UPDATE: The AP reports that Charles Schumer has been reassured the Bills have no intention to move.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer has been reassured by Bills owner Ralph Wilson that he has no intention of entertaining offers to relocate the team to Los Angeles.
The New York Democrat said Wilson told him by phone that he's had no contact with a real estate firm seeking to lure a team to L.A. Even if contacted, Wilson would have "absolutely no consideration of entertaining" any offers, Schumer said.
(Original AP Story)
LOS ANGELES The company behind a plan to lure the NFL back to Los Angeles said Tuesday the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills are the first teams it will try to relocate.
Majestic Realty Co. managing partner John Semcken said the company is still considering at least seven franchises for a new stadium some 25 miles east of Los Angeles.
They also include the San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders.
But he said the Jaguars and the Bills are at the top of the list because they play in small markets that tamp down their earning potential and because they have little hope of building larger venues in their home regions.
"Jacksonville and Buffalo are two teams in very, very small markets, he said. "They are teams that have either outdated stadiums or are having trouble filling their stadiums or both."
The Jaguars have struggled for years to fill Jacksonville Municipal Stadium and had several games blacked out on local TV this season. The Bills, meanwhile, have been playing some home games in Toronto in an effort to expand their market.
Messages were left seeking comment from the Jaguars and Bills.
Jaguars majority owner Wayne Weaver and Bills owner Ralph Wilson have steadfastly dismissed any suggestion they will sell or move their teams.
Semcken said Majestic won't approach the 49ers, Chargers or Vikings as long as they are seeking stadium plans of their own. He said it would not be fair to interfere with their efforts to remain in their home markets.
Semcken also said Majestic chief executive Ed Roski's preference is to find owners willing to sell their franchise to a consortium of investors that he would lead, rather than buying a minority stake in a team that would move with its existing majority owner at the helm.
Which NFL team would you like to see come to LA?
Talk of the Bills relocating is nothing new, last year Forbes magazine ranked them third in their list of 10 Sports Franchises Most Likely To Move. However, recent signs point to Toronto as the most likely destination. The NFL would like to expand into international markets, and the Bills have already agreed to host some games in Toronto over the next several seasons.
Earlier this year, the LA Times reported that the Chargers are "better positioned to move than any other NFL team". Continuing troubles coming to terms for a new stadium in San Diego, in conjunction with a deal signed with Wasserman Media Group to market the team in Los Angeles and Orange counties, just might be preliminary signs of an impending move up the 5.
Since the teams inception in 1995, they have struggled in their small market to sell out home games, having barely broken even. Owner Wayne Weaver has pledged not to sell the team to a party with an interest in moving, but the feasibility of finding such a buyer seems increasingly slim.
Candlestick Park is currently the oldest stadium in the NFL. An inability to come to terms for a new stadium with San Francisco has made it clear that a move is imminent. Signs point to Santa Clara, 40 miles outside of San Francisco, as the most likely site for a new stadium.
The future of the Rams has been a question since the death of owner Georgia Frontiere, with the team having been put up for sale earlier this year. The combination of a struggling team, aging stadium, and small market might make a move to Los Angeles irresistible for any potential buyer.
The Raiders were a much more likely candidate until Mid-November, when they extended their stadium lease in Oakland through 2013. But with Al Davis, you can't rule anything out.
Does the addition of Brett Favre give them new lease on life in Minnesota?