Q&A: How does Chargers/Raiders stadium plan affect NFL in L.A. issue?
Questions and answers about where we stand now that the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams are all mulling a relocation to the nation’s second-largest market:
Does this mean the Chargers and Raiders are moving to the Los Angeles area?
Not necessarily. Both teams say they are going to be working on dual tracks, trying to get deals done where they are as well. But the plan for a Carson stadium is a big step toward L.A., and it sends a message they are serious about weighing their options.
But what about the Rams at Hollywood Park?
Rams owner Stan Kroenke is plowing ahead with his plans for an 80,000-seat stadium on that site. This won’t deter him. He’s a formidable force as the NFL’s second-richest owner (to Seattle’s Paul Allen), and Kroenke is someone who has a track record of doing what he says he’s going to do. That said, the L.A. decision probably will come down to a vote of NFL owners on which project, if any, is the one to pursue. At the moment, it’s not likely Kroenke will go rogue and move his team without league approval.
Why so much activity now?
This is like a game of musical chairs, with three teams and two chairs. Last month, when Kroenke said he was building a stadium, the music came to a screeching halt. Now, everyone’s sprinting for an empty chair.
Is that a problem for the league?
It sure could be. Two chairs for three teams means somebody’s got to lose, and that team might have to skulk back to a market it left with its tail between its legs. Awkward.
Which of the two projects is further along?
The one at Hollywood Park in Inglewood is, because its backers have already gathered enough signatures for a ballot measure. That’s a big step in the entitlement process. It wouldn’t take the Carson project too long to catch up, though.
What’s this mean for Farmers Field and the City of Industry proposals?
It takes any remaining steam out of both of them. Never say never in this process, but it’s hard to see either of those plans clawing back into the race.
Is there any way the NFL supports the construction of two stadiums, and a total of three teams?
Not a chance. It’s hard enough to build one stadium, let alone two. And three teams would be flooding the engine of a market that previously lost all three of these teams.
Aren’t the Raiders and Chargers mortal enemies?
On the field, yes. But Chargers owner Alex Spanos was friends with the late Al Davis. In the biography “Just Win, Baby: The Al Davis Story,” the eccentric Raiders owner said: “Alex and I always sat close to each other at league meetings. Once I came into the room, and his son, Dean, was there. I said to Alex, ‘You know, you can get [$400 million] for your team now.’ He turned around and went, whack, to Dean’s head. ‘Listen to Al,’ the father said. ‘He knows what he’s talking about.’”
Did Davis have any ties to the Chargers?
He was backfield coach for the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers from 1960-62. Davis was the guy who recommended and then signed Lance Alworth, the future Hall of Fame receiver.
We’ve been down this NFL-in-L.A. road so many times before. Isn’t this another instance of the league creating leverage to sweeten the deals in other cities?
Leverage always comes into play. But this situation is much different, in that it was generated by existing NFL owners, not somebody in L.A. trying to push a stadium concept. Those owners are saying they can’t get it done in their current cities, and they have control of viable stadium sites in the L.A. area. That has never happened before.
So with this situation building to a crescendo, what does it mean for the NFL in L.A.?
It’s going to be awfully hard for the league to punt this time.
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