Los Angeles Raiders? What Relocation to LA Could Look Like for the Raiders.

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Nov 1, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; A general view of the Rose Bowl before the game between the Arizona Wildcats and the UCLA Bruins. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Short Term Home

There are two legitimate football stadiums in the entire Los Angeles area that could serve an NFL team: the Rose Bowl, located in the Arroyo Seco Canyon in Pasadena; and the Los Angeles Coliseum, located in South Los Angeles’ Exposition Park, adjacent to the campus of the University of California.  The Rose Bowl has never been a regular home for an NFL or AFL franchise, but has hosted UCLA football for over 30 years and has hosted five Super Bowls in its history, including the Raiders first-ever Super Bowl victory in Super Bowl XI.  It is also, obviously, the site of the annual Rose Bowl game, the “grandaddy of em all” and part of the Bowl Championship series. The City of Pasadena has approved the use of the Rose Bowl as an NFL venue on an interim basis, but a citizen’s group has sued the city, claiming the city did not complete a proper environmental impact report.

The Rose Bowl, which is 92 years old, has had numerous renovations done in recent years but still shows its age, with it’s bleacher-style seating and parking situation that relies on the use of an adjacent golf course as a parking lot. It is near mass transit and freeways, but not near enough, and traffic in and out of the Rose Bowl area for UCLA games, the Rose Bowl game, and concerts is usually a gridlocked mess. The Rose Bowl also seats nearly 93,000 in its regular configuration, but has been adjusted in past to seat over 100,000 spectators for a football game, which would give it a maximum capacity of nearly 40,000 more seats than the most expanded capacity of the O.co Coliseum. In fact, the Rose Bowl would instantly become the largest NFL stadium, with a capacity exceeding just slightly the massive FedEx Field, home to the Washington DC team.

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The Los Angeles Coliseum, the only other viable short-term home in Los Angeles, is also a behemoth with a capacity of roughly 93,000 spectators. While not as old as the Rose Bowl, the Coliseum is still very old, having been built to service the 1932 Olympic Games. Raider fans are of course familiar with the Coliseum, as it was home to the Raiders from 1982 until 1994.  Again, if the Coliseum were to become the short term home of the Raiders, it would instantly become the largest-capacity stadium in the NFL. The Coliseum is in many ways a more convenient option for both the Raider organization and Raider fans: parking is far more ample around Exposition Park and the USC campus, an area full of college kids less likely to complain about the noise and traffic brought on by ten NFL games. It is also located adjacent to one of Los Angeles’ brand new Metro light rail lines, the Expo Line, and a quick hop away from the Santa Monica and Harbor Freeways, and within spitting distance of downtown Los Angeles. The Coliseum has hosted pro football for decades, of course, as it is home to the University of Southern California Trojans football program. I kid, I kid. Its natural grass field is in great shape, not prone to the sogginess that sometimes afflicts O.co, and of course it’s a football stadium, so there won’t be a dirt infield to contend with, just like the Rose Bowl.

Both stadiums would potentially serve as interim homes for the Raiders – or whatever other franchise relocates – for the 2015 and 2016 seasons before a new stadium is completed somewhere in the Greater Los Angeles Area. While both stadiums are older and harder to fill to capacity than O.co Coliseum, they would also still be instant upgrades for the organization: locker room facilities at both stadiums are actually better than  at O.co, and of course there isn’t the issue of having to flatten out a pitchers mound and have Sebastian Janikowski kicking off from 2nd base. The grass fields are in great shape already to serve top-tier college football programs, and the organization would undoubtedly profit from getting a much bigger cut of concessions and parking revenue than they do from their current deal that sees the A’s get a piece of all that action. But of course the long game in LA is not to play in an 80 or 90 year old stadium shared with a PAC-12 team.  It’s a new stadium, up to par with the rest of the league.