NFL reported close to deal on shared Rams-Chargers stadium, Chargers call this a load of hooey

Today and tomorrow are the NFL meetings where owners will vote (or not) on which teams will be allowed to move to Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Times’s Sam Farmer says there could be a breakthrough in the deadlock:

On the brink of a vote that could return the NFL to Los Angeles, a consensus is building within the league for the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers to share a stadium in Inglewood.

Multiple league officials and owners not involved with the Inglewood project, or the competing proposal in Carson, say there is momentum to pair the two franchises in what one owner describes as a “transformational” project backed by the Rams.

That would be huge indeed, since so far Chargers owner Dean Spanos has expressed no interest in sharing digs with the Rams in Inglewood, while Rams owner Stan Kroenke doesn’t want to go in on the Chargers site in Carson. So if everyone’s on the same page now, that’s exactly the kind of compromise that could lead to

“On December 7, the Chargers made clear in writing that we had zero interest in the Inglewood project, and nothing has changed since then,” Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani said Monday in a statement to USA TODAY Sports.


There’s still a chance that the Times report indicates that owners are planning to deliver Spanos an ultimatum: Either join the Rams in Inglewood or stay put in San Diego. (Farmer also reports that there’s a growing interest in holding the vote by secret ballot, which would make it easier for Spanos’s friends to vote this way without having to admit to it, though with only 32 people in the room it won’t be too hard to guess who voted how.) Though it’s equally likely that the unnamed owners who spoke with Farmer are just trying to create momentum for their plan by leaking it to the press, rather than reporting honestly on it, and the stalemate is still in place. Won’t know until we hear how the vote goes, really.

This is total speculation and tea-leaf reading, but I’m more and more leaning toward putting my money on what I suggested yesterday, an agreement that’s contingent on a deal being worked out — either “We approve the Rams and Chargers moving if they can work out a shared stadium deal” or “We approve the Rams moving, and the Chargers can too if they agree to share the Rams stadium.” That would kick the hard part — working out an agreement between Kroenke and Spanos not just on where to play but on how to divvy up the costs and revenues of a shared stadium — back to those two guys, and at least leave the rest of the league feeling like they’ve accomplished something this week. Though it would still mean we wouldn’t be sure which teams if any were moving where for several more weeks or months, and could end up leading to some really sad lame-duck seasons in 2016.

Or it could still prove impossible to get 24 votes for any one plan, and nothing could get decided. There’s really no predicting what a roomful of rich guys will do.

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69 comments on “NFL reported close to deal on shared Rams-Chargers stadium, Chargers call this a load of hooey

  1. I think the Raiders are left out because this is all about who has the most friends in the room, and Mark Davis has no friends.

    As for Carson and Inglewood, they’d each include some public money for land prep/infrastructure, etc., that should legitimately be seen as public subsidies. Under $200m for Inglewood, and I’m not sure a final price tag has been determined for Carson, but in the same, er, ballpark. So not nothing, but also a relatively small share on a pair of nearly $2b projects.

  2. Still see this ending with Davis getting some of the relocation $ which allows Spanos to save face and “stay loyal” to him and Spanos becoming an equal partner or at least much closer to one with Kroenke

    As a St. Louis Rams fan, not feeling optimistic.

  3. I’m not sure Davis has “no friends” per se. From the various rumors, gossip and such (which of course are 100% trustworthy), it appears the NFL thinks Davis is incompetent at running a team and wants him to sell. Note that this doesn’t mean incompetence from the standpoint fans care about, aka winning, but rather just bad at getting corporate partnerships and closing business deals.

    Leaving him in the lucrative market like the Bay Area with lots of potential buyers but with no resources to build a stadium or do much of anything to improve his lot and no incremental dollars in his pocket is a way to ratchet up that pressure.

  4. Thanks Neil. Sounds like less public money will go into Carson and Inglewood than in St. Louis or San Diego, which is good to hear – though hard to believe. I can’t see the NFL choosing an option with less public money.

  5. Maybe a dumb question: Is the ~$550mil number put out by the league the TOTAL fee for the entire LA market or for EACH TEAM that wants to go to LA?

  6. Each team. And no, it’s not a dumb question, since $550m per team does sound unfathomable.

  7. As I recall from seeing baseball there (no, I’m not that old, it was the game in 2008) the Coliseum has outstanding sight lines and almost zero facility for luxury boxes the size of a small arena.

  8. You’ll have to excuse the language on this one, but this whole thing is nothing but a giant clusterfuck and is only becoming more so with each passing minute. Nothing all that relevant has even been publicly stated and so, being that a vote is imminent, we’re left with the critical mass of media members and other individuals reading the tea leaves. Actually they’re not even reading tea leaves. They’re reading low resolution black and white photos of tea leaves.

  9. Anonymous: You assume that’s a bug and not a feature. Why would the NFL want the media to know who, if anyone, was moving before the last possible minute?

  10. This might be breaking news: NFL recommends Raiders-Chargers.

  11. The (LA) Coliseum is likely getting a $270 million renovation. USC is going to reduce the capacity to ~77,500 and add a bunch of luxury boxes.

  12. MikeM: So the committee recommended Carson over Inglewood? The other article I just saw implied that they’d both gotten the okay from the committee. (Though that one was terribly written.)

  13. It’s not breaking news. That was reported hours ago. The most recent reports are saying that the ballot going before the whole body of owners (not just the has small committee) has been narrowed down to Rams/Chargers in Inglewood vs Chargers/Raiders in Carson.

  14. You know, with LA very likely getting the Olympics (which year was that again?), I have to say this probably will work out.

    Coliseum gets dual-use out of its upgrades, Carson gets a new stadium that can be used for the Olympics. That might be nearly all the construction LA would need to make this work.

    This isn’t terrible.

  15. Chronicle is reporting it as breaking news. With a 5-1 vote, I think this kills the Rams to LA.

  16. You have a link for that, Anon? Not doubting you, just not spotting it on Google/Twitter.

  17. Anonymous, go to Google News, and you’ll see the official news reports all came out less than an hour ago.

  18. Does it still count as breaking news if it’s new to the news sites but old on Twitter?

  19. So we knew Richardson and McNair were pro-Carson, and Hunt voted for Inglewood. So all this tells us is that Mara, Kraft, and Rooney are pro-Carson.

    We need one of those election-night “percent of precincts reporting” tickers.

  20. Because Twitter is America’s most-trusted news source.

    I quit them ages ago. The main reason I check them once in a while is to check the WhitePrivilege hashtag — where about 95% of the examples they post aren’t examples at all. Note that I’m not saying there is no white privilege; I’m just saying 95% of their examples are really horrible examples. “This white guy didn’t get arrested! WhitePrivilege!”. Yeah, I don’t think you get it.

  21. MikeM: That’s the small committee. It has nothing directly to do with the result of a 32-owner vote. At this point it’s still all behind-closed-doors politicking with nothing of serious value for the public to go on. Until the first round of voting occurs and is disclosed, nothing is really dead. Not Carson. Not Inglewood. Not the Rams. Not the Chargers. Not the Raiders.

    Neil: I saw it being reported by the LA Daily News via Vincent Bonsignore. Although I don’t think that claim (i.e. Rams/Chargers vs Chargers/Raiders) is particularly insightful. That’s the head-to-head matchup that has been talked about since at least yesterday.

  22. “We need one of those election-night “percent of precincts reporting” tickets.”

    Sounds like a good, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, job for FiveThirtyEight.

  23. Found it, thanks!

  24. LA Times reporter Nathan Fenno said that Inglewood got more votes than Carson in the first round of voting by the full ownership group and that neither got 24 votes.

  25. Sam Farmer (LA Times) reporting that first round of voting was 20-12 in favor of Inglewood (Rams/TBD).

  26. See, I am thinking of Monty Python’s “Election Night Special” sketch as appropriately analogous to this situation. :)

  27. If the advisory committee favors Carson/Raiders-Chargers over Inglewood/Rams-Chargers, I kinda suspect the 32 teams will never get to vote on the latter.

    Time will tell.

  28. As Anon noted, they already voted on the latter, and prefer it 20-12.

    Everyone’s gathered in a room now beating each other with sticks until four people change their vote.

  29. I want to know how many times Kroenke, Spanos and Davis have promised their next Super Bowl host city vote.

  30. Neil:The one thing which all three owners should be thinking of is at what seating capacity do they want the LA Coliseum at to avoid NFL blackouts in the LA market.Of the 3 teams the Rams I feel for nostalgic reasons would draw the most for each sunday home game followed by…..Well I should say the Chargers but I’m leaning towards the Raiders only because of their previous years in LA.And if the Rams tarp off X number of seats at the LA coliseum say seating would be 78,000 does San Diego have the ability to draw 78,000 or do they go with 75,000. After all LA would be going from No Sunday football games to go to in the last 20 years to having a NFL game Every weekend in LA. Oversaturation if you ask me.Heck the Raiders tarped off Mt Davis to only draw 54,000 in Oakland.If the Raiders/Chargers are the choice then one of those teams goes to the NFC maybe in exchange for Arizona,orSeattle. Having the majority of home games in LA be AFC games with repeat opponents would wear thin real fast. If they approve it Rams followed by whichever of the other 2 teams wants to take the risk/reward. The 3rd team that misses out actually Wins in this by getting some of the relocation fees from team A & or team A & B.

  31. So… San Antonio Raiders? St. Louis Raiders?

    With LA out of the picture, and Oakland offering up basically nothing to compete against, what leverage do Davis/Goodell have to mooch a free stadium off of either of those cities? I can see San Antonio bidding against itself before I can see St. Louis getting excited about welcoming another re-lo.

  32. Michael: I would put my money on Santa Clara Raiders, sooner or later, because, you know, it might actually make sense.

  33. Not sure who broke it but KPIX, CBS-San Francisco is reporting Raiders are out, Rams approved possibly joined by Chargers.

  34. Further reporting (as they cut to national news) Raiders will withdraw, get cash from league to build new stadium.

  35. And now more from LA Times. Vote was 30-2. Inglewood approved. Rams move approved. Chargers can move in as well if they like (no terms yet) or presumably try to shake down San Diego for additional cash.

  36. Chargers org has burned the bridge here.

    So LA was leverage against the city?

    But they don’t want mission valley. It supposedly take years to move the stuff downtown so they can build a stadium there. The Chargers didn’t want that.

    So all of the sudden mission valley or waiting for the downtown stuff to happen is all of the sudden ok?

  37. I wonder if the 2 holdouts were Oakland and San Diego?

    I feel bad for St. Louis, but not that bad. They paid the Rams to leave LA…live by the sword, die by the sword.

    I feel worst for Oakland….I think the only thing worse than losing the Raiders is not losing the Raiders. Oaklands Musical Chair hell continues. I wonder how this will play out with the A’s who may now be competing with the Raiders who will suddenly have a lot more help in getting a Stadium built?

  38. Well daaaaaaaaaRaiders are still going somewhere. Welcome to the league, San Antonio, Virginia Beach, Des Moines.

    Just want to congratulate, ahead of time.

  39. Not a surprise… Small committee approves the Disney/ESPN proposal. Owners vote for the latest NFL-theme park.

    Multibillionaire Rams owner gets the second largest TV market to himself. Davis gets paid for compliance. The Chargers get a defined date of threatened relocation.

    My thought is the Raiders stay in Oakland and the Chargers end up somewhere else, but not LA.

  40. Somewhat ironic….The extra $100,000,000 the NFL was supposed to provide for the St. Louis stadium was DOA – untenable, unacceptable. But apparently it’s OK for San Diego and Oakland – so long as it is Stan Kroenke’s money.

  41. 20-12 vote earlier… 30-2 later on.

    The addition of Chargers or Raiders change the vote that much? Or is it that the Chargers are pretty dead set on it (regardless of what Dean said) and that swayed it?

    I find it hard to believe that 100 million extra will make the difference here in SD. It’s a massive amount of cash and still needs a county-wide vote.

    Why would Spanos say no to LA so that the Raiders end up there instead? He continues to claim that the LA market is 20% of his stadium on Sundays, so why would he give up on LA to let the Raiders go there?

  42. SD may not have all the answers, but he is asking all the right questions.

    If SD means San Diego, I am sorry that you are losing your team. I truly am.

    It’s all nonsense.

  43. Mike –

    I’m not a Chargers fan. I’ve read enough about these stadium deals to know it’s all garbage.

    Here is another question for you Mike, since you’re a fan of my multiple questions: The relocation fee is supposedly 550 million. This money, I assume, would be allowed to be paid back over some amount of time. If he is going to put 550 million down to move to LA, how is that different than paying 550 million right here in SD? Either way you are going to pay out money over time.

    Oh wait, that’s because he thinks he will line his pockets in LA. I’m not entirely convinced, though the TV deal expires in 2022, and adding an LA market is lucrative.

    Local radio thinks Spanos won’t want to be a tenant in Inglewood. Spanos should move, sell the team, and bank.

  44. Neil and Bladen will be around.

    I think you answered it better than I could, SD. It would require education that I do not have. $$$$$$, is my best guess.

    Take care, man.

  45. These are all excellent questions, which I am way too tired to think about right now.

    I just filed my take on all this to Vice Sports, which should be up by morning if not sooner. (Depends on whether my editor is asleep yet.) I’ll post a link and summary when I wake up, and then we can start debating this craziness all over again…

  46. Call me surprised. I still don’t think there’s a business case for building a stadium LA, but Kroenke putting his money on the line doesn’t bother me at all.

    However, let me get this straight:
    St Louis offered $450M and lost their team.
    San Diego offered $200M and keep their team for at least one year.
    Oakland offered a goose egg and keeps their team for at least two years and probably indefinitely.

    Given that the plan seems to be to try to shake down San Diego next, this seems an odd way to kick that off.

  47. Scola –
    I think it can make a lot of sense, if played right. On one hand, the NFL says “You have one year to come up with a new plan or we can yank the team” – AND they can show that “hey, we aren’t bluffing – we already did it”. At the same time, it says “hey, we’re dedicated to this market – we’ll put up another $100,000,000 just to prove it”. It also gives Mr. Spanos some options – perhaps he isn’t that high on moving to LA….now he has $100,000,000 and can mend fences. Maybe he’ll be able to extract more money from San Diego (unlikely but possible). It gives Spanos the maximum number of possibilities, and leaves the door open for the Raiders too. Better still, it uses Kroenke’s money to pay those two teams extra $100,000,000.

    But I think the domino that had to fall was Inglewood. For all of this to come about, the NFL had to go to Inglewood. Carson would have required both the Chargers and Raiders, and no room for anyone else. The extortion game would have been “Game Over” at that point. That is why that, even though St. Louis was offering the most money, they had to lose.

    If Mr. Kroenke owned either the Raiders or Chargers, I think St. Louis keeps it’s team and the Kroenke owned team (along with the other, non St. Louis, no Kroenke team) move immediately, and that is that. No other owner could have built the stadium, and provided the ransom available today for the other two teams $100,000,000. It had to be Kroenke and that is why St. Louis lost out. That and perhaps the NFL was just irritated with them (because you can’t disregard the petty in a room full of billionaire ego’s).

    I think the NFL thinks it can get more than $450,000,000 in subsidies from Oakland and San Diego (and maybe St. Louis down the road) than if it had approved Raiders/Chargers and kept the Rams in St. Louis and used Oakland and San Diego as leverage (which was/is unlikely to work).

  48. I get the squeeze on San Diego, in theory.

    However, if the NFL thinks they are getting money out of Oakland they have another thing coming. Oakland effectively said “go ahead, move” and the NFL said “hang on, wait, no, let’s try again” while looking a gift horse in the mouth in St Louis.

    If I’m sitting in San Diego, which like most of California has an aversion to sports subsidies, I’m thinking “LA said no and got a team. Oakland said no and got a team. Why do I have to pay?” Given that it’s going to have to require a public vote the anti-subsidy mailers almost write themselves.

  49. Another *think* coming:

    And I doubt that either the Raiders or Chargers are going to stay put for too many more years, though if Kroenke drives a hard bargain with his lease terms, staying put and skipping the $550m fee might seem like a better deal.

  50. Well, one of them is definitely going to stay put. I mean there’s only one spot left in LA and every other market in the country is less attractive than the one they are in today.

  51. Let me walk back what I said above slightly: I don’t think either the Raiders or Chargers are a solid bet to stay put too many more years. There are a bunch of scenarios where they could stay, but right now Chargers to L.A. and Raiders to St. Louis seems most likely, eventually.

  52. Scola – I get it, I’m actually with you, for the most part. I don’t think they’ll get anything out of Oakland. I don’t think they’ll get more out of San Diego. But ultimately they might. If they had taken the St. Louis offer they definitely wouldn’t have gotten anything out of either. And Stan Kroenke is forced to return to St. Louis with his tail between his legs.

    This was the result that produced the most winners (leverage preserved on San Diego & Oakland, Stan Kroenke gets his relocation, lesser extent football in LA) and the fewest losers (Notably St. Louis who, if you are a follower of this blog, could be argued to be the biggest winners :) ) And of all of those losers, none are NFL Owners, with the sole exception being Mark Davis (which could also be argued as a win for the rest of the owners). And assuming the relocation fee as reported in the past is accurate ($550,000,000), each one of the 29 other owners gets to put $12,000,000 in their pocket, all for doing nothing more than spending a day in a Houston hotel.

  53. Stan Kroenke’s case may have been overstated, and I know you are not a big fan of GDP as a proxy for potential revenue (nor am I for the NFL because so much revenue is shared), but Kroenke’s argument was not without merit. St Louis, on raw economic potential, is smaller than San Diego, less than half of that of the Bay Area. In fact the most attractive vacant market is Portland.

    Now I was proven wrong on this move. I assumed with most revenue shared the best bet was to play wherever cost you the least. However, if now NFL teams look for actual economically attractive markets rather than just cheap stadiums, well, there’s really nothing out there.

    Of course, first thing’s first. The Chargers have a year-to-year lease. The Raiders don’t. While probably just a formality, the Raiders now have to go back to Libby Schaaf unless they want to either go negotiate with Jed York, or play in the street.

  54. “Let me walk back what I said above slightly: I don’t think either the Raiders or Chargers are a solid bet to stay put too many more years. There are a bunch of scenarios where they could stay, but right now Chargers to L.A. and Raiders to St. Louis seems most likely, eventually.”

    Neil, I think this is probably the scenario that happens. San Diego falls through, Chargers move to Inglewood, pay (likely) less to relocate, but still enough to give the Raiders more money, which they then take to St. Louis to make the Stadium deal happen there, and hey, maybe St. Louis is willing to pay more to someone not named “S. Kroenke, or Stanley K.”

  55. Actually, my last message made me think.

    If I’m Libby Schaaf, I now hold all the cards. I might say to the Raiders. “The A’s have a lease on the Coliseum until 2024. You need to sign a lease until then too. Where are you going to go? Your league won’t let you move for 2 years anyways, so if you don’t like it, we could shut down International Blvd and you could play your games there. Watch out for the hookers.”

  56. Scola – I was halfway though typing almost exactly the same thing (save for the hooker part)

  57. Good for Libby Schaf. Wish she was mayor here in Santa Clara.

    Does Mark Davis really think that Oakland/Alameda will just forget that they are still paying on the bond debt to bring the Raiders back from L.A. so many years ago, and say ‘yes, please, give us more bond debt for the Raiders?’

  58. For #Rams owner Stan Kroenke, real value in #Inglewood lies in development tied to new #NFL stadium, not facility itself. #mixeduse

    Key factor in #NFLinLA: Kroenke controls development rights tied to #Inglewood stadium. Can’t see him sharing that piece of project.

    Told you guys that Stan had this planned since 2010. The NFL stadium is secondary to the development that will happen around it. You don’t spend $2 billion of your own money on something that doesn’t make financial sense.

  59. If it’s my money, I’d still do the development and skip the stadium, and save $3 billion counting relocation fees. But that’s why Kroenke pays himself the big bucks.

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