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Nola.com comment that makes some good points: Posted by thecavalry on 02/26/09 at 8:29PM Tom...

Nola.com comment that makes some good points: Posted by thecavalry on 02/26/09 at 8:29PM Tom Benson owns the Saints (football club), but he doesn't own the franchise rights (i.e., the right to have an NFL football club to play in your market). The City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana own that are were vested with that property right in 1966 in exchange for the city and state's commitment to build a stadium - which they did. If the Saints move, the NFL OWES New Orleans another NFL football club - or they'll be looking at a $3 billion RICO claim. Think about it - every NFL city in the last 40 years that has LOST an NFL team because of "lousy economics" has gotten another one: Baltimore (Colts/Ravens), St. Louis (Cardinals/Rams), Houston (Oilers/Texans), Oakland (Raiders/Raiders), Cleveland (Browns/Browns). Notice nowadays how franchises are awarded to an Ownership Group - not to individual cities or states. Why? Because when a city or state has the "token" (the franchise right to haven an NFL team play in its city), the NFL's obligations are geograhically fixated. But when the franshise rights vest with an Owner - those rights are portable and can go wherever the franchise-holding Owner chooses to take it. Remember when everyone wanted the Saints to play 2005 in San Antonio and PAul Tagliabue came out and said "you just can't go out and choose to play wherever you want"? Why? Because as an anti-trust attorney and Pete Rozelle's right-hand man at the time the NFL/AFL merger - Tagliabue knew what the League's obligations to New Orleans were. Tom Benson can't go anywhere unless his partners (other team owners) vote to allow him to move under the rules of their partnership. If they vote to let him move, the NFL still owes the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana a football team which they are entitled to under their "franchise rights". Owning a franchise and a football team are two different things. The franchise rights were awarded to New Orleans on November 1, 1966 at teh Pontchartrain Hotel. The "New Orleans Saints Football Club" didn't come into existence until December 1966. I can promise you this - if Benson tries to move the Saints, every attorney in the State is going to get this e-mail in spades and any season ticket holder or citizen of the State will have standing to bring a RICO action or to file an injunction to bar a move. I say stop paying Benson for rights we already have - and DARE him to move. http://blog.nola.com/saintsbeat/2009/02/southern_california_city_appro.html
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