HOUSTON (Reuters) - A committee of National Football League owners recommended a proposal for a new stadium in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson that is backed by the San Diego Chargers, the NFL said on Tuesday.
The six-member panel’s recommendation still requires approval by NFL owners, who are in Houston to discuss bids by three teams to relocate to a massive market that has been without an NFL team since 1995.
The recommendation of Carson over a rival proposal for a stadium in Inglewood backed by the St. Louis Rams would appear to favor a plan from the Chargers, who are interested in partnering with the Oakland Raiders to share a facility.
The two-day special meeting in Houston of all 32 team owners began with the teams presenting their cases for relocating to Los Angeles, which could ultimately rearrange the landscape of the most popular U.S. professional sports league.
Teams still need approval from 24 of 32 owners in order to relocate. A compromise proposed by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to have the Chargers and Rams share the new stadium, is also being considered.
Los Angeles, the second-largest U.S. market, has been without an NFL team for 21 seasons, abandoned by both the St. Louis-bound Rams and the Raiders, who returned to Oakland, frustrated by an inability to get a new stadium.
While NFL owners tend to accept the suggestions of league committees, the Los Angeles relocation is a complex and high-stakes competition between three teams playing in antiquated home stadiums.
Walt Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, who is helping to spearhead the Carson proposal, told reporters during a break at Tuesday’s meeting that he thought shifting two teams to the area was the right move.
”If you’re bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles two is better than one,“ Iger said. ”First of all there will be home games virtually every week and secondly you give people in Los Angeles some choice in terms of rooting interest. I think it makes sense economically as well.”
The Chargers, who initiated the stadium project on the site of a former landfill, later teamed up with the Raiders in proposing a 65,000-seat stadium about 15 miles south of downtown Los Angeles which could expand by 10,000 to host a Super Bowl.
It is estimated to cost about $1.7 billion.
The Rams proposed a $1.86 billion stadium roughly 10 miles south of downtown Los Angeles with a 70,000-seat capacity expandable to 100,000, on the former site of the Hollywood Park racetrack.
Writing by Dan Burns and Larry Fine; Editing by David Gregorio and Frank Pingue