Oakland Raiders, Chargers Propose Joint Los Angeles-Area Stadium Plan


October 6, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy (left) talks to Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis (center) and general manager Reggie McKenzie (right) before the game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have submitted a joint proposal for an NFL stadium in Carson, California, a Los Angeles County suburb located roughly 17 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles, adjacent to Long Beach, Compton, and the Los Angeles Harbor area.

According to the Times’ Sam Farmer, the two teams released a joint statement to the newspaper stating: “We are pursuing this stadium option in Carson for one straightforward reason: If we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets, we have no alternative but to preserve other options to guarantee the future economic viability of our franchises.”

The Chargers and Raiders perhaps have the two most decrepit stadiums in the NFL, and neither organization appears to have made much headway on securing new stadium deals in their existing markets. The Chargers, who as of recently appeared to be in third place in the three-team race to LA emerging between them, the Rams, and the Raiders, had not until now had any firm connection to any existing Los Angeles-area stadium plan.

Davis has stated in the past that he would be willing to move his team into the NFC in order to make a move easier, something that would need to occur should the two AFC West rivals find themselves sharing a market. A relocation by the Rams and Raiders would not necessitate a conference realignment.

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The Raiders have remained a front-runner for a return to Los Angeles for some time now. With Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke planning an NFL stadium in Inglewood – another LA suburb located about 13 miles northwest of Carson – various media reports had speculated that the Raiders would potentially share that stadium with the Rams. Some had even speculated that Stan Kroenke might sell the Rams to a local group in Saint Louis and buy the Raiders from the Davis family.

The Carson site, located near the junction of the I-405 and I-110 freeways, has long been rumored to be a contender for an NFL stadium, despite no group having a firm plan for the area. The site, 168 acres of reclaimed landfill, has been of interest to the NFL multiple times since 1999, and is considered prime real estate because of it’s location relatively close to suburban Orange County – a stronghold of Charger fandom – as well as its’ central location in Los Angeles County, where there is a strong Raider fan presence.

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And while it seems Mark Davis is hell-bent on moving his team to Los Angeles – having already been linked to Kroenke’s plan, AEG’s Farmers Field plan for Downtown Los Angeles, and a potential stadium plan for Chavez Ravine adjacent to Dodger Stadium – he is still locked in negotiations with parties in Oakland for a new stadium there. Talks have turned contentious as Davis is withholding his 2014 rent payment while Alameda County officials have apparently refused to be part of negotiations for a new stadium at the Coliseum site.

While the Raiders have also been linked to San Antonio and even a strange scheme to move to Saint Louis to replace the Rams, it is now almost entirely clear that Mark Davis’ plan is to move the team to Los Angeles in 2016 if he cannot get a new stadium built in Oakland. With polling showing Oakland voters not entirely supportive of a massive commitment of funds to such a plan, lukewarm support from Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf, and a complete dismissal of the entire process by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, the possibility of a Raider return to Los Angeles becomes more possible with every passing day.