How Do You Know When It's Time to Get Excited About NFL Football in L.A?
Pro football's Chargers and Raiders have a plan to share a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson, and the Inglewood City Council recently approved plans to build an 80,000-seat venue at the site of the defunct Hollywood Park racetrack. It would be the home of the Rams.
In fact, no fewer than four Los Angeles area stadiums are on the drawing boards.
The Raiders and Rams have been in L.A. before, and the Chargers are currently the closest thing Angelenos have to a major-league football team. The San Diego team even claims our media market as its own.
Keep in mind, though, that the Chargers and Raiders made it very clear last month that a Carson stadium would be a second choice to new venues in their hometowns. In a joint statement, the teams said:
We remain committed to continuing to work in our home markets throughout 2015 to try to find publicly acceptable solutions to the long-term stadium issue.
The NFL has the last word here. The league, by a vote of its owners, ultimately will have to approve any team moves. And, as we've said before, the NFL seems to enjoy using the open Los Angeles market as a constant threat in order to try to get stadiums built elsewhere. Be wary.
So when can you get ready for some football? Here's a FAQ list we put together.
Q: The local City Council just approved plans for an NFL stadium in my town. Should I get excited?
A: Not really. So far Inglewood, Los Angeles and the City of Industry have approved stadiums.
And, as far as the recent Inglwood vote goes, keep in mind that Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who co-purchased a nice swath of land next to Hollywood Park, has been threatening to move his team to Greater L.A. for a while now. The City Council can vote to create a Pacific beachfront along La Brea Avenue, but it doesn't mean it's going to happen. Ultimately NFL owners will still have to vote to approve a team's move.
Q: Naming rights have been awarded for the proposed stadium in my town. Should I get excited?
A: Not really.
In 2011 Anschutz Entertainment Group, owner of Staples Center and L.A. Live, announced a $700 million naming rights deal for its proposed downtown L.A. stadium. Farmers Insurance agreed it would fork over the cash for 30 years' worth of naming rights. The stadium would be called Farmers Field. Of course, four years later, not a single shovel has been turned in furtherance of the proposed development of a venue downtown. Besides, ultimately NFL owners will still have to vote to approve a team's move.
Q: An Environmental Impact Report has been completed for the construction of a stadium in my town. Should I get excited?
A: Not really. EIRs for proposed stadiums in Los Angeles and Industry were completed years ago. Still, no stadiums have been built. Ultimately NFL owners will still have to vote to approve a team's move.
Q: Special state legislation has been enacted to support the development of a football stadium in my town. Should I get excited?
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A: Not really. Both proposed stadiums in Los Angeles and Industry received special treatment from the state legislature — laws that would have made it easier to wade through environmental regulations — and still, neither venue has been built. Ultimately NFL owners will still have to vote to approve a team's move.
Q: There are really cool artist renderings of what the stadium in my town will look like. You can almost see the faces in the seats. Should I get excited?
A: Not really. A monkey could draw a stadium. That doesn't mean it's going to get built. Ultimately NFL owners will still have to vote to approve a team's move.
Q: The NFL just announced that a team is definitely moving to my town. Should I get excited?
A: Yes! That's the time to get excited.
We think you're starting to get the picture here. If L.A.'s not just a permanent rube for owners who want to extract facilities from their local communities, it's time for the NFL to prove it. Otherwise, it's all just smoke and mirrors.
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