With the NFL nearing a point where it must get behind one of the competing Los Angeles stadium projects and October’s fall meeting shaping up as one of the more compelling in years, there is a popularity contest of sorts going on between the owners hoping to be Los Angeles-bound.
Ultimately, the league will be suggesting (steering?) votes to either Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s project in Inglewood or the Carson project backed by Chargers owner Dean Spanos and Raiders owner Mark Davis.
However, high-ranking sources have continued to stress not to be too wedded to those couplings as things could change over time and other owners possibly paired together on one of the projects.
Many of the old-guard owners, who have watched Spanos take a team-first approach over the years and who has done right by many of them, favor Spanos on a personal level and would be inclined to support his project.
Kroenke faces more of an uphill struggle in that regard, but does have one outgoing, powerful benefactor: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Jones continues to champion Kroenke’s project both publically and privately. And while Jones is not a member of the LA-committee commissioner Roger Goodell put together -- some would say by design -- he does hold considerable sway and he tends to follow the bottom line when choosing allegiances. Jones hosted the Rams, and not the Raiders (as had been the case in recent years), during the Cowboys’ extended stay in Oxnard, Calif., for camp this summer.
It is widely known in league circles that Jones is championing the Inglewood project. Multiple sources said the men also have an outside business partnership on a project totally unrelated to football, though a Rams official refuted that notion and said they have no business ties.
“Jerry will follow the money (in terms of how he votes for NFL matters), and Jerry is very attracted to the mega-rich,” said one source.
The NFL will have to get behind one of these proposals by December, and there remains much to iron out between now and then. No one knows exactly what the final outcome will be, and as we get closer to 2016, it looks more and more like anything is negotiable.
This race has already made for some strange bedfellows as it is. By the October meeting there should be at least more of a sense as to which way the league is leaning, and the teams interested in moving will need ample time to assess the NFL’s potential relocation fee and other stipulations that could be placed on any club seeking to leave its current market.