For fans of NFL teams long considering ditching their towns for sunny Los Angeles skies -- namely the St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers -- a decision could finally come in January. The NFL has a scheduled a special meeting with owners next month, and at least two team owners who carry weight within the league are pushing for the relocation vote to be taken there, according to reports.
"It's my hope that we're going to have a vote in January," said New York Giants owner John Mara, following a Tuesday meeting of the six-owner Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities, according to the Los Angeles Times. "This needs to get done. Because whoever it's going to be needs to start gearing up for next year. You can't go too much longer than that and be ready to play a season in 2016 in a different place. "
Meanwhile, Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said there was a "likelihood" that the vote will take place next month. "It’s important to have a deadline and make a decision," Hunt said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Mara and Hunt are both members of the NFL's L.A. committee, which is reviewing competing stadium plans for the city and could make a recommendation to the full ownership soon. The league held various committee meetings Tuesday at a resort in Irving, Texas, ahead of a general meeting of all 32 owners Wednesday, during which Los Angeles is expected to be a major topic of discussion.
There are two competing plans for relocation to the United States' second-largest city. The Chargers partnered with the Raiders for a $1.7 billion proposal to build a stadium in Carson, California, which would involve the two franchises sharing the space in a similar fashion to the New York Giants and New York Jets, which share MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Rams owner Stan Kroenke, meanwhile, revealed in January proposed plans to build a $1.86 billion stadium in Inglewood, California. Representatives with the Chargers and Rams met with the L.A. Committee Tuesday, but it's unclear if the Raiders did as well, the L.A. Times reported.
The Wednesday meeting of owners is not expected to result in a vote on the projects, but will likely include talks about the state of the projects. "I think there's going to be a lot of discussion, but there's not going to be any decisions made or anything like that," Mara said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Everybody wants to know where are the three markets right now, and where are the two L.A. projects? What stage is everything at?"
The NFL announced Tuesday that an L.A.-focused meeting was scheduled for January. The exact date and location is still undecided, but is expected to be either Jan. 12 in Dallas or Jan. 19 in Houston.
L.A. has had several sites for a team proposed throughout the years, but it has not had a professional football franchise since the Rams and Raiders left the city in 1995 for St. Louis and Oakland, respectively. It remains unclear if owners will support a team moving to L.A., especially if the franchise's hometown was working on a viable stadium option.
“You need 32 owners to have a vote and 24 of those owners have to agree on something,” said Mark Fabiani, the attorney leading the Chargers’ efforts to relocate to L.A., according to ESPN. “Anyone who is predicting how those owners will vote in January is speculating. No one knows, so no knows what will happen in January."
The window for a relocation vote typically falls between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15, but there had been some discussion of perhaps pushing back the time frame to the spring, according to ESPN.