A reshuffling of management at NFL headquarters is an indication of the league’s intensified interest in filling the vacant Los Angeles market.
According to a memo obtained Tuesday by The Times, NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman has been assigned to “stadium development, the return of a team presence to the Los Angeles area, the league’s strategic investment fund, and other key strategic initiatives.”
That represents the first time in more than a decade that such a high-ranking league official has been assigned to the L.A. conundrum, one that began when the Raiders and Rams left the nation’s second-largest market after the 1994 season.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Grubman confirmed the job shift. Asked if L.A. warrants a more sustained focus by the league, he said, “We think it does.”
Several factors have contributed to the league’s heightened interest in the market, among them the fact that the St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have, for the first time simultaneously, year-to-year stadium leases; Rams owner Stan Kroenke has purchased 60 acres of potential stadium land in Inglewood; and the NFL has labor and TV deals that stretch into the horizon.
“The building blocks are there,” Grubman said. “There remain multiple sites available. So the focus is demanded.”
In his previous role, Grubman oversaw business ventures, which included consumer products, and events, among them the Super Bowl and draft.
Also announced in the memo were the enhanced responsibilities of Brian Rolapp, who will take over the league’s consumer products, and the promotion of Chris Halpin to senior vice president of consumer products; the promotion of Mark Waller to executive vice president with his focus exclusively on driving international growth; and the search underway for a new chief marketing officer.
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