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L.A.? Coates says the league may want it for extortion purposes. "It is nice to have a big-market option to use as part of a threat," he says. The league does not want to add an expansion team until 2010, says Fort. At that point, 32 owners could split the $600 million L.A. expansion fee -- "a nice bonus," he says.

Baade was hired several years ago to assess the economic impact of L.A.'s Staples Center, an indoor facility. It's slight. "L.A. understands that pro sports are not a pot of gold," says Baade. He doubts that L.A. governments would offer a subsidy, and Fort doesn't think the National Football League would put up much money, even as badly as it wants a team in the rich L.A. television market. However, late last week the National Football League said it would lend $300 million to the Jets and Giants to underwrite construction of their new, privately financed joint stadium in the Meadowlands.

Los Angeles is competing for the 2016 summer Olympics. It might construct a new facility or renovate the Coliseum and then "use it for a stadium for the NFL, without it being called a subsidy for the NFL," says Baade. However, "in the absence of a subsidy, I don't know a team that would be willing to make the move." Maybe some of the Hollywood billionaires would jump in. Orange County might put public money in; Anaheim's mayor Curt Pringle is a close friend of Chargers owner Alex Spanos. "But I find it hard to believe Orange County is in a position to give much of a subsidy." The league is reportedly willing to pay $50 million for land next to Angel Stadium, but now a developer is offering $150 million for rights to the property, and some key councilmembers say the team owners have taken too long to decide. Pringle, however, is picking holes in the developer's bid.

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