Are the Saints Marching In?
The New Orleans Saints may be on the move, and Los Angeles might be their destination. The Saints, of course, have used LA for leverage in the past, and the franchise might be using us again. But this time, Saints owner Tom Benson has also suggested San Antonio and Albuquerque as possible relocation sites.
LAists thinks that's garbage. If the Saints are moving anywhere, it's to Los Angeles, even if Tom Benson has ties to San Antonio. Name-dropping those other two cities only gives the next NFL team with a lousy stadium situation the opportunity to use other cities as leverage once LA gets a team.
LAist has supported the move of any NFL team here in the past, and we think Tom Benson would be foolish not to take advantage of an escape clause in his lease with the Superdome that opens after the 2005 season. New Orleans has little or no corporate support, and court documents from the Raiders-NFL lawsuit a few years back revealed the Saints were the only NFL team losing money.
Why lose money in New Orleans when you can play in an NFL-paid-for football stadium in the nation's second-largest market? It seems like a no-brainer to us.
That said, Benson would need to pay $81 million to leave, and while he'll probably make it all back in LA (the franchise value would certainly go up more than $81 million), owners are known to be cheap over these sorts of short-term costs. It is entirely likely that Benson will remain in New Orleans and hope for a new stadium in Louisiana, or hope the LA football market is still vacant by 2010, when he can leave New Orleans with no penalty.
If however, the Saints do come to Los Angeles as soon as next year, we have one simple request: Change your team's name. The "Los Angeles Saints" sounds awful. What do you think a new LA football team should be called?