Thursday, April 14, 2016


Just thinking out loud about expansion...

It's not very clever of me to think I know better than executives at a company that basically just prints money for itself. Somebody knows something there.

OTOH, they kept kicking the concussion thing farther down the road, when anyone who had their data and looked around at American society could guess that they weren't going to easily fix this, easily outrun this, or easily keep it secret.  Perhaps it's something like the housing and mortgage bubbles - the big fish all think they are going to cash out in time.

Plus, come to think of it, they still haven't figured out how they are going to navigate suspensions for on-field versus off-field behavior.  And don't get me started on the Ideal Gas Law.

Still, they are making all that money.  So when they say they want to put a team in London to break into the international market, maybe they are onto something despite it being a logistical mess. I can see why they don't like the impression, the "optics" as we say now, that a team in Las Vegas would present, but really, most fans won't care in the least.  Los Angeles now has a team again, but it could probably carry two. Texas is crazy and could support at least one more team.

My thought is...Mexico City is better than all those choices.  Time zone travel is a lot better, it has 20 million people, with way more Americans than any other foreign city, plus an upper class of its own that will sign on.  In fact, you put in two teams, one marketed to the working stiff and one to social climbers, which I believe is standard practice throughout Latin America and pays off handsomely. Actually, that works many places in the world, including New York and San Fran/Oakland.

As for London, don't you pair that with another European city to bring it on line - someplace in Germany where there are lots of American servicemen and businessmen? Less jet lag, natural rivalry.  Just adding a team in London seems a bit nuts.


Christopher B said...

Is logistics really an issue? Every team flies everywhere anyway (I saw tarmac photos of the Minnesota Vikings heading to Green Bay posted in their FB feed last year). East to West coast is already +/- 3 hours, London is +/-5 to the US East coast. Worse but with some creative sleep and game scheduling it is probably tolerable.

I pretty much agree with you on the US expansion. I'd consider Oklahoma (North Texas along with Nebraska) and maybe Mobile as well? SEC Country seems pretty football crazy. Vegas is probably out not only for general optics but concerns about ownership connections to the casinos.

I don't see Mexico as viable mostly for financial and legal reasons, as well as social. It's somewhat interesting to note that baseball successfully migrated north and hockey south (way south!) but American football seems fairly parochial.

Baseball has been pushing geographic rivalries for years with inter-league games but they seem to flop unless you also go up market/down market (ChiSox vs Cubs, or NY vs Boston). I'm wondering if the plan is for London to be mostly an exhibition/preseason site, sort of like University of Hawaii for college ball. The post-season balancing seems a bit tricky. I could see adding one team each to NFC and AFC as 'floaters' who would be eligible for wild card slots but not belong to a division.

james said...

Is the home-team advantage bigger when the visitor is from >=2 time zones away?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yes, and West to East is a worse disadvantage. Good pickup.

herfsi said...

the NFL is a nonprofit organization - how can it be about the money? :)
maybe 2 teams spread out between OK, TX, AR, MS, AL will cover it.
or, maybe there's more $ to be had in having >1 team per city.
that decision is above my pay grade - it's for a "nonprofit" to decide:)
maybe they should try Montreal or Toronto, like baseball did.

RM said...

AVI, the NFL, like any corporation (of which I'm part) will ignore problems for as long as they can as long as the money is flowing. I've seen this time and time again. Why acknowledge a problem which may 'hurt' us, when it isn't hurting us now? I like to point out (privately in conversation) that acknowledging and addressing these issues won't hurt us, and will prepare us effectively to deal with them at some future date, while making us look sincere and involved.

Corporations don't like to look sincere and involved, for a single reason. They aren't people. They are a group of people who, individually, are looking out for themselves under the cover of the name of a 'corporation' which acts like a sentient being.

I'm all for corporations. They make perfect and logical economic sense. But trying to assign them moral codes is a difficult problem. My own firm tries to assign, and impose, many moral codes on its employees. Some are good, most are stupid, almost all are frequently ignored privately. But allows the corporation to maintain an outward appearance of 'caring'.

As for the NFL's decision to expand - consider the point that it DID expand into Europe many years ago, with mixed success. It was a money losing 'failure' but the league did cultivate and develop plenty of unknown and otherwise overlooked talent. It also created a framework for future expansion.

The NFL is too big at the moment. It needs to clean its own house before it can expand effectively in the US. But it can expand elsewhere and distract attention from its current mess at home. Remember, if you can escape to the vacation home, you tend to be able to ignore the mess you left at home.