Architects on stadium projects in Carson and Inglewood are working toward what someday could be the world's finest football stadium. But, two decades after the NFL abandoned the Southland, the league might first return in an aging and historic stadium.
Any team moving to the area will need temporary housing while its new stadium is built. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Rose Bowl are the most likely sites, ahead of Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium.
If two teams move to the area, two temporary venues probably would be needed. Pasadena allows a maximum of 25 events per year at the Rose Bowl, and UCLA's football team already plays there. The Coliseum could handle one NFL team but not two, according to USC Athletic Director Pat Haden.
USC has played football games at the Coliseum since 1923. In September 2013, USC gained control over the publicly owned facility, under a lease in which the university committed to spend as much as $100 million on improvements.
Haden last summer estimated it would be three years before USC breaks ground on major reconstruction of the stadium. He also said he would "love" to have an NFL team play in the Coliseum for a few years and that "it wouldn't be free."
On Friday, Haden reiterated the Coliseum would be amenable to hosting an NFL team, but cautioned that the NFL "has a bunch of hoops" a team would need to jump through before moving.
Haden said he had not been contacted by the Rams, Raiders or Chargers.
"We've seen this picture for years," Haden said. "We don't know what's going to happen other than there's been a flurry of activity by some teams.
"We'll know more in the next six to eight months."
The Rose Bowl, which played host to its first football game in 1923, also would be interested in an NFL team but has not been contacted.
"This isn't a new concept," said Darryl Dunn, general manager of the Rose Bowl Operating Co. "We've identified NFL interim opportunities as something that could potentially occur. We'll just cross that bridge…. It seems like there is a lot of smoke at the moment."
Dunn said there could be no "meaningful discussion" about the Rose Bowl serving as a short-term NFL stadium until the long-term NFL stadium issue is settled.
"Whether it's Carson or Hollywood Park or Farmers Field, that's the deal that has to happen to create the interim opportunity," he said.
In November 2012, the Pasadena City Council adopted an environmental impact report and voted to increase the number of events at the stadium from 12 to 25 each year. In January 2014, the city won a lawsuit that was filed by neighbors of the stadium, but the case is under appeal and is expected to be heard in the next few months, Dunn said.
StubHub Center in Carson, home of the Galaxy soccer team, might be another option if enough temporary seating could be added to an existing frame that holds about 27,000. Spokesman Michael Roth said owner-operator AEG was "assessing the developments of this week" and not prepared to comment.
Dodger Stadium (capacity 56,000) and Angel Stadium (45,000) could serve as temporary NFL homes, although those would not be the preferred sites because each ballpark has fewer seats — many thousands fewer — than the Rose Bowl or Coliseum. The cost would be greater too, because of the need to convert a baseball stadium into a football stadium and back again in August, September and October.
In addition, with the Dodgers and Angels fielding perennial contenders and possibly playing into late October, the NFL could have to overload a team's schedule with late-season home games or risk having to change it because of the baseball playoffs.
The NFL long has considered Dodger Stadium a viable temporary site. Dodgers President Stan Kasten, through a team spokesman, declined to say whether the Dodgers had been contacted about hosting an NFL team and whether they would be interested in doing so.
The Angels manage their city-owned stadium in Anaheim. Angels owner Arte Moreno said he has not been contacted about hosting an NFL team at Angel Stadium and would "probably not" have any interest.
"Those NFL teams, they're like plow horses," Moreno said. "They tear up that turf."
Moreno said he has monitored the stadium developments in Carson and Inglewood and has a pretty good idea of the NFL's preference for a temporary venue.
"We know the people, so we watch what's going on in L.A. pretty good," Moreno said. "What I've been told is, the place they like the best is the Rose Bowl.
"Everybody likes the Rose Bowl."
Times staff writers Mike DiGiovanna and Roger Vincent contributed to this report, DiGiovanna from Tempe, Ariz., and Vincent from Los Angeles.