City stadium proposals 'unsatisfactory', says Goodell

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 09, 2016 10:29 PM

(Reuters) - National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell gave the three teams seeking a move to Los Angeles a boost on Saturday, saying they had been given "inadequate and unsatisfactory" stadium proposals to remain in their markets.

The St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders applied on Monday to relocate, the first time any team has formally requested to fill the L.A. vacancy since the Raiders and Rams left the region in 1995.

NFL team owners will gather for special meetings in Houston on Tuesday and Wednesday in a bid to resolve the issue, but at least 24 of the 32 owners must vote to approve a move to the second largest market in the United States.

In a 48-page report sent by Goodell to all 32 NFL teams, details of which have been obtained by the NFL Media Insider and the LA Times, the commissioner outlined facts about the respective home markets but did not make any recommendations about which franchises should be green-lighted for relocation.

However, Goodell did say that each home market had "ample opportunity but did not develop their proposals sufficiently to ensure the retention of its NFL team".

Rams owner Stan Kroenke has proposed a $1.86 billion stadium next to the Forum on the site previously occupied by Hollywood Park race track in Inglewood, a project that effectively jump-started the three relocation bids.

But Kroenke has received opposition from the city of St. Louis, which has offered a $1.1 billion stadium proposal on the city's north riverfront. St. Louis' plan, which was finalized and submitted to the NFL on Dec. 29, includes $400 million in actionable public money.

Meanwhile in California, the Chargers and Raiders have combined to propose a $1.75 billion NFL stadium in Carson. The two teams currently play in the two oldest stadiums in the league and, after years without much progress toward new venues in their current markets, have set their sights on Carson.

In Goodell's report, he said that none of the three franchises keen to relocate had received a stadium proposal free of any contingencies while also presenting a viable long-term solution.

The city of Oakland, while expressing an interest in keeping the Raiders, has not yet made a formal stadium proposal while the St. Louis plan includes a request for league funding that is $100 million in excess of the maximum provided under existing NFL policy.

The $1.1 billion venue suggested by San Diego on the Mission Valley site of the team's current home, Qualcomm Stadium, is contingent on a public vote in June.

Goodell's report said that none of the three teams would be breaking its lease by moving from its existing market, and that two teams could be comfortably supported in Los Angeles, according to market research.

In Houston next week, NFL owners could pick one of the two proposals from the teams -- or a completely different solution. That leaves open the possibility that any one of the three teams -- or any combination of them -- could play in LA next season.

In contrast, Goodell's report gave a thumbs-up to both the Hollywood Park site in Inglewood and the venue in Carson, saying that both were ready for the development of a first-class stadium without any obvious contingencies.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Steve Keating)