Sandwiched in-between the Wild Card and Divisional playoff rounds is the final decision on what the NFL will do with Los Angeles. With three teams vying for up to two spots — the Rams, Chargers and Raiders — NFL owners are set to decide which franchises will move to the second-largest media market in the country. For any owner to move, he must receive 24 votes from the 32 NFL owners. There are multiple different options for the NFL, and for a quick primer we have listed them below.
Chargers and Raiders in Carson
The Chargers and Raiders have partnered for a stadium project in the city of Carson. Dean Spanos — owner of the Chargers — has led this push while Raiders owner Mark Davis has been mostly silent. Carson and its mayor has been very public about their support. The Chargers’ and Raiders’ bid also has involvement from Disney CEO Bob Iger. Carmen Policy of San Francisco 49ers fame is also involved. That’s a strong leadership team.
Spanos seems to have the support of some older, hardline NFL owners such as Carolina’s Jerry Richardson. Richardson is the head of the L.A. relocation committee, which could give the team the leg up. The Chargers can also claim that any team moving into its southern California footprint would be detrimental to its business interests. Spanos and the Chargers have tried multiple times to build a new stadium in San Diego county, but haven’t been able to come to an agreement to move out of Qualcomm Stadium.
Chargers in Carson
This option is the same as above except with the Chargers being the only team to move into the stadium. This is probably unlikely. The Chargers want to split construction costs with the Raiders and it might not make financial sense to go it alone.
Rams in Inglewood
The NFL can thank the Rams for pushing the Los Angeles discussion after Stan Kroenke purchased a large parcel of land in Inglewood and the Edward James Dome fell out of the top 25 percent of NFL stadiums. Kroenke made it known early in the year that he had a desire to move the Rams back to Los Angeles in a stadium all their own.
Kroenke has been attacked at almost every turn from companies saying the current site could be a target for a terrorist attack — the Inglewood mayor says that isn’t true — to labor issues, and finally from owners who back Spanos.
The problem is there is almost no chance the Rams — with current ownership in place — could return to St. Louis. The team has essentially turned down the public money from state and local governments and trashed the city in its relocation application. Rumors have even circulated that Kroenke could sell the Rams and buy the Broncos from the Bowlen family, although the family has refuted it.
Jerry Jones — one of the most influential owners in the NFL — is a major supporter of the Kroenke project in Inglewood, which may lead to the fourth option.
Chargers and Rams in Los Angeles
There has supposedly been no movement by the Chargers on this front, but it could be the only option. Teams need 24 votes to move and this may be the only possible way to get the other owners to agree. This of course would leave the Raiders out in the cold, but Spanos and Kroenke have been playing the political game all year while Mark Davis has stayed on the sideline — at least publicly.
There are issues with this. Kroenke and Spanos would have to agree to some type of profit sharing. It is doubtful either owner would want to enter into a lease with the other owner because they could lose money on parking, concerts and other stadium-related events. Also, this agreement doesn’t address the issue of whether Carson or Inglewood would get the stadium.
Finally the Raiders issue needs to be addressed. St. Louis has the public money, but Kroenke just pointed out why the city might not be able to hold an NFL team. Oakland is starting to gentrify and the economy is benefiting from the tech community’s financial success, but there is no public money available there. The Raiders flirted with San Antonio for a hot second, and there are some rumblings about a move to San Diego if they are left out, but that would have to be down the line.
NFL punts — no team in Los Angeles
This doesn’t seem possible, but if they can’t get 24 owners to agree, we may all be doing the same thing next year.
Michael Colangelo is Managing Editor of The Fields of Green and Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute.