This in from the NFL Head of Communications, Greg Aiello: the NFL is not considering expansion into LA – it never was.
The messaging error came last year and due to a mistake by the Associated Press, and that comes directly by Aiello. While NFL Comissioner Roger Goodell did talk to Bob Costas last year, and here’s the video…
Commissioner Goodell was speaking about possible scenarios, not what the NFL’s actually doing. That this has been constantly misquoted has been a source of mild anger from Aiello, who said:
He did not say we prefer to expand to LA. He said that in the event we decided to expand to LA (instead of re-locate), he would see a two-team expansion to 34 teams rather than one to 33. And AP screwed up the story. I remember having to deal with it that night. We have not had any discussion about expansion since then (a year ago).
I pointed out that there was no content that stated without a doubt that the NFL was not considering expansion into Los Angeles. Now there is.
Farmers Field financing can’t work without a team that has signed a lease. As of this writing, there’s no existing NFL team that has made serious moves toward leaving its city for Los Angeles. The basic reason for the lack of movement has to do with the current image of management instability over at AEG, the company that’s the main developer of Farmers Field, and that’s up for sale.
The eventual sale of AEG complicates the Farmers Field deal because there’s no guarantee that the current staff of executives will be retained, or replaced with new blood. And with a change at the top could come alterations in corporate strategy that end with a termination of the Farmers Field project. The “could” comes from the naming rights deal with Farmers Field itself, one made under the assumption that a stadium would be built. Farmers Insurance has paid $600 million for that right, the largest in history, and expects to see a return on its investment at some point in the near future.
But as of now, no one really knows what’s going to happen with AEG or Farmers Field. LA government officials have done their part in getting the necessary approvals done, but the AEG sale is a big impediment to future progress and will be not just until its done, but until the management team for AEG is settled and in place after the sale.