It's time to add another name to the growing list of NFL team executives who are characterizing the league's return to Los Angeles as inevitable.
Last month, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said it was only a matter of time before an NFL team would be playing in Los Angeles. San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York has taken his assessment a step further, saying he believes there's a chance two teams could be playing in L.A. by 2016.
“I think you’re going to see one — if not two — teams in L.A. next season,” York told SportsBusiness Daily. “The teams will begin construction but also play in a temporary venue, because it’s hard to say, 'Hey, we’re moving to L.A. We’re building a new stadium. But we’re going to stay here for the next two seasons.' That’s a very tough sell."
As for who might be ahead in the race to Los Angeles, York points to the Inglewood stadium project announced in January as having a leg up on the Carson project.
"You’ve got the Inglewood site that is shovel-ready," York said. "It's much further ahead than any other site.... Carson is a viable site, but Inglewood is ahead because you could literally start tomorrow."
St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke unveiled plans to build an 80,000-seat NFL stadium as part of a $1.86-billion privately financed commercial venue on the former site of Hollywood Park in Inglewood. Kroenke hasn't said publicly whether he wants to move the Rams back to the Los Angeles market, where they played from 1946 to 1994.
NFL team owners are scheduled to meet in Chicago in August to discuss the progress of stadium proposals in Oakland, San Diego, St. Louis and NFL hopeful Los Angeles.
During the NFL owners' meetings in San Francisco last month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said there's a good possibility a team could be playing in L.A. soon but was cautious in his evaluation.
"I don't think it's inevitable," Goodell said. "There is certainly momentum."