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.

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