NFL Wire News

NFL owners meetings: Relocation discussed, but no decision


The Sports Xchange

NEW YORK — A year ago, a sizable media crowd flocked to the Conrad Hotel in downtown Manhattan to hear Commissioner Roger Goodell speak about the rash of criminal behavior in the NFL and how the league intended to fix the problem.

This year, crime and punishment were not the main topics at the annual fall owners meetings, which concluded Wednesday at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, mere blocks from the league’s Park Avenue headquarters.

The main topic of the meetings was the possibility of franchise relocation to Los Angeles. Los Angeles has not had an NFL team since the Rams left for St. Louis and the Raiders departed for Oakland in 1995. Further meetings about relocation for the San Diego Chargers, Rams and Raiders will happen in January if not later after the topic was discussed extensively Wednesday without resolution.

“I think obviously there are two potential solutions in Los Angeles,” Goodell said during a 21-minute press conference. “I think it’s very positive that we have the two alternatives. We have three teams that are interested that have been struggling to get stadiums built in their own communities for not just several years but decades and that’s something that there’s a recognition it has to get resolved.

“I think the ownership was very thoughtful today. They expressed obviously a great deal of concern to the communities where these teams are playing now and wanting to continue to be there and be successful long-term but also recognizing that we need to find long-term solutions here. I think there’s also interest in being back in the entertainment capital of the world. We have to do that right and there’s a process.”

Even with that topic being at the forefront of the meetings and representatives from each team making presentations, no final decisions were made and are not expected to take place until January at the earliest and possibly after the Super Bowl.

“Our timeline and planning for at least 12 months is to enable a January decision,” NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman said. “What that means is to be able to put all the things in place that the league and the clubs can have an effect or an influence on and to bring those variables, bring that information, bring that analysis.”

Once relocation is put up for a vote and gets the 24 required votes, the league can discuss other components of the move such as temporary stadium arrangements and relocation fees.

“Nothing for sure right now, we got to take a vote and see what the result is,” Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney said. “I think there will be a vote.”

Each of the teams considering a move to Los Angeles has a previous connection to the second biggest city in the country.

The Rams played in Anaheim Stadium until 1994 when they were moved by former owner Georgia Frontiere to St. Louis. The team was purchased in 2010 by Stan Kroenke.

Kroenke bought the team despite owning the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and was approved unanimously and passed ownership to his son Josh.

In January, Kroenke partnered with Stockbridge Capital group to develop a new stadium in Inglewood, Calif., the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings. Kroenke purchased roughly 60 acres of land near the Forum with an estimated purchase price of $90 million to 100 million.

Kroenke’s desire to return the Rams to Los Angeles continued on the same day National Car Rental agreed to a 20-year, $158 million naming rights deal on a future football stadium in St. Louis that is not connected to the team. It also happened on the same day the league approved transfer of the Nuggets and Avalanche to his son Josh

The Chargers are looking into moving to Carson, Calif., as part of a potential stadium sharing agreement with the Oakland Raiders, who moved from Los Angeles following the 1994 season. The proposed Chargers stadium is roughly 15 miles south of downtown Los Angeles and is on the former site of a landfill near the intersection of two freeways.

Last month, the Chargers missed a deadline set by San Diego to have some type of deal in place for a new stadium. Had they reached a deal, it would have been placed on ballots in January.

Missing the deadline came shortly after elected officials in San Diego announced plans for a $1.1 billion stadium, which had $350 million in public funding.

The Chargers spent one season in Los Angeles before moving to San Diego in 1961. They have been owned by Dean Spanos since 1984, have played in Qualcomm Stadium since 1967 and have been the facility’s loan tenant since the Padres moved to PETCO Park in downtown San Diego in 2004.

Since leaving Los Angeles, the Raiders have shared the same facility with the Oakland Athletics, who have struggled for several years to get a stadium of their own in the Bay Area. Oakland is the only city where baseball and football teams share a stadium, something that was a common practice throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s and into portions of the 1990s.

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