After years of waiting and months of speculation, NFL fans in Los Angeles finally got their answer. The NFL will come to Los Angeles via the St. Louis Rams and their stadium proposal in Inglewood. The San Diego Chargers hold the option of joining them in Inglewood, but the league shot down the joint proposal in Carson, submitted by them and the Oakland Raiders.
When the two separate Los Angeles stadium plans surfaced, the NFL said they would create a situation where all three franchises emerged as winners.
However, it is hard to create a win-win situation with millions of dollars and large egos at stake. Clearly, there are some winners and losers from a saga which three franchises proposed solutions to end Los Angeles’ 2o-plus-years NFL drought.
1. Rams owner Stan Kroenke
Clearly, Kroenke emerged victorious from the Houston Owners’ Meetings where the NFL decided which relocation project would continue in Los Angeles. Kroenke will get credit for ending the 20 year period where the NFL vacated Los Angeles. He also deserves credit for bringing an original Los Angeles team back to their home area.
Moreover, Kroenke will make lots of money from this project. The real estate billionaire also plans to develop the surrounding area with offices and retail. He builds a state-of-the-art stadium next to a concert hall and casino, which will make Inglewood the new center of Los Angeles.
Not to mention, the NFL forces any team seeking a new stadium in Los Angeles to go through Kroenke. Chargers owner Dean Spanos lost all leverage in trying to become a partner in Los Angeles with Kroenke. If Spanos wants a stadium in Los Angeles, he will have to negotiate on Kroenke’s terms because he no longer holds other options.
2. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
What Jerry wants, Jerry gets. The Cowboys owner endorsed the Inglewood project early in the relocation process. Then, Jones wrote the letter which proposed a marriage between the Rams and Chargers in Inglewood.
Well, Jones got his wish. Again, the Chargers can join the Rams anytime within the next year, thanks to Jones.
His motive was never really clear, as Jones did not have a horse in the race. Did Jones truly want the best for the league by wanting the superior pockets of Kroenke?
Either way, the Cowboy’s owner proved his significance among owners and the league.
3. The Media
It should not come as a surprise that the media also walks away a winner. How many website posts and hours of talk radio did the media fill with all this talk about the Los Angeles?
The non-football market milked all speculation surrounding the NFL to L.A. It seemed like a new front-runner emerged each week and month. This gave the No. 2 media market local news to talk about during NFL segments.
Every columnist had a hot take and every reporter on Twitter had sources. NBC’s Fred Roggin always said it would come down to the Chargers and Rams sharing a stadium in Carson. Hence, Roggin walks away a winner too. Now we can listen to the local news man and radio host boast about it.
After a twenty year absence from the NFL, owners found a resolution for the Los Angeles market after one day in Houston? Fans were the ones who were strung-along listening to sources and reporters flip-flop on results. It was a gut-retching experience for all those fans who hoped their team would not leave.
It was just as bad for fans in Los Angeles who were let-down by several previous stadium proposals over the years. Now, Los Angeles fans will carry the burden of supporting two NFL franchises. That seems like easy task in a large market like Los Angeles, but do NFL Owners know the cost of living here? Plus, there are many other entertaining options. Just ask the Clippers and Angels who list plenty of cheap tickets on the secondary market.
Then there are the fans in Oakland and San Diego who might feel relieved. Yet, it is a false hope as neither team is closer to a new stadium. Fans in Oakland and San Diego will continue facing an ambiguous future for their favorite teams.
Regardless, St. Louis fans are clearly the biggest losers. They lose a team after pledging more than $300 million in public funds. They lose their Rams after two Superbowl appearances during the 1990s and 2000s. To make matters worst, the Rams franchise destroyed the market in a 29-page document detailing their reasons for moving.
All the NFL Owners
Remember, this group of millionaires rewarded a franchise to Houston before Los Angeles. Then Kroenke came in and solved the Los Angeles problem in just a few years, when these guys could not find a solution after 20 years? Kroenke did not just win the battle for Los Angeles. He made all the other owners look dumb too.
The night before the NFL officially decided with a vote of all owners, their seven-team Los Angeles relocation committee voted in favor of the Carson project. Then, Kroenke essentially threw a fit by threatening litigation and relocating anyways. Just like that, the script flipped and the Rams owner got his way.
What happened to the “good-ol boys” club that is the NFL Owners? Half a billion in relocation fees was enough to turn their backs on the historic franchises of the Chargers and Raiders?
Speaking of those franchises, they really walked away losers. Spanos must swallow his pride and play ball with Kroenke, despite his trust issues with the Rams owner. Otherwise, Spanos must keep running in circles with the city of San Diego.
As for Davis, he goes back to the drawing board completely. It seemed like he might walk away the unsung winner. Some speculated he would receive a big check for dissolving the partnership with the Chargers. Instead, he and Spanos walkaway losers with a measly $100 million to show for their Carson proposal. That does not bridge the gap between their stadium wants and public funding in either home market.
No one knows if these teams will even return to their home markets for 2016.
Bob Iger, Carmen Policy and city of Carson
One does not become CEO of Disney by taking many losses. Nonetheless, Disney CEO Iger lobbied hard for the Carson proposal that he became Chairman of. That could not save his proposal from getting anymore than nine votes of NFL owners.
As for the city of Carson, it seemed like they had a practical proposal. They brought big investors like Iger and Policy. The city even renamed the street where the stadium planned on going. Regardless, their shot at bringing the NFL to Los Angeles is dead.
In the end, the NFL will profit from moving back to Los Angeles. Los Angeles NFL fans will also celebrate having football back. Meanwhile, owners will find new stadiums at some point. St. Louis fans will forgive the NFL’s betrayal too. Hence, this could wind-up as a win-win for the NFL.
At the moment, there are still plenty of losers from the the aftermath of the NFL to L.A. saga.
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