A decision about the future of the NFL in Los Angeles probably won’t happen until January 2016, as owners are drawing lines in the sand regarding new stadiums and the teams that will be allowed to be moved.
It’s been fascinating watching all the twists and turns regarding an NFL LA decision: developments that were regarded as sure deals are now falling to the wayside. Basically, we’re down to two stadium plans and three teams eyeing the market:
- St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans on breaking ground on a new Inglewood stadium in December, before the NFL makes a decision on the market. Kroenke’s plan calls for a redevelopment of the Hollywood Park site built around the new stadium. He’s also proposing a move of his Rams back to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Missouri officials are working on funding for a new St. Louis stadium.
- The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are still pursuing a new Carson stadium (shown in the renderings on this page), but both San Diego and Oakland are still pitching new stadiums in an attempt to retain the teams.
Now, it’s not likely that an NFL LA decision will allow for three teams in the market, especially with new stadium plans still alive for three of the teams. And there’s also the terms of the NFL relocation policy, which stresses the need to allow a market to retain a team with a new facility while causing the least amount of disruption to a fan base.
That’s why NFL insider say the relocation committee led by Panthers owner Jerry Richardson could allow the San Diego Chargers to move up the freeway, but that’s not a sure deal: other reports have owners split between the Chargers and the Rams in terms of relocation. Kroenke will have some supporters who admire his willingness to build his own facility, but a two-team facility in Carson may be more appealing. From the Los Angeles Times:
What the NFL doesn’t want is for this process to come down to a vote that pits the two projects, which would mean that one or two of the owners would emerge from that room as a loser and have to return to a market he has tried to leave.
The league is looking for a managed outcome, probably a grand bargain among the teams involved, and then to put that solution to a vote that would garner support from at least the requisite 24 of 32 owners.
There is a possibility the league could push the pause button on the process — an outcome people in L.A. know well — but both NFL executives and owners on the six-member Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities say it is more likely that they are going to move forward and finally make a decision on relocation.
You also have a situation where the owners of two teams — the Chargers and the Rams — are not participating in new-stadium talks in their current home cities, leading mayors and elected officials to directly lobby members of the NFL relocation committee. From KUSI:
Mayor Kevin Faulconer, County Supervisor Ron Roberts and Stadium Consultant Chris Melvin traveled to three states last week for meetings with NFL owners to make the case for keeping the Chargers in San Diego.
They met with Giants owner John Mara in New York, Patriots Owner Robert Kraft in Massachusetts, and Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson in Charlotte…
When the Chargers broke off negotiations in June, the city began negotiations with individual members of the L.A. Committee, which will carry great weight on any decision about whether teams can move.