NFL owners to pick winners, losers in L.A. relocation bids
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - With the National Football League poised to award Los Angeles a team - and maybe two - owners also face the delicate task of picking at least one loser.
Three franchises - the St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders - applied on Monday to relocate, the first time any team has formally requested to fill the L.A. vacancy since the Raiders and Rams left the region in 1995.
The owners likely will green-light at least one relocation this week, sports business experts say. The bigger debate may be whether L.A., already saturated with sports and entertainment options, can support two NFL teams.
Any decision leaves at least one team trying to repair strained relations with fans and officials back home.
"The teams going back to their home markets … that is a problem," said Marc Ganis, president and founder of Chicago-based sports business consulting firm SportsCorp.
The Rams may face the most trouble at home: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch just published a dartboard featuring owner Stan Kroenke’s face after the team trashed the city’s stadium proposal and its economy in its relocation application.
All three teams would clearly rather start packing for Los Angeles. Unlike many franchises in the past - more than a dozen have threatened an L.A. move - these teams do not appear to be using L.A. as a negotiating ploy to secure more public money in their current cities.
"It’s been 14 years that we’ve been working very hard to try and get something done here," said Chargers owner Dean Spanos earlier this week. "We’ve had nine different proposals that we’ve made, and all of them were basically rejected by the city.” Continued...