The competing NFL stadium proposals in Inglewood and Carson have made significant progress in recent months, but that doesn't mean the league is ready to choose one of the projects any time soon.
There will not be a stadium vote at the owners meetings in May, and it probably will be a minimum of six months before the league decides which plan to support.
NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman, the league's point man on L.A., dismissed conjecture that a vote of owners is imminent, saying "that's based on the fact there's been an awful lot of progress made on the two sites in Los Angeles, and it's beginning to be tangible."
"But the fact is we're not planning for a vote in May or any time soon," Grubman said. "We have a process. It's deliberate. There are steps that need to be taken, and I think that's much more likely to be later in this calendar year at the soonest."
St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke has proposed a stadium as part of a larger housing and retail development at Hollywood Park. The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders have joined forces to support a competing plan at Carson. To get the green light from the league, a plan would need the support of 3/4 of the 32 team owners.
At the annual owners meetings in Phoenix last month, Grubman conducted an hourlong presentation to bring owners up to speed on the L.A. situation. The owners will convene again in San Francisco in mid-May, and L.A. again will be one of the topics. Grubman plans to have representatives of the Inglewood and Carson plans make their own general presentations, though the briefings are not expected to be too detailed.
Grubman said the league will not be ready to vote on the proposals until the design and financing plans are complete, and a temporary L.A. venue (such as the Coliseum or Rose Bowl) has been arranged. He said those checklist items could be completed by September, but more likely October or November.
As it stands, the Hollywood Park project is further along than Carson, and has the necessary entitlements to begin construction. The Chargers and Raiders are expected to have identical entitlements from Carson in the coming weeks.
Whereas Kroenke's architects have been working on his project for the better part of a year, the Chargers and Raiders have been collaborating on their combined vision for the last six weeks. The original stadium renderings shown when they announced their proposal in February were produced only by the Chargers, without input from the Raiders.
What's happening with the L.A. proposals is only part of the story. The NFL is simultaneously looking at the current home markets of the Rams, Chargers and Raiders, and what those cities are doing to keep their teams.
"We've been encouraged by what we've seen in St. Louis, and it's too early to tell in San Diego and Oakland," said Grubman, who plans to be in San Diego and Oakland later this month to check progress.
Asked whether the process has moved along quickly to this point, Grubman said: "I wouldn't use the word 'quickly.' I would say that the pace has picked up, but I don't view it as hurried. It's very deliberate. We and the clubs have built momentum, and that momentum seems like it will continue."