With nine days to go until the NFL’s 32 owners meet in New York to discuss the latest developments in a potential permanent return to Los Angeles, neither of the league’s two proposed stadium projects has enough support to get approval, a report said Monday. That means the relocation plans of San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos, Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis and St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke may soon be at the mercy of internal league politics.
To approve a franchise’s relocation, the NFL requires at least 24 owners to vote in a project’s favor. Kroenke is backing a privately funded proposal to move the Rams into a new $1.86 billion, 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood, California, while Spanos and Davis are aiming for their teams to share a $1.78 billion, 60,000-seat facility in Carson, California.
Kroenke’s Inglewood project could have as many as 10 owner votes, including those of two of the NFL’s most powerful voices in New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported. But for now, that’s far short of the required three-fourths threshold. The NFL doesn’t have a set timetable to hold a vote on Los Angeles, and no vote is expected at the Oct. 7 meeting in New York City, but owners reportedly are aiming for a resolution by the end of 2015.
While Kroenke can reportedly count Jones and Kraft as allies, another faction of NFL owners, led by Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, opposes the Rams’ move to Los Angeles, Pro Football Talk reported. The owners purportedly assert the Chargers and Raiders are stronger candidates for relocation, given the Chargers’ existing ties to the Los Angeles area, from which it draws much of its fan base, and a viable stadium plan for the Rams in St. Louis.
“Additional work needs to be done before we move forward [with a vote], but we are confident in our process,” Richardson said in a statement to PFT.
There’s also no guarantee that the Chargers and Raiders would have to move to Los Angeles together. Spanos’ Chargers could move to the Carson stadium alone due to concerns about whether two NFL franchises can succeed side by side in the Los Angeles area, PFT reported.
NFL officials have repeatedly cited a desire to find stadium solutions for all three franchises in their current markets, even as buzz has built around a potential return to Los Angeles. At various points, the league has publicly expressed a mixture of skepticism and optimism regarding the viability of plans for publicly-funded stadiums in Oakland, St. Louis and San Diego. Negotiations have been particularly contentious with the city of Oakland, and a plan drawn up for the city by developer Floyd Kephart appears to be dead, at least as presently constructed.