NFL owners responded favorably to LA stadium plans presented by Stan Kroenke, the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, indicating that a return of the league to Los Angeles is inevitable.
Los Angeles has been without NFL football since 1995, when the Rams and Raiders both departed, but we could see a return as soon as 2016 if stadium plans proceed and owners agree to moves. Today’s NFL meetings in Phoenix includes presentations from Stan Kroenke on his plans for a new Inglewood stadium at Hollywood Park — an $1.86-million project that could conceivably open for the 2019 season — and the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are pitching a $1.75-billion stadium in Carson. Now, we won’t see all three teams end up in Los Angeles, and nothing will happen until new-stadium efforts play out one way or another in San Diego, St. Louis and Oakland. In fact, reps from St. Louis were on hand to discuss their plans for a new downtown waterfront stadium.
But the fact that there are two serious stadium efforts underway controlled by NFL owners is a clear sign to other owners that Los Angeles could happen sooner or later. From the Orange County Register:
“I heard a lot today that moved the needle for L.A.,” Giants chairman Steve Tisch, an Academy Award-winning film producer. “I heard that they’re moving and the timeline is fast. The Raider/Charger situation is very well organized and the (Inglewood) situation is very well organized, meaning design, securing entitlements.
“Both scenarios are moving very quickly. I’ve lived in L.A. since 1971. They’re hasn’t been a team in L.A. in 20 years. So in the 20 years when there’s been no team playing in Los Angeles (and) in the 14 years I’ve been involved with the Giants, I’ve never seen this much activity and focus and energy as today.”
Still, no team has actually committed to Los Angeles. It’s turning into a very orderly process: even though Kroenke has been working on a Hollywood Park project, he’s not been lobbying for a move of the Rams, per ESPN:
“I haven’t talked to Stan,” said Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay. “He has not approached me. I don’t know if he’s talked in depth with the commissioner or other owners. It’s still like I said a wait-and-see thing. I know people are looking forward to hearing some concrete things about L.A. since it’s been 20 years since we’ve been there. But it still isn’t anything that I believe, at this meeting, is going to be a significant announcement.”