Raiders, Chargers owners say words “Los Angeles,” newspaper writers can mail it in from there

OMG OMG OMG Mark Davis said something nice about Los Angeles! He’s totally moving the Oakland Raiders there!

“Los Angeles is a great option.” Davis said.

An option for the Raiders?

“Absolutely,” he said.

And just to be clear, he added: “Sure. We loved it when we were down here.”

And San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos said something nice about it, too, so the Chargers are totally moving there too!

“We’re looking into all our possibilities, all our options,” Spanos said.

Does that mean potentially re-locating to Los Angeles?

“I’m just keeping all my options open,” Spanos said.

And Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan hasn’t said anything about Los Angeles, so they’re totally not moving there!

Of course, cynical types might point out that sports team owners say these kinds of things all the time, whether they’re actually interested in moving or just trying to put pressure on hometown elected officials to get cracking on stadium subsidies. (Or both. There’s nothing saying owners can’t work both sides of this street.) But we don’t allow cynical types around here, so let’s welcome your 2015 Los Angeles Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers! They’ll totally find a vacant lot to play in by then.

Dodger Stadium “in play” as temporary NFL venue, says [out of characters, remainder of message omitted]

We have officially reached Full Hype Machine with the NFL-to-Los Angeles rumor: Following on human full hype machine Mike Florio reporting on Sunday that the NFL “plans” to put a team or two in L.A. in the next year or two, the Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer has now tweeted this:

That’s, okay, “interesting” is a decent word for it. Some items of interest that presumably didn’t fit in a tweet: Who told Farmer this? Why would a team (or two) want to play at Dodger Stadium instead of the L.A. Coliseum or Rose Bowl? Does “temporary” mean while a new stadium plan gets approved, or while it gets built after it’s approved? All ripe topics for further investigation by the sports media.

Or, you know, the sports media could just do this. And this. And this.

AEG faces deadline for landing NFL team, asks for new deadline

And speaking of L.A., AEG wants another six months on its option to build an NFL stadium by the L.A. Convention Center, because it’s sure not going to do anything by the October 17 deadline. NFL VP Eric Grubman wrote to the Los Angeles Times in a statement yesterday that the league is “encouraged enough by recent progress that we share AEG’s view that continued conversations would be worthwhile,” which of course he’d say that, because what’s the downside for NFL teams in having another six months of a potential relocation target dangling out there?

Both mayor Eric Garcetti and city council president Herb Wesson say they’re happy to give AEG another six months of rope, so it looks like this will likely happen. At some point you’d think that L.A. officials would have to move on, but, you know, it isn’t always easy to spot the warning signs.

NFL could build L.A. stadium itself, charge team owner fees, and wait, how does this solve anything?

Sunday’s L.A. Times had a completely unsourced (unless you count a single quote from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft) article speculating that the NFL could break the football logjam in Los Angeles by just building a stadium with its own money, then renting it to an NFL team. This could work, writes the Times’ Sam Farmer, in either of two ways:

  • The NFL pays for building the stadium, then earns its money back via a hefty “relocation fee” for whichever team moves in.
  • The NFL pays for building the stadium, then reimburses itself by selling naming rights, PSLs, and other goodies associated with the new building.

I’m sure you see the problem here: In the first case, any owner wishing to move to L.A. would effectively end up paying the cost of the new stadium, just funneled through the NFL. In the second, the owner would get a new stadium more or less free — but without the big revenues associated with a new stadium, which is the whole point of wanting one.

Now, paying for new NFL stadiums with PSL and naming rights revenue can work in certain situations — we’ve seen that with the San Francisco 49ers‘ Santa Clara stadium. But the 49ers had a strong incentive to remain in the Bay Area (since it’s where their fans already are), and the South Bay is an exceptionally lucrative market, and the 49ers are an exceptionally popular team, all of which makes for exceptionally big money from PSL sales. For other team owners, giving up either wads of cash or piles of future revenue streams to move to L.A. isn’t likely to seem too enticing when there’s still a chance of getting significant stadium subsidies out of their current home markets.

Really, NFL financing has the same problem as the developer-led stadium plans: Somebody has to pay the cost of a $1 billion stadium, and there’s only so much money to go around to pay construction costs and boost an owners’ profits. The only way this would be a game-changing option would be if the NFL decided it so wants to have a team in L.A. that it’s willing to take a loss on a stadium in order to get it done — but given that market size doesn’t matter much in football, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

The other possibility, of course, is that somebody leaked this “hey, we could build a stadium!” line to Farmer in an attempt to drum up articles making an L.A. stadium seem more feasible, thus putting perceived teeth into NFL teams’ move threats in order to get stadium cash out of their own cities. But naaaaah. The NFL would never be that Machiavellian, right?


AEG still insisting it may build L.A. stadium, someday, maybe

AEG’s Los Angeles football stadium plans may have been going nowhere fast even before owner Philip Anschutz put the company up for sale and then took it back off the market but booted stadium czar Tim Leiweke, who ended up running the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ parent company, but that doesn’t mean they’re giving up on building a new stadium for no NFL team in in particular:

Even though the NFL appears to have little interest in coming to Los Angeles, AEG’s plans for a stadium are still in play, said Ted Tanner, the company’s vice president.

Addressing a Los Angeles Convention Center panel last week, Tanner presented updated renderings for Farmers Field, the proposed 78,000-seat downtown stadium, to a group of commissioners and officials.

I guess anything is possible, but given that lately more talk has focused on other sites in L.A., this seems more like a pro forma effort to keep AEG’s stadium plans alive on the back burner, at least. But why the announcement now?

The City Council in 2012 approved the stadium deal, but the AEG rights expire in October. Asked if AEG would seek to extend the contract, Tanner said it was too early to say, though others with the company say it is likely it will seek additional time.

Yeah, that’ll do it. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Keeping Our Development Options Open Field!

Hey, everybody, it’s time to write about how L.A. still doesn’t have an NFL team again!

The Los Angeles Daily News has a long article about the fight to get an NFL team back in Los Angeles, but I’ll spare you reading all of it except the most important bit:

What the heck is going on and how closer are we today to enticing the NFL back to Los Angeles than we were a year or even six months ago?

The answer is difficult to gauge.

Sports columnist Vincent Bonsignore goes on for another 986 words, but doesn’t get any closer to gauging it. The life of a sports columnist, people.

Industry to spend $172m prepping land for nonexistent NFL stadium

Industry, California’s football stadium plan may still make smoke and mirrors look solid by comparison, but that’s not going to stop the city from spending $172 million on preparing the land and building infrastructure for it regardless, with work possibly starting as soon as this January. Because apparently according to the lease that Majestic Realty developer Ed Roski signed with the city back in so-long-ago-I-can’t-even-Google-it (2008, maybe? did the web even exist then?), in exchange for a share of the profits from the whatever it is that Roski builds there, the city has to pay for land prep and infrastructure, out of funds from the local Regional Development Authority that was officially abolished in 2011, but which is still committed to paying out on projects that were approved prior to then.

“Under that lease, there is an obligation to put in the infrastructure,” Industry city manager Kevin Radecki told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. “At a certain point, [the developer] will have to decide which direction they want to go.”

On the bright side, Industry barely has any residents — it was incorporated by a bunch of local companies (hence the name) in the 1950s, essentially as a tax dodge — so it’s not like there are schoolkids who are going to go without pencils as a result of this expense. Though given that the state of California has claimed that the money should be theirs since Roski’s plans aren’t yet finalized, you could certainly argue that schoolkids in, say, Oakland are being denied as a result. But it’ll all be worth it when the flying gondalas are ready.

Jerry Jones says L.A. NFL team “as close as ever” (make your own joke)

Today in all-time double entendre headlines:

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: NFL to Los Angeles ‘as close as it ever has been’

Jerry wants you to interpret this as “it’s close,” obviously, if only so that his fellow owners can scare their cities into building them new stadium. But if you’d rather read it this way, you’re welcome to do so.

L.A. to look at redoing convention center without stadium attached

In news that should surprise no one, the Los Angeles city council is investigating ways to redevelop the L.A. Convention Center in the event that AEG doesn’t go ahead with its NFL stadium plans. Which now looks pretty likely: Even though AEG owner Philip Anschutz announced earlier this month that he was backing off his planned sale of the company, he also announced that CEO Tim Leiweke, who was spearheading the stadium deal, was leaving the company — according to Forbes, possibly because Leiweke was trying to influence who ended up with the winning bid.

All of which makes for great intrigue, but for now, even though Anschutz says he’s going ahead with the NFL stadium plans, it’s got to be considered on life support. Add in that the NFL has hated the plan all along, and pursuing an independent expansion of the convention center probably makes the most sense — except that that’s probably a terrible idea as well.

Downtown L.A. stadium declared officially dead, unofficially

I’m not actually how to read this, as the official NFL position on AEG’s downtown Los Angeles stadium plan has been that they’ve hated it for a year and a half now, but: Yahoo! Sports is reporting that two “sources” (one of them a “league source”) are saying that the AEG plan is dead as far as the league is concerned, as “Unofficially, the NFL believes that the cost of the AEG plan, which the league believes will be at least $1.8 billion, will make it unworkable”:

“The numbers just don’t work, no matter how you look at the deal,” a league source said in February. “It’s either too hard for AEG to make money [and pay the debt on the stadium] or too hard for the team. I just can’t see a way for it to work.”

Again, nothing really new, except that the NFL is now sending off-the-record staffers to leak the word that really, it’s time to move on to other L.A. stadium proposals. Not to mention a decidedly on-the-record Marc Ganis, the NFL consultant who might as well be a league source, who pointedly told Yahoo!: “The focus on the sale of AEG has stalled the chance for people in the area to view potential other sites and opportunities. … If Los Angeles leaders don’t move on to look at other options it will only delay the return of the NFL to Los Angeles further, possibly even years longer.”

This might be a reasonable ploy to get L.A. moving on some other stadium possibilities — or at least vague rumors of possibilities — but it’s terrible timing for the Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, and any other NFL teams I may have left out that are currently using the “L.A. has a stadium deal ready to go!” threat to try to extract money from their current hometowns for new or renovated stadiums. I was just telling a reporter yesterday that these teams are all scrambling for stadium funds now because they have a limited window to use the L.A. threat before it either falls apart or somebody else moves there first; it looks like that window may have just begun to slide shut.