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Owners hear proposals on moves to Los Angeles

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SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — A big step in the process that is expected to land two NFL teams in Los Angeles for the 2016 season was taken at a special owner’s meeting Tuesday in this suburban Chicago town.

Monday, representatives from San Diego made a presentation to the league’s Los Angeles Opportunities Committee to update committee members on plans to build a stadium. Early Tuesday, the league first updated the owners on where things stand in San Diego as well as St. Louis and Oakland on efforts to build a stadium that would keep their teams in those home markets. The St. Louis task force made a presentation to the committee in April. Oakland has not presented anything formal, showing how behind the city is in trying to keep the Raiders.

Following that, Chargers owner Dean Spanos and Raiders owner Mark Davis along with former 49ers and Browns executive Carmen Policy gave a detailed report on their efforts to combine forces and construct a stadium in Carson, Calif. Then, Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the team’s chief operating officer, Kevin Demoff, presented their plan for a stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

After a break for lunch, owners in executive session spent about two hours discussing the proposals, as well as being brought up to date on a potential seat deposit plan for tickets for the 2016 season; the league’s thinking on possible temporary facilities for games for teams that move, and analysis of the early stages of establishing relocation fees for teams that move.

While much work has already been done, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan described Tuesday as “really the start of the process.” Khan said, “We heard great presentations on what will be great stadiums. We knew things that were happening, but it was new today in the format it was presented. In terms of timing, we’re probably looking at January when something will be decided. But there can be a lot of twists and turns between now and January. Just let this process play out.”

Commissioner Roger Goodell said most important in the process is that “we make sure we have a solution for the long term and that whatever we ultimately decide we have the ability to be successful in Los Angeles for the long term.”

Demoff was circumspect in his comments to reporters after the meeting, saying only that it was “great for all the owners to hear about both projects today really for the first time. And to get an understanding of what the league’s opportunities are in Los Angeles.”

As for the Inglewood presentation, Demoff would only say, “We made a presentation that we thought would help the owners better understand our project.”

The passionate Policy was considerably more open in his comments.

In explaining why he believes the Carson project makes the most sense for the league, Policy said, “It works for California. It certainly works for the Los Angeles market and now it works for the two teams that are playing in the most dilapidated and terrible stadiums in the league. These two facilities predated Candlestick (in San Francisco) in terms of accommodating football, and Candlestick today is rubble and dust.

“This not only cures the California dilemma, but you’re curing it with California teams. These teams have been born and bred in California and never left California.”

Policy explained that studies commissioned by the NFL show that the two most popular teams in southern California among fans are the Chargers and Raiders.

“This just fits,” Policy said. “Everything comes together and it makes sense. Goldman (Sachs) hit the ball out of the park on how it gets financed and why it gets financed in the fashion that it does.”

League executive Eric Grubman noted that while St. Louis “has made consistent progress over quite a number of months,” none of the three cities currently has a stadium plan that is “actionable,” meaning that all aspects are in place and all risks have been eliminated. Only then could a team act on a proposal.

However, when Policy was asked whether the Carson project solves issues for three teams, including the Rams (assuming the stadium plan becomes “actionable”), he said, “I’m not being permitted to talk about St. Louis, but I will say this: If they go with Carson and the Chargers and Raiders, it accommodates the goals of the NFL. Not only in California, but elsewhere. I can’t speak to Inglewood, but I will say our project provides more than any other project.”

Of course, he as well as Demoff understand the only important opinions belong to the other 29 owners.

“Our goal is always to show the NFL what their opportunity is,” Demoff said. “Beyond that they can go where they want to go.”

Said Policy of the owners, “They will sit back and ask: Is this project doable? The answer after today is yes. Does it work for the teams? And the answer, I think, is definitely yes. Then, I think and I really believe, they will ask, does it work for the NFL long-term? And that’s going to be what will decide how this goes.”


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