Rams, Raiders, and Chargers All Officially File for Relocation to Los Angeles
For 20 years, the NFL has used the absence of a franchise in Los Angeles to hoodwink other NFL cities into building taxpayer-funded stadiums. However, it appears the jig is finally up.
On Monday, as expected, the St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers all filed applications for relocation to Los Angeles. Under NFL rules, it was the first day applications could be filed.
The fate of the three teams and their fans now lies with the NFL owners. The 17 members of the NFL’s finance, stadium, and Los Angeles committees will hear extended pitches for the teams’ relocation projects on Wednesday and Thursday in New York. The rest of the owners will then take up the relocation issue at the January 12-13 owners meeting in Houston. Theoretically, Los Angeles could have an NFL team (or two) by the middle of next week. But there’s no guarantee.
The Raiders and Chargers have been trying to get new stadiums built in Oakland and San Diego for a decade. However, Rams owner Stan Kroenke got the ball rolling on the current relocation bids. He began the process of wriggling out of St. Louis two years ago, using a clause in the team’s original 1995 stadium lease to free them up for relocation after 2015. Then, last year, he unveiled a $1.86 billion stadium proposal in Inglewood.
That forced the Chargers’ and Raiders’ hands. So they came up with a joint $1.75 billion stadium proposal in Carson.
“Over 25 percent of our business comes from Riverside County, Orange County, and the Los Angeles County area,” explained Chargers owner Dean Spanos. “Another team or teams going in there would have a huge impact on that. I think that is what really was the catalyst that got this whole thing going because when the Rams decided to make their move there, this was a move to protect our business more than anything, so we find ourselves where we do right now.”
At this point it is believed that neither relocation proposal has the 24 votes required by NFL rules. According to CBS Sports, the Raiders/Chargers plan is supposedly closer, hovering somewhere in the 18- to 20-vote range. But that doesn’t mean they have the advantage. Some owners apparently want just the Chargers to go first, with the Rams joining them later. Seeing as how Kroenke had previously expressed a willingness to team up with another franchise, that’s not out of the realm of possibility.
On the other hand, officials in St. Louis have approved plans for their own $1.1 billion riverfront stadium (with $400 million in taxpayer funding) in hopes of keeping the Rams in St. Louis. So it’s also not out of the realm of possibility that the other NFL owners tell Kroenke to stay put and take the new stadium. After all, that is always the NFL’s goal when it comes to relocating teams—convincing cities to give them free money so they can turn around and make even more money.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]