Good News for Jacksonville Fans

There were two news headlines last week that could make for phenomenal news for the Jaguars and their future in Jacksonville. The San Diego Chargers rejected a $1 billion dollar venue presented by a developer named Perry Dealy, and also this past week, the St. Louis Dispatch is reporting that the St. Louis Rams are up for sale, and there will be no requirement to keep the Rams in St. Louis.

Both of these headlines present great news for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have long been linked to a move to Los Angeles due to struggling ticket sales and fan support.

Per the Associated Press, Chargers attorney Mark Fabiani sent a letter to Perry Dealy, the developer presenting the new stadium proposal to the Chargers, rejecting the stadium plan. Fabiani claims the project would be too big for the Mission Valley area. Fabiani claims that since 2002 the San Diego Chargers have needed a new stadium to stay financially competitive with other NFL franchises. Dealy's proposal, called The River Park, would not only include a stadium, but a 3.76 million square feet complex consisting of 11 buildings, a 16-story hotel, 500,000 square feet of retail space, a 14,000 space parking lot, a 16-story hotel, and nearly 6,000 residential sites. Not to mention the proposed stadium would seat 70,000 people, which is bigger than most teams are willing to build in the current economy. The kicker in the rejection of this proposal is that the San Diego Chargers can opt out of their lease with Qualcomm Stadium in 2011 for a mere $26 million dollars, which could be recouped with relative ease if the Chargers were to relocate to Los Angeles. While the Chargers have made it known they would prefer to build in Chula Vista, there are issues stalling the project and move across the bay for Los Angeles wouldn't be very damaging to their franchise, either. The majority of their fan base would be relatively close, and they could pull an Anaheim Angels and call the team the Los Angeles Super Chargers of San Diego. It has a nice ring to it.... right? With the Chargers moving literally up the freeway, it wouldn't cause any complications with the alignment of the AFC divisions either.

Recently, news came from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Dispatch that the St. Louis Rams are "officially" for sale. Current owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez have hired Goldman Sachs to assist in the solicitation of potential buyers. Rosenbloom and Rodriguez inherited the St. Louis Rams in early 2008 with the passing of owner Georgia Frontiere. According to the Dispatch, Forbes magazine recently estimated the Rams are worth a measly $929 million dollars. Apparently, there will also be no provisions to keep the Rams in St. Louis, which means an out of town developer could purchase the team and relocate it back to Los Angeles from which the franchise moved from in 1995. Many hoped that minority owner Steve Kroenke, who's recent run-in with WWE's Vince McMahon, could purchase majority share, but the NFL's cross-ownership policy would prohibit it as Kroenke is the owner of the NBA's Denver Nuggets and NHL's Colorado Avalanche. Another caveat in the situation is the Rams current deal with the Edward Jones Dome. The lease requires that the Dome must be "top tier" that ranks in the top eight stadiums out of all 32 NFL teams by 2015, and if that is not the case, the Rams can opt out of the lease after the 2014 season. According to Miklasz, it's nearly impossible for the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission to meet the top-eight standard, and despite the fact that the CVC will have committed nearly $30 million in upgrades, the Edward Jones Dome will still be one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL by the time 2015 comes around. The Rams and the CVC are set to begin negotiations in 2012, which makes perfect sense as to why Rosenbloom and Rodriguez are now announcing the team for sale. If a new owner comes in and would rather move the team to Los Angeles, they would just balk at the CVC's offers and opt out of the lease in 2014 and move to a presumably state of the art facility in Los Angeles. Not to mention a Rams move, like a Chargers move, wouldn't interfere with the current NFL division alignments.

Based on these two stories popping up this past week, and murmurs of the Jacksonville Jaguars having rejected two 5-year stadium name proposals in search of a 10-year deal should have Jacksonville Jaguars fans feeling somewhat secure in the Jaguars immediate future. The truth behind franchise free agency is that NFL franchises tend not to relocate without stadium issues, and that is one issue the Jacksonville Jaguars do not have.

Alfie Crow is a contributor and co-host of the CB Sports Radio show on ESPN AM 1420. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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