NFL execs meet with advocates for Carson, Inglewood stadium projects
Representatives of proposed stadium projects in Carson and Inglewood met with NFL executives Thursday as the competition to return the league to the Los Angeles area continued.
Eric Grubman, an NFL senior vice president who is the league’s point man on the L.A. market, attended both meetings.
Those included a session with officials from the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and the city of Carson that lasted about 40 minutes in downtown L.A.
Carson City Councilman Albert Robles, who will be sworn in as the city’s mayor Tuesday, said Grubman explained the league’s process regarding the rival proposals. The tone of the discussion was positive, he added.
“I enjoyed talking to him,” he said.
Raiders President Marc Badain, who also attended the meeting, gave Robles a silver lapel pin with the team’s logo. The mayor-to-be, who also owns a half-Chargers, half-Raiders jersey, wore the pin on his suit after the meeting.
On Tuesday, Carson’s City Council will take up a ballot initiative to authorize the privately financed, $1.7-billion project. The three-member council could either adopt the initiative, as Inglewood’s City Council did in February for the proposal there, or schedule a public vote. Robles said he wants to see the city’s economic and environmental reports on the project, due Monday, before deciding. But he is open to approving the initiative Tuesday.
Robles expects the competition between the Carson and Inglewood stadium concepts to heat up in the coming weeks and months.
“I think it’s going to get a little more personal,” he said. “They’re in front right now. If Carson moves ahead, I anticipate that they’ll start lobbing claims.”
Earlier Thursday, Grubman met jointly with Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. and representatives of the St. Louis Rams to discuss that proposed $1.86-billion stadium, also privately financed.
Asked what transpired in the meetings, Grubman declined to go into specifics but said, “For me, it was an opportunity to open a line of communication, and an opportunity for them to ask questions about the process.”
Grubman said he wouldn’t ask the public leaders to commit time to meet unless he thought these were “serious initiatives.”
“It’s as important for our process for us to know about the people and the progress at these sites, as it is for us to know about the people and the process in the home markets,” he said.
The six owners who make up the league’s Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities, chaired by Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney, will hear presentations in New York next week from the owners backing the Inglewood and Carson proposals. The committee also will hear a presentation from St. Louis officials pitching a riverfront stadium there.
Grubman said St. Louis is the only home market making a presentation because it is making progress on a specific plan.
“If there are other plans that could get done in a reasonable time frame, we will make arrangements for those to be presented,” he said.
Also on Thursday, Tony Manolatos, spokesman for the San Diego mayor’s stadium task force, reached out to committee members directly by email to keep them apprised of progress there.
“We understand how important the Chargers are to our community,” Manolatos wrote. “The team has been here for 54 years and we want to ensure the San Diego Chargers are a member of the NFL family for at least another 50 years.”
Grubman characterized the entire situation as “very fluid,” both in terms of the home markets and the competing L.A. proposals.
“I’ve told all the home market participants and the two potential L.A. participants that we’re all in the same situation, which is any clarity around one or more of the home markets can change everything for everybody,” he said. “It isn’t easy to work in an environment where so many balls are in the air, but that’s just a fact of the process that we’re in.”
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