Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti has seen first-hand how difficult it is for a city to lose a professional sports team.
The Maryland native grew up rooting for the Baltimore Colts, and he was a fan of the team when it moved to Indianapolis in 1984. Bisciotti carried that experience with him as the NFL owners voted Tuesday to move the St. Louis Rams to Los Angeles for the 2016 season.
"I feel for the fans of whoever loses a team," Bisciotti said at last week's season-review press conference before the NFL vote on Los Angeles. "I lived it for 12 years without a team and I feel bad for the other cities that are going to have to experience that."
In addition to the Rams moving to Los Angeles, the San Diego Chargers could also join them for next season or in 2017. The Chargers have a one-year option to decide if they will relocate or stay in San Diego.
The decision to move teams often comes down to stadium deals. The three teams vying to move to Los*Angeles – the Rams, Chargers and Raiders – all wanted new stadiums, and the proposal from Rams Owner Stan Kroenke *to build a $1.86 billion stadium in Inglewood, Calif. was a significant factor in the ownership vote.
"It is a bit of an arms race, and I do feel bad for the cities, but I wish that they would stay in sync with their desire," Bisciotti said. "More teams build stadiums to get back a team than build them for their city to keep the team."
Bisciotti pointed to close-to-home examples of cities building new stadiums after their NFL franchises left town. Cleveland and Baltimore both built new stadiums to get teams back to the city after their original franchises left.
"History has shown that the cities that don't stay competitive from a stadium standpoint lose their teams," Bisciotti said. "History also shows, in places like Baltimore and Cleveland and St. Louis, when you do lose your teams, then you find the money to build a new stadium."