NFL commissioner Roger Goodell declared stadium proposals in St. Louis, San Diego, and Oakland to all be “unsatisfactory and inadequate” on Saturday, which is … exactly what you would expect the NFL commissioner to do in this situation, frankly. The guy is facing a vote of owners that needs 24 of 32 people in the room to agree on something, so this way all butts are covered, since any team they want to approve moving to L.A., now they can justify it on the grounds that its current city’s stadium offer was inadequate. Also, now all three cities are on notice that the NFL wants more money, dammit. This is Commissionership 101, and means absolutely squat in terms of who’s going to be approved to move to L.A. or not.
Meanwhile, in news that could be of far greater import:
- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones submitted a formal resolution to the NFL that the San Diego Chargers be approved to share a stadium in Inglewood with the St. Louis Rams. Jones is an ally of Rams owner Stan Kroenke, so this is just a formalization of Kroenke’s gambit to offer to share his L.A. digs with the Chargers, something that Chargers owner Dean Spanos has so far rejected. It’s an official proposal now, though, for whatever that’s worth.
- Rams officials have told the NFL that an Inglewood stadium could now cost as much as $2.66 billion. Let me type that again: $2.66 billion. Add in $550 million in relocation fees, and Kroenke would seemingly be insane to take on these kinds of costs just to move to a bigger market (which doesn’t matter nearly as much in the NFL thanks to the lack of local cable rights). Of course, the Inglewood project includes a whole lot more than a football stadium, so it’s always possible he’s throwing in non-stadium costs in a gambit to get the league to reduce its relocation fee demands, or to force the Chargers to give up more in rent and/or stadium revenue as part of any shared lease, or something like that. (It’s also counting “financing costs,” so there’s a chance he’s doing something like adding up all future interest payments as if they were present value, though more likely he just means the cost of hiring bond lawyers.)
- The NFL plans to levy a 20% “flip back tax” on any sale of a portion of teams moving to Los Angeles. That could be pricey for the Chargers or Raiders if Disney CEO Robert Iger takes advantage of a clause in his deal to lend his name to those teams’ relocation efforts that lets him buy a share of one of those teams if he likes.
- San Diego is considering turning its current stadium site into a university campus if the Chargers leave, which, sure, all the kids are doing it.
The upshot of all this is not much, and I’d still put my money on no decision being reached during the NFL meetings that take place tomorrow and Wednesday. Though one possible course of action has occurred to me: The league could approve, say, the Rams and Chargers to move to L.A. provisionally, on the condition that they negotiate a shared stadium deal that’s to both of their liking. That way the owners get to say they decided something, put pressure on Spanos and Kroenke to get a deal done, and keep the pressure on St. Louis and San Diego to up the ante in hopes of heading off losing their teams. It’s certainly what I’d do if I were a self-interested football billionaire, but whether 24 out of 32 people will think that way is anybody’s guess.