NFL owners set for more LA relocation talks -- and likely a vote
NFL owners will try again to settle the issue of relocation to Los Angeles, this time knowing that Commissioner Roger Goodell has declared the stadium plans inadequate in Oakland, St. Louis and San Diego.
Two days of meetings in Houston start Tuesday, six weeks after owners delayed a vote because they wanted more information on possible moves involving the Raiders, Rams and Chargers. Any move would involve one or two teams.
All three cities have tried to make their cases with the NFL, and each team recently submitted a formal relocation bid.
The latest development was Goodell's report last week to all 32 teams that says the existing stadiums are "inadequate and unsatisfactory," and that the proposals the Raiders, Rams and Chargers received to remain in their current cities lacked certainty. The report is required in the relocation process.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke is planning a $1.8 billion stadium in Inglewood, California, at the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack. The Raiders and Chargers have a joint project in mind for nearby Carson. Kroenke also is willing to share his proposed stadium with either the Chargers or Raiders.
A move requires approval from at least 24 owners.
"It's a long, tedious process," New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said at the December meetings in the Dallas area. "There's a lot of questions and there are not answers to every question yet. And there will be more questions when we meet in mid-January for sure."
The St. Louis proposal calls for an open-air, $1.1 billion stadium along the Mississippi River north of the Gateway Arch to replace the Edward Jones Dome.
The plan includes $150 million from the city, $250 million from Kroenke, at least $200 million from the league, and $160 million in fan seat licenses. The rest of the money comes from the state, either through tax credits or bonds. Goodell has countered that NFL policy limits the league's contribution to $100 million.
San Diego has a $1.1 billion proposal to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium, but it will require a public vote that likely wouldn't happen before June. The Chargers walked away from negotiations with the city and have focused their efforts on the Carson project.
Houston owner Bob McNair, a member of the relocation committee, canceled a meeting with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer last month, and made disparaging public remarks about city leadership.
Oakland is still in debt from a renovation 20 years ago when the Raiders moved back from Los Angeles. City officials have said they won't seek help from taxpayers with a new stadium, and asked the NFL for more time to develop a project in a league-required response to the Raiders' relocation plan.
No NFL franchise has moved since the Houston Oilers went to Tennessee in 1997. The Raiders and Rams both left Los Angeles after the 1994 season.
"I think the league, the NFL, looks at the disruption to any home city that potentially could lose their team to another city," Tisch said. "And they look at it very seriously. No one is doing this to encourage clubs moving from Oakland, San Diego or St. Louis to Los Angeles."