A two-decade NFL-Los Angeles timeline
The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are partnering to build a 68,000-seat stadium in Carson, the latest twist in 20 years of maneuvers to return the NFL to the Los Angeles area.
The news came six weeks after St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Stockbridge Capital Group announced they would construct an 80,000-seat NFL stadium as part of a massive mixed-use development in Inglewood.
With three interested teams and two new stadium plans — in addition to efforts in downtown L.A. and the City of Industry — the league’s return appears closer than ever.
But the two decades that followed the NFL’s departure from the country’s second-largest media market have been filled with ambitious plans and false hope, confident pronouncements and expired deadlines.
Each failure seems to give life to another plan and another round of intrigue, but, so far, no team and no new stadium.
A look at the developments since Christmas Eve 1994, when the Rams and Raiders lost in the final NFL games in the L.A. area:
R.D. Hubbard says “we’re pretty close” and “there are just a few little items to be worked out” for a 65,000-seat stadium at Hollywood Park.
NFL owners approve the Rams’ move to St. Louis.
A news conference is scheduled to announce the Raiders will play in a new stadium at Hollywood Park starting in 1997, but a final agreement isn’t reached. Two weeks later, Raiders owner Al Davis accepts a deal with Oakland.
NFL owners approve the Raiders’ move to Oakland.
Hubbard unveils a scale model of the Hollywood Park stadium, but isn’t able to find a tenant.
Dodgers President Peter O’Malley says a plan to build a football stadium at Chavez Ravine has an “excellent chance” of being picked by the NFL.
The Seattle Seahawks conduct off-season workouts at Rams Park in Anaheim as part of owner Ken Behring’s effort to relocate the franchise to Los Angeles. Behring returns to Seattle after the NFL threatens huge fines.
The NFL awards Los Angeles an expansion franchise contingent on agreement between the city and league on issues that include a stadium site and ownership group.
With no agreement reached in Los Angeles, the NFL awards the expansion team to Houston to create the Texans.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue tours the Carson site in a helicopter. Michael Ovitz, the co-founder of Creative Artists Agency and former Walt Disney Co. president, wanted to build a stadium and shopping mall at the former landfill. He dubbed the project “the Hacienda.”
L.A. Mayor James Hahn says he believes the NFL will return to L.A. within five years.
Anschutz Entertainment Group confirms plans to build a stadium next to Staples Center with hopes of an NFL team returning to L.A. for the 2003 season.
The NFL has cooled on the idea of relocating a team to the Coliseum, even if the venue is renovated. Referring to the then-79-year-old stadium, Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell tells The Times: “Trying to put a new dress on an old hooker is not the way I want to go dancing.”
The Rose Bowl hires John Moag to assemble a financing plan and promote the venue as an NFL option. Moag, a Maryland-based sports investment banker, helps broker the deal that brings the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, where they become the Ravens.
The NFL is offered the option on a parcel of land in Carson to build a stadium as part of an effort to land a team.
NFL owners vote 30-1 with one abstention to continue to explore building a football stadium in L.A. The Raiders vote no because they still claim to own the rights to the L.A. market. The league commits $10 million to conduct feasibility studies on a Carson stadium, money that is never spent.
Preliminary talks start between Coliseum officials and the NFL about constructing a stadium at Exposition Park.
Commissioner Tagliabue says the league hopes to select an L.A. stadium site within the year and have a team in place for the 2008 season.
Tagliabue tells reporters that he wants a franchise in L.A. within the decade.
Tagliabue stands on the steps of L.A. City Hall after a closed-door meeting with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and announces a preliminary agreement has been reached to finally bring a team back.
“It’s the first time we’ve had agreement on term sheets,” the commissioner says, referring to the NFL and the Coliseum. “We’re one step closer, two or three steps closer. Whether it’s 2009, 2010, or 2000-whatever, our goal is to have definitive agreements on all subject matters well before our league meetings in March.”
NFL owners hear a pitch from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and then from groups wanting to bring a franchise to the Coliseum, Rose Bowl and Anaheim.
The L.A. City Council votes to spend $25 million on improvements around the Coliseum in hopes of luring an NFL team. Villaraigosa announces the news while clutching a football and wearing a T-shirt that reads, “Coliseum 2010.”
Pasadena voters reject a proposal to renovate the Rose Bowl to accommodate an NFL team.
Villaraigosa says “the Coliseum is no longer a viable option for the NFL.”
Billionaire developer Ed Roski proposes an NFL stadium in the City of Industry.
The possibility for L.A. to host the 2016 Super Bowl emerges. Instead, the game eventually goes to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
John Semcken, right-hand man to Roski, says seven franchises are competing for two L.A. vacancies, and the market within a couple of years would play host to as many as 25 NFL games a year — 10 per team (exhibition and regular season), playoffs, and Super Bowls.
The L.A. City Council moves to fast-track AEG’s proposed retractable-roof football stadium downtown. “We’ll be bringing a team to L.A.,” AEG President Tim Leiweke says.
AEG and Farmers Insurance announce a $700-million deal for the naming rights to the potential stadium called Farmers Field.
The L.A. City Council approves the proposed AEG stadium project 12-0.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchases 60 acres in Inglewood for about $100 million through a holding company.
Dodger Stadium emerges as a possible temporary venue for an NFL franchise relocating to L.A.
A survey commissioned by the NFL asks 2,000 L.A residents for feedback about the league returning.
The L.A. City Council extends AEG’s deadline by six months to attract an NFL team for the proposed Farmers Field.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said it’s “highly likely” an NFL team relocates to L.A. within the next year.
The Chargers, perpetually rumored as a relocation possibility for L.A., announce plans to play the 2015 season in San Diego.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke announces plans to team with Stockbridge Capital Group on an 80,000-seat NFL stadium as part of a development project in Inglewood, around the old Hollywood Park.
The NFL’s Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities, consisting of six team owners, becomes public.
Supporters of the Hollywood Park stadium plan collect enough signatures for a ballot initiative backing the project. Inglewood’s City Council could also bypass an election and approve the plan at a meeting Tuesday.
The Chargers and Raiders announce that they’ve partnered to build a 68,000-seat stadium to house both teams next to the 405 Freeway in Carson.
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