The San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders are willing to switch divisions if they relocate to Los Angeles in the near future, the point man on the teams’ joint stadium project in Carson, California, said Monday. The two pro football franchises are considered leading candidates for relocation, which could be approved in time for the 2016 NFL season.
Currently, the Chargers and the Raiders play in the AFC West, with two games against each other per year. Any bid to share an NFL stadium in Carson – or a temporary venue in the greater Los Angeles area – would come with some logistical difficulties, particularly in terms of regular-season schedules. Division realignment could address those concerns.
Both teams are willing to consider that solution if NFL owners approve a move to Los Angeles, said Carmen Policy, a longtime league executive who heads up the joint Carson stadium project. Chargers and Raiders executives told the NFL to “send us to LA and you’ll make the decision as to who plays in what conference or division,” Policy told reporters, according to the Associated Press.
The Chargers and Raiders face competition from another NFL stadium project in Inglewood, California, backed by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who also hopes to move his franchise to the Los Angeles area. Kroenke and Policy each presented plans for their stadium projects at a meeting of the NFL’s owners and top executives earlier this month in Illinois.
Both projects were reportedly well-received by NFL owners, but the league plans to allow a maximum of two teams to relocate to Los Angeles. At present, league officials will decide to approve either the Chargers and Raiders' joint project in Carson or the Rams' stadium project in Inglewood, not both.
Policy’s comments came as Carson project officials unveiled a virtual tour of the planned 60,000-seat facility, which will cost a projected $1.78 billion. Narrated by actor Kiefer Sutherland of “24” fame, the video reveals several unique aspects of the project, including a farmers market, an area for concerts, indoor valet parking and an NFL Network studio, SB Nation reported.
“This would provide flexibility for the NFL for the next 50 years,” Policy said, according to Fox Sports.
NFL executives discussed several aspects of a potential relocation, including the possibility of a relocation fee, use of temporary facilities during stadium construction and the sale of refundable seat deposits. The league’s owners will next meet in October to discuss updates on the Los Angeles situation, but the NFL has no timetable to vote on relocation.
Eric Grubman, the NFL’s executive vice president and point man on Los Angeles opportunities, touted progress from the cities of St. Louis and San Diego in their bids to keep their NFL franchises with new, publicly-funded stadiums in their current markets. Grubman was critical of the city of Oakland’s efforts and said officials had yet to present the Raiders with a “viable” proposal.