LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Los Angeles Saints would seem a natural.
Cardinals would work, too, in the City of Angels.
Bills doesn't fit, and LA Vikings has a ridiculous ring about
it, but then the Los Angeles Lakers kept their name when they moved
After losing to Houston in the bidding for the NFL's expansion
franchise, Los Angeles put out the welcome mat Thursday for any
team owner unhappy in his present city.
The teams in New Orleans, Arizona, Buffalo and Minnesota are
considered possible candidates. Al Davis, who took the Raiders out
of the LA Coliseum and back to Oakland after the 1994 season, has
made noise about returning to Southern California.
Some think there's a good chance Los Angeles will lure an
existing team; others believe the city will remain without pro
football for many more years.
``It's a real possibility, whether the owners would merely be
posturing for their existing communities, or actually be a real
threat to relocate,'' said David Carter, analyst for the Sports
Business Group. ``Either way, it's going to keep the dialogue
``You'll have a bunch of owners jockeying for position in Los
Much or all of that could turn out to be merely using the threat
of moving as leverage to get a better deal in their present cities.
Leigh Steinberg, agent for such NFL quarterbacks as Troy Aikman,
Steve Young, Drew Bledsoe and Jake Plummer, doesn't think Los
Angeles will have a team anytime soon.
``Southern Californians have shown themselves unwilling to
commit public tax funds to a private stadium. Who would build a
stadium for a team?'' said Steinberg, who several years ago was
involved in a failed effort to keep the Rams in Anaheim.
Ed Roski would very much like to help provide the stadium.
Roski, the real estate developer whose group lost out in the
expansion derby, can extend the same $400 million offer, a
remodeled Coliseum, to any interested NFL owner.
Roski spearheaded the new Staples Arena downtown, built with
$375 million of private financing.
John Semcken, an executive with Roski's firm, said an owner who
moved his team to the Coliseum could be expected to make enough
annually -- between $50 million and $70 million -- to rank among the
league's top three or four teams in that regard.
Semcken also said that if a team moves to Los Angeles it could
begin play before the Houston expansion franchise does in three
Mentioning the Rose Bowl as possible for a temporary stadium
while the Coliseum was being remodeled, Semcken said, ``If we can
convince someone to move, we might have a team playing even sooner
Roski probably would want to acquire a minority ownership in a
team that moved to the Coliseum. Carter believes that would be a
wise move, saying LA fans would have trouble accepting a ``used
team'' with an out-of-town owner perceived as a carpetbagger.
``Local ownership will be able to market in Los Angeles,''
Carter said. ``Marketing here is very different from other
Los Angeles Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas said he will continue
working to put a team in the Coliseum.
``What would be in Los Angeles' favor is a competitive team in
the New Coliseum, and that's what we're attempting to do,'' he
If a team wants to move to Los Angeles, it apparently wouldn't
do so with the NFL's blessing.
``Right now, we are in the business of keeping teams where they
are, committing them to their current fan bases and getting
stadiums built in our existing markets,'' NFL commissioner Paul
Tagliabue said earlier this week.