Jaguars to L.A.: Hail Mary?

Jennifer Collins Dec 14, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: National Football League owners today will vote on the sale of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Businessman Shahid Khan is all but certain to get that team for around $760 million.

Now as Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins reports, there may have been some unspoken influence on the deal from clear across the country.

Jennifer Collins: That influence came from Los Angeles. The city gave the go-ahead for developer AEG to create plans for a new stadium. Now it’s looking for a football team to play in it.

Rodney Paul is a sports finance professor at Syracuse University.

Rodney Paul: Given that L.A. is out there, a huge market, huge potential source of profits and revenues, that constantly stays in the mind of potential buyers to these teams.

L.A. has been without a pro football team for more than 15 years. The Vikings, the Chargers, the Raiders and the Rams have all been in talks with AEG’s reps. And L.A. has a lot to offer to whichever team lands here.

Brad Humphreys teaches economics at the University of Alberta in Canada.

Brad Humphreys: This is the first time that there’s been a credible privately financed stadium deal in place. And that’s going to clearly be a big incentive to the league to fill that market.

Humphreys says the NFL will have the final say on the team that moves to L.A. And he says the Jaguars — which can’t fill its stadium — is a good candidate. Rodney Paul says buyer Shahid Khan’s investment could double in value if the team moves to L.A.

Paul: It’s silly to think that would not be in the back of his mind.

Fans are thinking about it too. The Florida Times-Union posted this video on its website from a recent game in Jacksonville.

Fan: We’re happy he’s here, but don’t take our team away.

Khan has said he has no plans to move the team — he’d have to pay a hefty fee to break the team’s lease in Jacksonville.

Fans: Go Jaguars.

But a shiny new billion-dollar stadium in one of the biggest markets in the country could be pretty tempting.

In Los Angeles, I’m Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.