Chargers React To New Proposal To Build NFL Stadium In LA
With yet another proposal unveiled Monday to build a large sports stadium in the Los Angeles area, the man helping the Chargers search for a new playing facility said team officials continue to believe their business would be harmed if another National Football League franchise moved to Southern California.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who bought 60 acres adjacent to The Forum in Inglewood a year ago, has joined forces with the owners of the 238-acre Hollywood Park site, Stockbridge Capital Group. They plan to add an 80,000-seat NFL stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue to the already-massive development of retail, office, hotel and residential space, Stockbridge and the Kroenke Group told the Los Angeles Times.
The announcement is the latest in more than a dozen stadium proposals that have come and gone in the two-decade effort to bring an NFL franchise back to the nation's second-largest media market. But Kroenke's move marks the first time an existing team owner has controlled a site large enough for a stadium and parking.
The Rams and Oakland Raiders, both of which used to play in Los Angeles, are frequently mentioned as candidates to move there, as are the Chargers.
The Hollywood Park Land Co. — a joint venture between Stockbridge Capital Group, a real estate investment management firm, and the Kroenke Group real estate development firm — said the Inglewood stadium would be built regardless of whether an NFL team wants to move there.
The project requires the approval of voters in Inglewood, a city near Los Angeles International Airport that is already the home of the Forum, a concert venue that was previously home to the Lakers and Los Angeles Kings.
The announcement of a planned stadium and Kroenke's involvement sparked immediate buzz about a possible return of the NFL to Los Angeles. Such a move, however, would require approval from the league.
In a series of emails with City News Service, Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani said, "We really don't have much new to say today. We have in the past addressed the problems created for the Chargers if another team, or teams, relocates to LA."
In October, owner Dean Spanos told Sports Business Daily that roughly 25 percent to 30 percent of the franchise's business comes from Los Angeles and Orange counties.
"Putting a team in there right now, or two teams, would would have a huge impact on our business going forward," Spanos told the publication. "So we are trying to protect our business in San Diego. ... It would really be harmful to us."
Spanos also said he's discussed the issue with fellow owners and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Fabiani said the Chargers are in "regular contact" with representatives of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer regarding the team's desire for a new playing facility.
At the San Diego County inauguration Monday morning, Supervisor Ron Roberts mentioned partnering with the city of San Diego on a new stadium.
The team has been looking around the county for a new home for more than a dozen years, with the most recent ideas being a site near Petco Park in the East Village or incorporating a stadium into an expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.
U-T San Diego reported recently that Faulconer would unveil a Chargers stadium plan sometime this month. Fabiani said discussions with the mayor's office are in a "preliminary" stage, and there is no proposal for San Diego that they know about.
Kroenke, a billionaire who built his fortune in real estate, has the ability to move quickly, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Rams can choose later this month to convert their lease in St. Louis to year-to-year.
The Rams declined comment on any plans to move, but it's no secret that the team is unhappy in the Edward Jones Dome, which is outdated by current NFL standards.
Kroenke's Inglewood plans ratchet up pressure on St. Louis to either strike a deal for a new stadium or watch the team return to Southern California, where it played from 1946 to 1994, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Under their current deal, the Rams can end their 30-year lease a decade early because they have not reached an agreement with St. Louis officials on improvements to the stadium, the Los Angeles Times reported. The sides remain about $575 million apart. St. Louis is expected to offer the team a new proposal by month's end.