Sources close to President Donald J. Trump tell The Chronicle that he has been preparing a sweeping plan to expand the National Football League by eight teams, and has been doing so from the presidential suite of offices at the Walter Reed Military Medical Center as he undergoes treatment for the coronavirus.
While the NFL is a private corporation governed by the owners of the League’s thirty-two separate team franchises. White House political advisors believe that the NFL has been engaging in decades-long collusion to monopolize the football industry and to prevent competition.
If the NFL’s governing board does not comply with the President’s request voluntarily, Trump could direct the Department of Justice to pursue an anti-trust lawsuit against the league, which could end the league’s anti-competitive behavior.
Those who would stand to benefit most from an expansion of the NFL are aspiring team owners and the second-tier media markets that currently lack major league sports. Most of those markets are located in States where President Trump performed well at the ballot box.
White House policy advisors — including, we are told, the economist Peter Navarro — believe there are ‘at least eight’ metropolitan areas in the United States capable of profitably supporting an NFL franchise, where the demographics of the media market would provide an ample fanbase.
Some in the White House believe that the move could amplify the broader economic thematic of “growth-through-decentralization”.
Media markets likely to benefit from NFL expansion include: Omaha, NE; San Antonio, TX; Salt Lake City, UT; Tulsa, OK; Birmingham, AL; and Little Rock, AK. It’s unclear if the Administration will push the League to expand to Democrat-leaning media markets like Portland, OR; Albuquerque, NM; or Richmond, VA.