St. Louis suffers setback, potential progress for Raiders in stadium fights

Three days before the NFL opens its annual owners meetings in Phoenix, there are a few Los Angeles related relocation updates coming from St. Louis, San Diego, Oakland and Los Angeles.

And while nothing is expected to dramatically move forward relative to any L.A. relocation when owners and league officials gather in the Valley of the Sun Sunday through Wednesday, you can be sure Los Angeles will be a hot topic of discussion.

Here are the updates, and it’s a mixed bag to be sure:


With the Raiders and Chargers teaming up to build a stadium together in Carson pending developments in their current cities, it looks like the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda are taking notice – and action.

In fact, a deal that looked dead just a few months ago to develop the land where the Raiders currently play in Oakland now looks very much alive.

Oakland’s City Council will vote on Friday on new exclusive negotiating agreement between the city, county and New City Development LLC, the group led by Floyd Kephart pushing the Coliseum City project that includes new stadiums for the Raiders and Oakland Athletics.

Meanwhile, the County of Alameda will vote on the same agreement next Tuesday.

This represents a significant step forward, as the the city of Oakland and county of Alameda jointly own the land but for years have been at odds with each other. The fact they are potentially willing to work with one another could expedite the $1.5 billion, 200-acre stadium aspect of the project.

The sense I get talking to city and county leaders is they are ready to move fast on this.

If the city and county agree on the ENA, Kephart can finally approach the Raiders with assurances the city and county are on board with land use. That doesn’t mean the Raiders are assured of getting their desired 55,000-seat stadium, and at some point Kephart must address financing and reveal his investors, but by next Tuesday a huge obstacle might be cleared.


While the task force assigned by Mayor Kevin Faulconer has settled on the Mission Valley site to examine a new stadium for the Chargers – and seems confident a plan can be put in place by May – there remains deep concern within the Chargers offices relative to the ancillary financing mechanisms likely in place and the lengthy process involved in getting a mixed-use development entitled.

That means Carson is very much in play as a long-range option. Perhaps as soon as January 1, when teams are allowed to file for relocation.

The Chargers simply have no time to wait on a prolonged process getting Mission Valley entitled – with or without the St. Louis Rams involvement in Inglewood.

There is still time – albeit running out – and it will be fascinating to see what the task force presents to the mayor in May.

The sense I get talking to insiders on both sides is San Diego is in quite the pickle getting something done in time to extend the Chargers stay beyond next year. There is hope on the city’s side, but the Chargers are skeptical.


St. Louis’ hopes of keeping the Rams were dealt a significant setback Thursday when the Missouri Senate passed a measure forbidding Gov. Jay Nixon from extending bonds for a new NFL stadium without a vote. The measure now moves to the Missouri House.

Considering Gov. Nixon’s two-man task force recommended that as much as $350 million of the $1 billion needed for a new, open-air stadium come from the bond extension – and the seemingly slim chance Missouri leaders and voters will now support such a bond in a vote – the challenge will be coming up with new financing, should the measure be ratified by the House.

If not, Rams owner Stan Kroenke could essentially walk to Inglewood, where he is proposing a privately financed football stadium on the site of the old Hollywood Park race track.

Live updates from Carson press conference regarding NFL stadium plan

The city of Carson is holding a press conference to describe a stadium plan for two teams – the Raiders and Chargers, at 10 a.m., Friday. Follow live updates here:

The plot thickens: Is Carson the center of the future NFL universe?

Plans to build a stadium in Carson that could be home to both the NFL Chargers and Raiders will be announced Friday by city and NFL officials.

Mayor Jim Dear confirmed that city officials have been in discussions with the NFL for about two years to build a stadium along the 405 Freeway, a site that has at least twice been considered for an National Football League stadium and twice abandoned.

Read the full story here

The Los Angeles Times broke the story Thursday evening. Here’s Sam Farmer’s story.

NFL to Los Angeles – the very latest

By Vincent Bonsignore

Whew, what a crazy weekend in the NFL. And while Los Angeles is still without a team – and it looks like that will be the case at least one more year – the City of Angels certainly dominated the weekend news cycle.

To recap, the St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and NFL have all agreed to shelve plans to relocate to Los Angeles until at least 2016. There are various reasons why it won’t happen sooner, but the primary reason is the NFL is essentially orchestrating this process and it wants to insure a virtual no-fail situation when and if someone finally pulls the trigger on moving to Los Angeles.

And the means the ideal stadium deal – the league could be taking the lead on that process – and the right team or teams re-locating.

Needless to say, it is vital the NFL gets this right. And they are leaving no stone unturned in insuring that.

All that said, here is an up-to-date recap of where we are and what exactly happened this weekend with insight and reactions from across the country.

On Saturday, the Rams, Raiders and Chargers – in conjunction with the NFL – halted any move to Los Angeles for the 2015 season.

The Chargers decided against exercising their annual opt-out clause with their lease at Qualcomm Stadium.

The Raiders will soon re-up at Coliseum for the 2015 season, but local fans remain worried it’s just a one-year delay until the Silver and Black bolt for Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, momentum seems to be building for a suitable stadium deal  that will keep the Rams in St. Louis long term.

Lastly, despite long odds, San Antonio leaders remain confident they are a viable option for the Raiders.

Why NFL putting kibosh on L.A. in 2015 might be good news

By Vincent Bonsignore

We’ll probably never know just how close an NFL team actually came to pulling the trigger on moving to Los Angeles for the 2015 season, but whether you are optimistic or pessimistic that something is truly cooking on the L.A. front one thing can not be ignored: If nothing is cooking, why the big production on the St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and the league office publicly putting the brakes on anyone leaving for the second-biggest market at the end of the current season?

That’s why, if you are hopeful of the NFL returning to Los Angeles soon the very public announcement it won’t be next season should be taken positively rather than negatively.

After all, why the big to-do over something that wasn’t close to happening?

Something is absolutely going on, and based on the information I am getting it’s all pointing to two teams re-locating together in 2016 and eventually sharing a stadium built in conjunction with the NFL and private financiers.

This represents a significant shift in the approach to binging the NFL back, as it would solve the question of who will build and finance the stadium while eliminating one of the major hurdles impeding a team moving to Los Angeles.

There is a reason why AEG’s Farmers Field project hasn’t yet come to fruition: The man footing the bill for the $2 billion stadium – Phil Anschutz – wants to buy a significant part of the team re-locating here in order to help recoup a return on his investment.

That was the obstacle that put the kibosh on the Chargers potentially moving here two years ago. The Bolts want a new stadium, but not at the expense of a major chunk of their team. Dean Spanos told Anschutz thanks but no thanks, and that was that.

Spanos might soon be looking at a very different road map to Los Angeles.

If the NFL stepped in along with AEG to build the stadium, then brought two teams to play there, it would negate the need for Anschutz to buy into a team. He’d make his money back – and then some – by leasing Farmers Field to both teams and collecting income through naming rights, advertising, signage, corporate sponsorships and suite sales and all the other ways privately owned stadiums make money these days.

Much like he does with Staples Center.

In the meantime, Spanos gets a new stadium for his Chargers but also maintains full ownership.

Problem solved, right?

As a source told me Sunday, that seems to be where this is heading.

The question now is, which two teams are coming?

For the moment, let’s set the Rams aside as a potential candidate. There is significant momentum building in St. Louis for the Rams to remain in Missouri. The NFL covets the St. Louis and surrounding market, a significant advertising partner is based there in Anheuser-Busch and there is powerful state leadership in place to make a deal with Rams owner Stan Kroenke on a new stadium.

Not saying the Rams are out of the picture, but if state and city leadership steps up to the plate with a viable plan – and momentum is building for that to happen – Kroenke will have no justification for relocation.

The Raiders and Chargers, on the other hand, are not in ideal positions to get something done in Oakland and San Diego and while both re-upped for 2015 at their respective stadiums the clock is already ticking on two plans coming together over the next 12 months to keep them there long-term.

If you are a Chargers or Raiders fan the hope is someone finally steps up with viable stadium deals over the next year.

And that might absolutely happen.

But more and more, you get the feeling both teams are biding their time locally while also keeping an eye on Los Angeles.

Bottom line, four cities are on the clock: St. Louis, Oakland, San Diego and Los Angeles. And with the NFL potentially extending a helping hand in Los Angeles, a whole bunch of hurdles will be eliminated.