PHOENIX – National Football League Comissioner Roger Goodell will deliver his annual State of the NFL address later this morning in Phoenix. Among those listening in attendance will be representatives from all 32 teams, including most of the 32 owners.
Three owners in particular figure heavily into some of what Goodell might touch upon, and Los Angeles is the focal point of that connection.
Stan Kroenke of the St. Louis Rams, Dean Spanos of the San Diego Chargers and Mark Davis of the Oakland Raiders are all embroiled in local fights to build new stadiums. And all three have their eyes on Los Angeles as a potential landing spot should they fail to secure new homes in their current cities.
In fact, Kroenke has already made a major move toward potentially relocating the Rams to the Los Angeles area. Last month he joined forces with Stockbridge Capitol Group to build an 80,000-seat football stadium on the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood. Presumably it’s to be the new home for his Rams – although Kroenke has not commented publicly on his plans and back home in St. Louis local leaders are scrambling to push forward with a new stadium proposal that will hopefully keep the Rams in St. Louis.
Skepticism is rising in Missouri that Kroenke already has his mind made up about moving to Los Angeles, and at this point it’s hard to imagine otherwise considering the bold move he made aligning himself with the Hollywood Park stadium proposal.
In fact, this week a local leader expressed publicly his belief that Kroenke no longer wants to be in St. Louis..
“There’s no question about it, they’d rather be in Los Angeles, in my mind,” said St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission chairman Andrew Leonard.
Leonard added it would take a “spectacular effort” to keep the Rams where they are long-term. The Rams recently opted out of the remainder of their 30-year lease with the Edward Jones Dome, and are now working on a one-year lease with the stadium.
The Chargers and Raiders are in similar lease situations, but only Kroenke seems to have a solid plan in place to call Los Angeles his own.
Needless to say, it’s left quite a few folks in St. Louis a bit skittish.
Maybe some light will be shed on the situation later today. Stay tuned.