The NFL wants to be in Los Angeles. It’s wanted to be in Los Angeles since the Rams and Raiders left Los Angeles in 1995. Now that the league has two different L.A. stadium proposals from three different franchises to consider, it almost seems like a foregone conclusion it will be back soon.
“There isn’t a possibility frankly that we’ve taken off the table” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the final day of the NFL owners meetings just outside Chicago. “We’re going to evaluate everything that makes sense for us.”
All Chargers fans want to know is: does keeping a team in San Diego make sense for them? The NFL praised the city’s work and all the effort it’s put in to the updated stadium proposal. However, there are still doubts in the league office as to just how viable the plan truly is.
“San Diego made a very thorough presentation in front of the L.A. committee,” said Eric Grubman, the NFL’s Executive Vice President and the one overseeing the shield’s quest to return to L.A. “That proposal evidenced a significant amount of progress. They also went through their strategy for dealing with various risks and threats. It could be a litigation threat over environmental permitting and certifications. There could be threats from the standpoint of obtaining the necessary public support that the Mayor has called for. There were a lot of questions about that. Those questions remain open and they are working on responses.”
After 20 years of biding their time and waiting to move back to Los Angeles, the National Football League suddenly finds itself watching a race to the end. In any race, there has to be a winner and a loser. The team (or teams) that do not get to relocate will be back in their home markets with a whole lot fences to mend with the fan base and local governments.
“You take a risk if you file for relocation on whether it will be approved,” said Goodell. “Those are decisions that I think each club understands.”
So, why risk it? Why take a chance of alienating your home market with an attempted move? The answer to that, as it usually is when big business is concerned, is money. Lots and lots and lots of money.
Former NFL executive Carmen Policy, who is representing the Carson proposal, used the $2 million Clippers purchase as a reference point. An NFL team in L.A. immediately becomes worth more than $2 billion and makes it among the top-15 most valuable sports franchises on the planet.
When you see it from that perspective, it’s amazing San Diego and St. Louis are still in the running to hold on to their teams at all.