NFL Franchises Jockey For LA Move

Publish Date
Tuesday, 12 January 2016, 3:18PM
Getty Images

Getty Images

With the NFL poised to award Los Angeles a team - and maybe two - owners also face the delicate task of picking at least one loser.

Three franchises - the St Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders - applied on Monday to relocate, the first time any team has formally requested to fill the LA vacancy since the Raiders and Rams left the region in 1995.

The owners likely will green-light at least one relocation this week, sports business experts say.

The bigger debate may be whether LA, already saturated with sports and entertainment options, can support two NFL teams.

Any decision leaves at least one team trying to repair strained relations with fans and officials back home.

"The teams going back to their home markets that is a problem," said Marc Ganis, president and founder of Chicago-based sports business consulting firm SportsCorp.

The Rams may face the most trouble at home: The St Louis Post-Dispatch just published a dartboard featuring owner Stan Kroenke's face after the team rubbished the city's stadium proposal and its economy in its relocation application.

All three teams would clearly rather start packing for Los Angeles. Unlike many franchises in the past - more than a dozen have threatened an LA move - these teams do not appear to be using LA as a negotiating ploy to secure more public money in their current cities.

"It's been 14 years that we've been working very hard to try and get something done here," said Chargers owner Dean Spanos earlier this week.

"We've had nine different proposals that we've made, and all of them were basically rejected by the city."

League owners will gather for a special meeting in Houston on Tuesday and Wednesday to resolve the uncertainty.

In January 2015, Kroenke proposed a $US1.86 billion stadium next to the Forum in Inglewood, which effectively jump-started the competing relocation bids.

The Chargers and Raiders responded the following month with a joint proposal for a $Us1.75 billion NFL stadium in Carson. The two teams currently play in the league's oldest stadiums.

So far, neither plan is believed to have the needed support of 24 of the 32 votes from NFL owners, but consensus has formed around the need to make a decision.

"It's time to get a conclusion," Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said in New York this week during committee meetings to evaluate the applications.

The league has said a decision on the relocation bids could come on either of those two days, and any team that ends up moving will pay a $US550 million relocation fee.

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