Los Angeles has been without professional football since Christmas Eve 1994, when both the Rams and the Raiders played their last games in the Southern California metro area. Two potential stadium developments in and around the city have renewed the possibility of the NFL's return to L.A., and commissioner Roger Goodell spelled out the ground rules for putting pro football there.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times obtained a memo from Goodell to all 32 NFL teams establishing the league's control over the process of returning football to Southland. That means teams like the San Diego Chargers or St. Louis Rams or any others involved in stadium talks can make the decision to relocate themselves.
Relocation commitments, fees, and any aspects related to putting down new roots in the L.A. market would be subject to approval from a three-quarters majority of team owners. In order to relocate, the NFL gave teams a checklist of things to accomplish.
Any team intending to relocate for the 2013 season would need to submit an application in the first month and a half of that year. They would also need to have a deal in place for an alternative site to play games while stadium construction happened.
A team would have to consult with and win the league's blessing for a new stadium site in L.A., with a clear rationale for why that location is superior to others, including options in the team's current market. The NFL would also require a marketing plan, naming right and a clear path to local revenues for the new stadium.
AEG is currently in the environmental impact review phase for plans on a stadium in downtown Los Angeles. A stadium site in the City of Industry, a few miles away from downtown, has passed through that phase of the project already. Neither stadium project has a team ready to land there, and whispers about the pros and cons of the financial arrangements of each site have circulated.
Nevertheless, those two stadium sites have spurred a renewed possibility for bringing the NFL back to L.A., something Goodell noted in his memo.
"Although substantial uncertainties remain," Goodell wrote in the two-page document obtained by The Times, "stadium development in Los Angeles has advanced to the point where the prospects for a new facility are better than they have been in many years."
Goodell's memo also noted that the league was "exploring the availability" of other stadium sites. Farmer mentions Carson and Hollywood Park. When the Los Angeles Dodgers were sold earlier this year, talk about the potential for an NFL facility at Chavez Ravine, where Dodger Stadium is located, bubbled up again.
Goodell's memo used the 2013 season, but any relocation at that point appears to be unlikely, and the terms would apply to subsequent years.