Dec 28, 2013; Hollywood, CA, USA; General view of the Hollywood sign on Mt. Lee before the NCAA basketball game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the UCLA Bruins. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles relocation talk dominated the recent NFL Owners’ Meetings, with the Oakland Raiders directly impacted by the recent meetings.
The NFL owners met earlier this week in Irving, TX for their annual winter meeting. As was the case in the last round of owners meetings, the issue of potential franchise relocation to Los Angeles dominated the agenda and the media’s coverage, as owners heard from the Los Angeles Opportunity Committee and the owners of the three franchises in play for the move to Los Angeles.
Despite the massive amount of talk and attention paid, not much in terms of substance has changed since the October owners’ meetings. The committee on Los Angeles has reiterated the league’s position that they would prefer two teams located in Los Angeles, which would mean the NFL would either approve the joint Chargers-Raiders plan, or would essentially force Stan Kroenke to make a deal with either the Raiders or Chargers to share his stadium in Inglewood. Kroenke has stated that he is open to the idea, but both Dean Spanos of the Chargers and Mark Davis of the Raiders are saying, at least publicly, that they are not interested.
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The most substantive result of the owners meetings, in terms of relocation, is that it seems the NFL has established a date to vote on the two competing relocation proposals as sometime in January, likely at the owners meetings on January 12th-13th. With neither project having clearly earned 24 votes among the franchise owners, it will be interesting to see how the three franchises maneuver in the next month in order to solidify their position. The NFL also established a December 28th deadline for the three cities – Oakland, San Diego and Saint Louis – to come up with their final stadium proposals to keep their teams. The City of Saint Louis is expected to vote to enter into financing agreements for a new football stadium there in the coming weeks, but there has been no substantive progress in either San Diego nor Oakland towards new football stadiums there.
Mark Davis has continued to maintain that he is committed to either Los Angeles or Oakland, and is not interested in relocation to Santa Clara, or Saint Louis, or San Diego, or any other city. But with the cash-strapped City of Oakland apparently not interested in spending a dime toward a new football-only stadium in Oakland, he may be forced to entertain other options if he is blocked from moving to Los Angeles.
Almost any news regarding relocation talks will continue to be speculative or intentionally disingenuous so long as the NFL regular season is under way and all three teams still have home games to play. Once all three teams are done playing games for the year – the Raiders and Rams could conceivably still make the playoffs though it seems unlikely – it’s probable that the winners and losers of the LA sweepstakes will be formally announced by the NFL once a decision has been made. One key development to watch is the voting on the Riverfront Stadium plan in Saint Louis, as that could be strong enough for the other owners to vote to keep the Rams in Saint Louis. But for Raider fans, and for Chargers and Rams fans as well, the future home of your favorite franchise will remain an unknown until January 12th or 13th at the soonest.