Tentative plans for a new Los Angeles football stadium located between Hollywood Park and the Forum were presented to NFL owners for the first time Tuesday, but with a twist.
Raider owner Al Davis told them they must approve the idea within 10 days or the stadium cannot be built.
Owners winced, but, with the prospects of losing a Los Angeles team increasing every hour, they seemed eager to embrace the report. They said it will be discussed again today, and could be voted upon by the league's May meetings.
"We'd love to help him out, we like what we've seen, we just need to see a little more," said Bud Adams, owner of the Houston Oilers and chairman of the league's finance committee.
Owners were also given the impression from Davis that he will try to move his team from the Coliseum to Anaheim Stadium this season and remain there until the new stadium opens in 1997.
"If the Rams go, I would not be surprised to see Al move down there," Adams said.
Davis said he hasn't decided on next year's site.
The Rams took another step toward officially relocating to St. Louis late Tuesday during meetings with the league's lawyers in an attempt to reach a financial compromise that would meet owners' approval.
The league is expected to ask the Rams for about $25 million in relocation fees, with the Rams expected to counter at about half that. The Rams would also like to spread the fee over 30 years, but owners say they would like it in four years.
"I'm hopeful that we will have a vote (today)," Ram President John Shaw said.
Adams promised that the issue "would be decided by noon Thursday. We will not leave here without a vote."
The Los Angeles stadium report, which also has not been fully accepted by Davis, called for the building of a 68,000-seat stadium that could be increased to 84,000 seats for a Super Bowl.
The $200-million facility would be privately financed by NationsBank in North Carolina, the bank that also services the NFL. It would be leased from land owned by Hollywood Park.
The league becomes involved because representatives from Hollywood Park and the Raiders feel it is not possible to pay for the stadium without the funds generated from at least two Super Bowls to be played there during a five-year period after 1997.
The owners must vote to approve the placement of those Super Bowls, but that is not considered a problem because many feel there will be two Super Bowls in Los Angeles in the next decade anyway.
"A lot of guys are thinking, this is a great deal," one club official said.
The Raiders also want to be allowed to help pay off the debt by selling permanent seat licenses--the right to buy a season ticket-- after the stadium is complete.
Usually PSLs are sold to help build stadiums, but the Raiders believe that Los Angeles-area fans will be more willing to buy them once they see the facility.
Because PSL money would not be for construction, the league must allow the Raiders to have those funds without placing them into the revenue-sharing pool.
Owners also have a problem with Davis receiving all the money from the proposed 100 luxury suites that will rent for up to $100,000 apiece.
League owners generally receive all luxury box income, but because the league is already being asked for promises here, owners consider this is a different case.
"I like the idea, but I need to see more," Davis said after the 90-minute meeting. "The other owners seemed responsive, but there are some more facts that need to be out there."
R.D. Hubbard, CEO of Hollywood Park and essentially the proposed stadium's landlord, also seemed encouraged.
"We're glad they're talking about it," he said. "If they come up with what we've agreed to, it will happen."
It is believed that Hubbard feels three Super Bowls are needed to pay for the stadium. It is also believed he feels that an agreement must be reached in March for the stadium to be completed by 1997.
Some owners objected to the location of a stadium near a card club, and on land owned by a company that involves gambling, but neither issue is considered an important factor.