In a city that seems to have everything, it’s incredible to think Los Angeles has been lacking a National Football League franchise for the past 15 years.
Ever since the Rams and Raiders left the City of Angels in 1995, countless groups have attempted to lure back America’s most popular (and most profitable) pro sports league. Rumors swirled last week that Magic Johnson, who recently freed up about $100 million in cash, could be part of another such group.
Despite the Johnson buzz and serious options on the table from a pair of groups, there’s no guarantee L.A. will be able to add a pro football team to its impressive travel brochures in the near future due to a potential work stoppage looming in the NFL and the tough economy.
“The league cannot come back into this market and fail,” said David Carter, a sports business professor at USC who has served as a consultant for a number of parties interested in bringing a team to L.A.
After unloading his stakes in the Los Angeles Lakers and Starbucks, Johnson churned the rumor mill by telling the Los Angeles Times he would “of course” be interested in bringing a football team to L.A.
But there’s little evidence that Johnson has had talks with billionaire real-estate mogul Ed Roski, the front-runner to land an NFL team in the area. Besides, Johnson wouldn’t have had to liquidate his assets until a potential deal closed.
In any case, the buzz underscores the level of interest in returning a team to the West Coast’s biggest city.