NFL Owners Approve Oakland Raiders’ Move To Las Vegas

As reported by KPBS:

Any hopes that the Raiders would turn their eyes to San Diego in wake of the Chargers’ departure all but evaporated Monday when National Football League owners conditionally approved the Oakland franchise’s move to Las Vegas.

The Raiders will play in Oakland for two more seasons before heading to Nevada, the team announced. It is the third franchise relocation green-lighted by the NFL in a little more than a year, including the Chargers and Rams to Los Angeles.

“The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA,” owner Mark Davis said. “We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches and staff.”

Very slim hopes were raised that San Diego could provide an alternative destination for the Raiders when development of his Las Vegas plans hit some snags. Such a result would have been ironic given local fans’ antipathy toward their Northern California rival. …

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NFL Shifts Rams to L.A., Puts Chargers Next in Line

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

HOUSTON — Oakland, the city with no stadium plans and a halfhearted effort to hang on to the Raiders, gets to keep the team anyway — for now.

The Raiders pulled their bid to relocate to the Los Angeles area late Tuesday after it became clear the team didn’t have the support from NFL owners to move.

Instead, after a long day of deliberations, NFL owners meeting at the Westin Memorial City in Houston formally approved the relocation of the St. Louis Rams to Los Angeles, with ultra-wealthy Rams owner Stan Kroenke planning a $1.86 billion stadium project in Inglewood. The San Diego Chargers were given the option to join them in Inglewood after haggling unsuccessfully for years for a new stadium.

But if the Chargers decline to move, the option to join the Rams in Inglewood will be given to the Raiders, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

The plan was approved by …

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Local NFL Fans Express Themselves to the League About Possible L.A. Move

As the National Football League neared a final decision on whether to relocate any franchises to Los Angeles, fans in cities that could lose teams gave the league an earful.

Commissioner Roger Goodell recognized how touchy things have become, as an unprecedented sequence of proposals and counterproposals has played out among the St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. “We’ve been 20 years not in the Los Angeles market,” Goodell said, according to ESPN, calling an L.A. team “a huge plus for fans. There are 20 million fans in that market that would love to have a franchise. But we’ve got to do this responsibly. There’s a process, and we’re going through that process.”

Its latest set of twists and turns has played out at hearings in the hometowns of teams contemplating a move. “The three-hour meetings, held on consecutive nights in downtown theaters, were more listening sessions for the NFL than back-and-forth exchanges with fans, who registered online for free passes to the events,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “The league also streamed the hearings online.”

Fan fury

ChargersAt times, fan frustration dominated. “It was loud. It was angry. It was sad. But no matter how much they pleaded for the Chargers to stay in San Diego, many wondered if it even mattered,” USA Today observed at the city’s downtown Spreckels Theater. The Chargers, according to the paper, “say they receive 25 percent of their local revenues from Los Angeles and Orange counties.” In St. Louis, the assembled booed every mention of Stan Kroenke, the Rams owner seemingly intent on shifting his team to a complex to be built on an Inglewood lot where a Walmart once might have been. Echoing a common sentiment, one fan told the Times “there was a feeling around St. Louis that the town hall meeting was merely a formality.”

Comments from the League seemed to reinforce that cynical judgment. In remarks reported by the Times, NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman called the hearings “very cathartic,” but denied that fans’ strongly-voiced opinions ultimately held any sway. “What I got from the crowd was the passion and emotion. There were a couple of ideas to think about,” he said. “But this is not the time to negotiate. We weren’t trying to negotiate with the crowd. What we were trying to do was give them a voice, and be able to carry that voice back, and that happened pretty effectively.”

Hail Mary in Oakland

But in Oakland, at least, fans found succor from their team’s owner, Mark Davis, who vowed to do all he could to stay out of Los Angeles. “We need help from the community as well to get something that our fans in Oakland can be proud of,” he said,according to NFL.com. “We don’t have that right now and we want it. It can be done in Oakland. We’ve talked to three mega developers to get this going. We have been trying for at least the past six years, every day, hundreds of hours, to try to get something done here in Oakland.”

Nevertheless, Davis’s dedication might not pay off. As NFL.com pointed out, the Oakland Coliseum, where the Raiders still play, “was built in 1966 and has been plagued by numerous plumbing and other problems over the past decade.” In Los Angeles, under a proposed joint deal, the Raiders and the Chargers would share a new $1.7 billion dollar stadium located in Carson.

Whatever the feelings involved, the league appeared to be set on a course for a relocation process that could begin — and end — in January. “Teams would pay a fee to apply to exit their current market, and NFL owners can vote to determine the order of preference for franchises herding themselves into the California queue,” UPI noted.

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Republicans Favor Subsidizing New Chargers Stadium in SD

San Diego ChargersSan Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, told a senior NFL executive on Tuesday about the city’s plans to pay for and expedite the building of a new $1.2 billion-plus stadium for the Chargers at the Qualcomm site in Mission Valley. Afterwards, Faulconer’s press conference was upbeat, stressing his optimism that the Chargers will stay in town and not head for Carson and a shared stadium with the Raiders or Inglewood and a shared stadium with the Rams.

But the doubts that have been raised publicly and privately by the Spanos family — the owners of the Chargers — about the the city’s financing plans and expectations of quick environmental OKs appear to have sunk in with the NFL’s upper brass. The league’s executive vice president, Eric Grubman, had a good news-bad news reaction to the meeting with San Diego officials in an email to the Union-Tribune:

Grubman was also positive after the meeting … praising the city for its large team of environmental experts and for giving the NFL a thorough understanding of its accelerated timeline for environmental approvals and a January public vote.

Grubman also said the city’s proposed stadium design has “all the key elements we would expect at this stage.”

But he stressed that the design was only conceptual, no actual negotiations took place on Tuesday and that the financing plan presented by the city includes “very significant funding from NFL and Chargers sources.”

That was a reference to the $400 million to $500 million that the team and the league are expected to kick in for construction and related costs.

Is a mostly subsidized stadium not good enough?

Grubman’s critique prompted a sharp response on social media from some who wondered how the world’s most lucrative professional sports league could gripe about a proposal in which taxpayers bore two-thirds or so of the cost of a stadium for the league.

But as an indication of how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other team owners felt about the Chargers’ interest in moving, it was telling. Past assumptions about the league not wanting to risk a backlash over a moneymaking team leaving a community that had supported it for more than a half-century may have been based on a sentimental view about how the NFL operates.

So where do things go from here? The Union-Tribune’s coverage suggests a meeting in less that two weeks could be absolutely crucial:

[San Diego officials will make] a presentation scheduled for Aug. 10 in Chicago to the NFL’s relocation committee — a group of six team owners overseeing possible franchise moves to Los Angeles.

The day after that presentation, all 32 NFL owners are scheduled to meet in Chicago to discuss how to handle relocations to the Los Angeles area, where the Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams are working on stadium projects.

How — and how much — does Atkins want to help?

The fact that the San Diego political establishment is not united on the stadium issue came up again Tuesday. The involvement of Atkins in the meeting with Grubman was treated as a huge plus by Mayor Faulconer, but her decision not to join him at the press conference and the vagueness of her confirmed comments led editors of the Voice of San Diego to wonder what help she was actually providing.

On Twitter, VOSD’s Liam Dillon paraphrased her position this way: “Atkins: I’m happy to expedite the mayor’s Chargers plan, but I don’t have a position on the mayor’s Chargers plan.”

An aide to Atkins said she was ready to help the city and the team maneuver through the obstacle course of state environmental rules in building the stadium. But the City Council member whom Atkins appears closest to — former interim Mayor Todd Gloria — is very cool to Faulconer’s stadium push.

So how much Atkins actually wants to do to help keep the Chargers in San Diego is open to question. For now, city Republican leaders appear far more inclined than elected city Democrats to subsidize a Chargers stadium, wherever it is located and however the taxpayers’ share of costs is provided.

San Diego Caves To Chargers, Agrees To Finance New Stadium

San Diego ChargersSan Diego, in a desperate bid to keep the Chargers from relocating to Los Angeles, has offered to provide public funding for a new stadium, but even that may not be enough.

The Citizens Stadium Advisory Group in San Diego unveiled a proposal this week involving at least $600 million in public financing for a new, $1.1 billion-dollar stadium, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Yet, even though it is the most generous offer currently on the table, the team has so far demurred, saying it needs time to evaluate the offer against possible alternatives.

According to Market Watch, the Chargers have been under pressure from the NFL for years to update Qualcomm Stadium, which was built nearly 40 years ago. But until now, the team’s requests for taxpayer assistance have always been summarily rejected by city officials. (RELATED: Super Bowl Shines Spotlight on Stadium Subsidies)

The difference in this instance is the very real threat that the Chargers will follow through on plans to build a $1.7 billion stadium in Los Angeles, which would be shared with the rival Oakland Raiders. That proposal received preliminary approval in April, inducing San Diego Mayor Ken Faulconer to break with tradition and offer the team an incentive to stay put.

Faulconer’s plan, which he insists “won’t raise taxes,” calls for $173 million in bonds, $121 million from the city of San Diego, $121 million from San Diego County, and $225 million from the sale of the current Qualcomm site. In addition, the mayor’s committee estimates that another $100 million could be realized from ticket surcharges and the sale of personal seat licenses.

The Chargers, meanwhile, are asked to contribute $300 million towards the cost, with the NFL kicking in another $200 million.

At the conclusion of the league’s annual owners meetings Wednesday, Chargers chairman Dean Spanos told the Union-Tribune that he was aware of the proposal, but that he was not yet familiar with the details and would be reviewing it this week.

“I’ve always said, and I maintain the fact we want to stay in San Diego,” Spanos said, adding. “We’re committed to keep trying to see if there is a viable solution.” (RELATED: Obama Asks Congress to End Stadium Subsidies)

However, despite acknowledging that San Diego is “a great market,” Spanos also indicated that taxpayer subsidies would have to be substantial in order to keep the team from leaving, saying, “This is all going to come down to: Can we find a viable solution from a financing perspective?”

Significantly, San Diego is not in competition with other cities looking to lure the Chargers with their own incentive packages, as is frequently the case. Instead, Spanos seems to be referring to the enormous revenue potential of the Los Angeles market.

In fact, the proposed Los Angeles stadium would be financed entirely with private money, and would likely cost the Chargers about twice as much as they would have to pay under the San Diego plan. (RELATED: Obama’s Plan for Ending Stadium Subsidies Misses the Point)

Nonetheless, sports economist John Vrooman of Vanderbilt University told the Union-Tribune that the Chargers might actually come out ahead by rejecting the subsidies. Over 30 years, Vrooman projects that the team’s value would increase from $1 billion today to about $2.3 billion if they move to Los Angeles, compared to just $1.4 billion if they remain in San Diego.

Follow Peter Fricke on Twitter

Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Carson City Council approves NFL stadium project for Raiders, Chargers

As reported by the Orange County Register:

CARSON – On a night when dozens of jersey-wearing, flag-waving Chargers and Raiders fans turned Carson City Hall into an indoor tailgate, the Carson City Council on Tuesday night approved the Chargers’ and Raiders’ plans to build a $1.65 billion, 70,000-seat stadium next to the 405 Freeway.

That eliminated a significant obstacle for the two NFL franchises as they race to catch up with an already-approved $1.86 billion Inglewood stadium project backed by Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

The council’s unanimous vote not only was a major step toward the NFL returning to the Los Angeles-Orange County market after a 20-year absence, but it also put additional pressure on already-embattled officials from San Diego and Oakland to come up with plans in the coming weeks to keep the Chargers and Raiders in their current home markets. …

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Stadium plan for Chargers, Raiders near Los Angeles advances

As reported by the Associated Press and featured in the Sacramento Bee:

A proposed stadium near Los Angeles that could become home for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders hit an early milestone Wednesday.

Organizers said sufficient petition signatures have been verified by election officials to qualify the proposal for the ballot in Carson, where the project would be built on a former landfill.

The Raiders and Chargers are planning a shared stadium in the city on the edge of Los Angeles if both teams fail to get new stadiums in their current hometowns.

NFL urges cities to act quickly if they hope to keep teams from moving to L.A.

As reported by the Orange County Register:

PHOENIX – With the NFL gearing up for the possibility of one or more franchises declaring by the league’s October meetings their intention to relocate to Los Angeles, NFL officials are cautioning officials in St. Louis, San Diego and Oakland that any pitches to keep their teams need to be made this year and sooner rather than later.

While the league’s annual window for teams to announce their intention to relocate remains Jan. 1 to Feb. 15, NFL officials are working on a number of fronts to enable the league to be ready for a vote months earlier should the Rams, Raiders or Chargers commit to moving out their current markets.

“We’re setting all this up to go earlier than that and we’ve told the home markets they ought not to depend on that Jan. 1,” NFL senior vice president Eric Grubman said in wide-ranging, nearly hour-long interview. “That they ought to go faster than that. We may feel like the right thing to do is to make that decision earlier so that everybody knows where they stand.”

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