NFL in LA: Who Has the Edge?

Are the Rams, Raiders, or Chargers the current favorites to bring the NFL back to LA?

As of right now, there are three teams jousting to become the first team to call Los Angeles, California their home. This would be  the first time a team could do that since 1995, when both the now St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders left the sports-world’s second biggest market. Now, the Rams and Raiders are once again trying to work their way back, along with the San Diego Chargers. With the NFL wanting two teams to play in LA (one NFC and one AFC), two of the three teams will likely be in the area by 2016. All three teams  have viable plans for a stadium, but which of the three have the edge as of right now?

The first team to make a move was the Rams, when owner Stan Kroenke publicized his desire to bring the team to Los Angeles. Kroenke will be teaming up with the Stockbridge Capital group to build a stadium on a 238 acre plot of land in Inglewood, California. The potential stadium is set to hold 80,000 people, and cost in the range of $2 billion. Not only do Kroenke and Stockbridge plan on building a stadium in Inglewood, but they have suggested much more. To add on to the stadium, they plan on building a 6,000 seat performance venue, a business park, hotels, and residential space on the land. All of this would be constructed without the use of California resident’s tax dollars. Kroenke and the Rams’ biggest threat of being granted a move to LA may not even be the Raiders nor the Chargers. Their biggest threat could be the city of St. Louis, where the Rams currently reside. Although it doesn’t seem like Kroenke wants to play ball, St. Louis created a task force to put a stadium proposal on the table, in hope of keeping the Rams right where they are. Their proposal came out to be a 64,000 seat open-air riverfront stadium. The stadium could cost up to $985 million, and will likely require the use of taxpayer dollars. Since St. Louis’ proposal is nowhere near the quality of Kroenke and Stockbridge’s and will require tax dollars to be funded, it seems that this wouldn’t pose as much of a threat to the Rams potential move. But given the fact that the current homes of the Raiders and Chargers have had very poor efforts to retain their teams, and St. Louis’ proposal isn’t terrible, it could end up hurting the Rams chance of going to LA.

Now onto the Raiders and Chargers. Just a couple weeks ago, the Raiders and Chargers owners (Mark Davis and Alex Spanos) proposed a stadium in Carson, California for the two AFC West rivals to share. The stadium would cost in the range of $1.7 billion, and like the Rams’ proposal not cost any tax dollars. The Chargers and Raiders would have never put this proposal had it not been for the Rams announcing their intentions. According to Mark Fabiani, a Chargers councilman regarding a stadium plans, the Rams put both the Chargers and Raiders on “high alert.” While the Chargers and Raiders do have this proposal on the table, they are both still hoping to find a deal in their current markets, using this as their backup plan given their city’s lack of effort in retaining the two teams, unlike the Rams who prefer LA over St. Louis. The biggest problem with this proposal is more football related than the Rams issues. If the Chargers and Raiders were to go through with this and move to LA, the NFL would have to realign a couple of divisions in order to accomadate the move. This is because the NFL isn’t a fan of the idea to have two teams in the same conference, division in this case, sharing a stadium and city. In order for them to move either the Raiders or Chargers would have to be moved to the NFC West, and then most likely an NFC West team would have to move to the AFC West, unless the NFL decided to make it more complicated and make further changes.

So who is the favorite to be in LA for the 2016 NFL season as of now? I would say the Rams are, given the fact that the NFL would have to make unnecessary division changes for a Raiders-Chargers move, and the Rams seem to want it more. While the Rams would be the first team there in this scenario, it is likely that either the Chargers or Raiders would follow within the next year or two with their own stadium, or sharing the stadium the Rams call home (likely the latter). While this in my opinion is the most likely option, anything can happen, so I wouldn’t get too excited, yet.


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