be considered a National Contender. But even with this impressive resume he has fallen. So as a coach who has had ANY involvement in a student-athlete being paid any form compensation other than their scholarship how do you react? The NCAA will eventually find you out, they always do. These stories always reach the surface at one point in time whether it be while the player in question is playing or the player has moved on to a professional career. If I were in that situation I’d be shaking in my shoes at this point. Penalties will only get worse. I wouldnt be surprised if a program gets the “Death Penalty” in the future for similar penalties.

Tressel Takes a Slap on The Wrist


Every year in sports we hear of some sort of crime or violation. Within College sports is where we see the more punishable acts as these punishments usually lead to life altering results instead of a modest fines.

Tressel answering questions at his initial Press Conference

This year’s crime spotlight was on THE Ohio State University and their star players selling their personal items. Over time the focus left star players including star Quarterback Terrelle Pryor, and focused on Head Coach Jim Tressel. It was said he knew about the entire situation and even received e-mails about the situation. All else aside the biggest thing is that Tressel lied about this when being questioned by the NCAA. Lying to the NCAA…. Where have we heard this before? Dez Bryant, lied to the NCAA and lost his promising senior season. Chris Webber the top recruit for the University of Michigan lied to the NCAA about taking money  from an outside booster and is not allowed to return to the University of Michigan campus until 2013 .

Dez Bryant had his promising college career cut short after not releasing information about interacting with Deion Sanders

In addition to this the two “Final Four” banners he helped earn have been taken down from Crisler Arena. Both of these examples are student-athletes, not coaches. It is my understanding, or at least my belief, that Coaches, specifically Head Coaches should be held to a higher standard than the athletes they recruit, coach, or other wise teach. Shouldn’t every coach who is guilty lying to the NCAA be punished at least to the extent players in the past have? In the two examples I gave in Dez Bryant and Chris Webber, both players were punished to very harshly.

Dez Bryant was Oklahoma St leading Wide Receiver as well as a Heisman Candidate. He was forced to leave for the NFL early instead of potentially leading his team to a great season and potentially a Heismn trophy. Chris Webber and the legendary “Fab Five” weere and still are trend setters in the game of basketball, let alone their talent on the court. Yet, when you walk into Crisler Arena on the University of Michigan campus you don’t see the two banners from their two Final Four appearances, one being the heart breaking lost to North Carolina.

The Fab Five is one of the most well known starting five in the history of College Basketball. Yet, the University of Michigan has vacated all wins and other achievements accomplished by this team. Including the back to back Final Four appearances.

Tressel is guilty of the same crime, but will only miss five games, not even practices. One could make the argument that missing a game is not very relevant. Tressel will be at practice preparing his team all week and will only be missed when the team calls plays. Which I’m certain Offensive Coordinator Jim Bollman can handle for five games. In addition to this the only threatening opponents in their first five games is Nebraska, Miami (Fl), and Michigan St possibly. One should ask the question how much of an impact will this have on the Ohio State football teams current season and future seasons? Oklahoma St season was definitely altered when they lost their star Wide Receiver.  The University of Michigan lost their Head Coach in Steve Fisher, which as  result harms recruiting. Can anyone honestly say that losing Tressel for five games will harm the Buckeyes current season let alone future seasons? I think not!

CBA Negotiations Conveniently Starting Right Before the Super Bowl?

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

For nearly one year now every professional football fan has held their breath thinking of the possibility of not having a 2011 NFL Season. Within the last few months I know I’ve personally been concerned as every website, blog, interview and hobo on the street has said there has been very little progress, if any,on the situation. If you let executives tell it we were months away from watching the weather and local news on Sunday afternoons instead of our favorite team.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Fortunately within the last few weeks progress seems to be made. Yesterday it was announced that the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Executive Director of the NFL Players Union DeMaurice Smith will meet to discuss the CBA.

DeMaurice Smith Head of the NFL Players Union

It was also announced that this will be the first of several meetings over the next few weeks. Some of the key issues to be discussed would be the extension of the regular season from 16 to 18 games, rookie wages, and player retirement support. For  many this was a sigh of relief. As I’m sure after the Super Bowl with no season to look forward to many fans were beginning to look for other outlets to fill the huge whole the NFL could have potentially left. Now that CBA talk has been planned to begin the fans of the other 30 NFL teams can begin to look forward to their off-season. This potentially coming months after the Super Bowl, how convenient , right? After hearing this and thinking about it I believe it’s to convenient. “But why would they do that?” You may ask. Well personally I believe it was to keep rating consistent with the past years. Rating scores for the 2010 Super Bowl Top Five commercials were lower than 2009, in turn were lower than the 2008 ratings. As a result prices for the 30 second spots during the Super Bowl have declined over the years.  In 2010 30 second ads were selling for $2.5 Million to$2.8 Million, compared to an average $3 Million in the 2009 Super Bowl. While still very expensive, this is not a trend the NFL would like to tolerate. CBS believes under hard economic times companies are only looking to advertise during the Super Bowl if they plan to introduce a new brand or maybe a new company.

The Betty White Snickers commercial ranked 2nd in the 2010 Super Bowl Commercial Ratings, but barely made the Top 10 compared to the 2009 commercial ratings and even lower for the 2008 ratings

So I believe the NFL intentionally postponed the negotiation of the CBA to attract more viewers to the Super Bowl as many would believe it could potentially be the last NFL game for over a year. Within these viewers would be directors of advertising and marketing of successful company’s. They would believe just like the average viewer that this would potentially be the last NFL game for sometime and jump at the opportunity. As a result competition and prices for the ad spots would increase. “But wouldn’t this cost the NFL for delaying the negotiation?” Doing this will cost the NFL nothing with the current CBA expiring on March 3rd. For the average NFL fan what I believe is the CBA is closer along then many believe. I believe in the next month we will see progress start to roll. At the end of the day, no one wants to be out of the job come March and at home mowing the lawn on Sunday afternoon.

Pro Bowl Weekend Great for Media and Viewers Attention

January 28, 2011 1 comment

The NFL Pro Bowl will be hosted the week before the Super Bowl to increase viewers.

This year the NFL continued its rearrangement of the NFL post-season games. This year the NFL Pro-Bowl will be held on January 30th, one week before the NFL Super Bowl. This was experiment to increase media attention and television viewers. It was thought to believe the Pro Bowl would be a great way to ease into the Super Bowl while increasing the number of viewers. I believe this experiment will see results, but I do not believe it will see significant results. The NFL is going from a two-week break until the Super Bowl to the Pro-Bowl being hosted, but is this the right way to approach this problem?

The NBA All-Star Weekend is held every February with several events over the three days.

Every American professional sport league host some sort of All-Star game. The NBA has All-Star Weekend, the NHL has their All-Star game, and the MLB has an All-Star Weekend. All of these All-Star events are very successful, in the way that many people look forward to them. So the question is what is the difference between these All-Star events and the NFL Pro-Bowl? One, outside of the NFL all other professional events are held during their regular season.

The MLB All-Star Weekend includes several events outside the game itself

The NBA will be hosting their All-Star Weekend the weekend of February 18th-20th, the NHL All-Star game is Friday January 28th. Fans get to take a break from cheering on their favorite team to the post season to watch some of the best athletes in their respected sport compete with and against each other. Second, and more importantly I believe the reason the NFL doesn’t have the same success as other american sports is because of the several other events other sport leagues host. MLB, NHL and NBA host All-Star Weekends, not just games.

The NBA Dunk Contest is key event during the NBA All-Star Weekend

In addition to games each league host some sort of competitive  skill competition, all but the NFL. All other leagues host weekend long events with several forms of entertainment.  To increase the success of the NFL Pro-Bowl, the NFL must offer more forms of entertainment.

Just like other leagues, the NFL could host a skills competition. There could be three competition, Arm’s competitions to see which Quarterback could throw the furthest and most accurate,

A obstacle course could be a great competition for skilled players

a Obstacle course for where backs could compete to see who was the most agile, and a Hands Competition where receivers could see who had the best hands. There is currently a similar event hosted for professional bound college football players. The college event has been successful and only proves that a professional event could be just as successful. This event could be hosted on the day before the Pro-Bowl to provide a post-season event filled weekend. Fans are always interested in who has the best skills in any sport. By providing more events during the All-Star weekend the NFL could increase ratings and media attention. If the NFL took this route they would need to keep the Pro-Bowl Weekend before the Super Bowl. Doing this would not take away from the Super Bowl, nor would the Pro Bowl risk losing viewers. For the NFL it is simple, to get more viewers, you must offer more to them.

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