NFL’s Los Angeles Committee favors Chargers-Raiders bid over Rams

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NEW YORK  — As three NFL teams vie for a move to Los Angeles, a powerful committee has issued guidance that appears to benefit the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders.

During an owners meeting on Tuesday, the Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities — made up of six of the league’s most powerful owners — advised the rest of the league’s franchise owners that the Chargers and Raiders’ proposed stadium in Carson (just south of Los Angeles) was preferable to the St. Louis Rams’ proposed stadium in Inglewood.

The guidance is no guarantee of outcome, however. The final decision be determined when the league’s 32 team owners hold a vote, which will likely take place either later Tuesday or Wednesday.

But the committees’ guidance is significant: Heading into this week’s meetings in Houston, neither the Rams nor the Chargers-Raiders coalition had secured the 24 votes necessary to secure approval for a move to L.A.

In addition to being a boon to the Chargers and the Raiders, Tuesday’s guidance indicates that the Rams’ hopes for an Inglewood stadium may be out of the running.

It is important to note, however, that the league’s owners may reach an agreement for a third option, one that brings the Chargers and the Rams to Los Angeles and leaves the Raiders in Oakland.

NFL spokespeople declined to comment on the recommendation.

The Rams’ Inglewood proposal, which was seen as the most likely option early last year, had lost support in recent months as the Chargers and Raiders built support among several of their fellow owners. The Inglewood stadium also faced scrutiny from the Federal Aviation Administration, given its proximity to Los Angeles International Airport.

Dean Spanos, the president and CEO of the Chargers, and the son of the owner, is widely respected by the other owners. Spanos is also seen as the most deserving candidate because he’s spent decades in San Diego’s subpar Qualcomm Stadium — and nearly 10 years fighting for a new venue.

Spanos’ partner in the proposal, Raiders owner Mark Davis, adds what one source referred to as “negative leverage.” His team brings in the second-lowest revenues in the league, according to Forbes, which means the league’s more successful owners — who end up having to compensate for the Raiders’ expenses — are eager to find a solution.

Spanos and Davis also have the added weight of Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, who in November was tapped to serve as the Carson effort’s non-executive chairman. As one of the most powerful and influential men in the entertainment industry, and in Los Angeles, Iger brings additional heft to the Chargers and Raiders’ proposal.”

But Rams owner Stan Kroenke has his own leverage. His money and his business acumen are widely respected. There is little doubt among those involved that Kroenke could amass the nine votes needed to block the other teams from moving to Los Angeles if he wanted to do so.

Which means that no team can win a ticket to Los Angeles unless Kroenke is convinced not to block the effort. That means that the Rams will either need to be included in the relocation — alone or along with the Chargers — or be given enough incentives in St. Louis to stand down.

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