Are team owners with NFL stadium plans just flirting with L.A.?

Reviews of the various plans for an NFL stadium in L.A. are intriguing, but call for skepticism

So now the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders want to share a new 68,000-seat football stadium in Carson. St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke already is moving on plans to build an 80,000-seat stadium and multi-use complex at the former Hollywood Park site in Inglewood. AEG's proposal for Farmers Field in downtown and Ed Roski's plan for a stadium in the City of Industry are still in the works as well. It's nice to have all these possible National Football League suitors, we guess. But will any of them commit?

All three teams have called Los Angeles home and have a local fan base, so there is some logic to their thinking. But all three teams also left L.A. for greener gridirons (the Chargers after their inaugural 1960 season), and are now negotiating for new or improved stadiums in their current cities.

Are the team owners just flirting with L.A. to make their own cities jealous? Are they hoping to squeeze concessions out of their hometowns by threatening to move?

Hard to say. It remains an anomaly that for the last 20 years the nation's second largest city and media market, which supports two teams each in basketball, baseball and hockey, has had no professional football team. But skepticism is called for. Especially when you remember that any move must be approved by a three-fourths majority of NFL team owners.

Local officials should take these proposals seriously without becoming desperate or giving away the store. The two newest proposals came six weeks apart, and they have created a sense of urgency. But if the overtures are sincere, they won't disappear because local officials live up to their responsibility to balance the interests of neighborhoods against developers and football franchises. Yes, these projects can create jobs and economic development, but they also come with costs that need to be studied.

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