In a little over four weeks the National Football League’s 32 owners will gather in New York to discuss, among other things, where things stand on potential relocation to Los Angeles.
In the meantime, plenty of work is being done behind the scenes to make sure the league is ready to roll as soon as a decision is made.
After doing some poking around the last couple of days, here is the latest on what’s going on.
NO MATTER WHAT ST. LOUIS COMES UP WITH, RAMS WILL PUSH FOR L.A. RELOCATION
Missouri leaders are hopeful they’ll have a viable stadium plan in place by the October meetings. And the league remains highly interested in what Missouri and St. Louis ultimately come up with.
Nevertheless, the Rams remain fully committed to relocating to Los Angeles. That doesn’t mean they’ll get their wish, but they are determined to move to Los Angeles no matter what Missouri and St. Louis offers.
CHARGERS STILL FOCUSED ON CARSON, NOT SAN DIEGO
While the NFL is hopeful San Diego leaders will officially present the stadium plan they are pushing in Mission Valley by the October meetings – if not earlier – the Chargers are not interested in attaching themselves to a plan they believe will ultimately fall apart in court or by vote. Having spent time recently with Dean Spanos, his concern about missing out on Los Angeles while he waits out what he considers a doomed San Diego stadium plan is real. In other words, it’s full steam ahead to Carson.
NFL BARELY EVEN RECOGNIZES OAKLAND ANYMORE
While the NFL is hopeful about getting a plan on the table from San Diego and St. Louis, the same can not be said about Oakland. From the Raiders and NFL perspective, there is simply nothing viable going on in the Bay Area. With Oakland fading, the Raiders are determined to join the Chargers in Carson.
LEAGUE IS CONFIDENT ABOUT FINDING TEMPORARY L.A. HOMES
Obviously if the NFL approves one or two teams for Los Angeles relocation, they will need temporary homes until either the Carson or Inglewood stadium is built.
Thus far, only the Coliseum has stepped forward and agreed to work with the NFL as a potential temporary site. Meanwhile, the Rose Bowl and StubHub Center have both declined involvement and there is concern from Dodger and Angel Stadiums about scheduling conflicts.
Nevertheless, the NFL remains confident a solution will be found in time to house two teams, if necessary, beginning in 2016. And don’t be surprised if either the Rose Bowl and StubHub Center – or the two baseball stadiums – jump back in the picture as soon as the team or teams moving to L.A. are identified.
Obviously if the Chargers and Raiders get the nod to Los Angeles, one of them will have to move out of the AFC West division. It seems illogical to have teams in the same division sharing a stadium and playing each other twice each season. And while I’ve been told some clubs have made their strong viewpoints known on realignment, it’s still premature at the moment. In fact, even if realignment is necessary, it probably won’t happen in time for the 2016 season.
EXPECT AN ANNOUNCEMENT ON TOWN HALL MEETINGS
Per the NFL’s relocation process, a series of town hall meetings will take place in Oakland. San Diego and St. Louis to give local fans a chance to be heard. I’m told the NFL is closing in on identifying and announcing the dates and sites of those meetings.
LOS ANGELES TICKET PRIORITY LIST
The NFL is contemplating setting up a Los Angeles ticket priority list – or wait list – for the 2016 seasons. The problem, of course, is how to go about doing it while still unsure what team or teams will be entering the market next season. The league is also unsure whether to ask for deposits. Bottom line, don’t be surprised if news on that front pops fairly soon. It will be fascinating to see how many L.A. fans sign up, especially if they don’t know who the team is and where they’ll play.
STILL NFL HOPE FOR SAN DIEGO AND ST. LOUIS
For varying reasons, San Diego and St. Louis might lose their current teams within the next few months. But I’m told that will not shut the door on either eventually emerging as an NFL city.
Even if the Rams decline the Missouri stadium plan local leaders are working toward and they are approved for Los Angeles relocation, it seems likely a team in need of a stadium will immediately turn their attention to St. Louis. I have been told emphatically that will not be the Raiders, but in talking to various sources, the Jacksonville Jaguars continue to be mentioned.
And if the Chargers relocate to Los Angeles, San Diego immediately becomes the most coveted open market out there. In fact, a league source told me not to be surprised if San Diego soon begins courting another team. Depending how the dominoes fall, don’t be surprised if it’s the Raiders.