Why the Raiders Will Be Playing in Los Angeles in 2016 and the Rams Are Staying in St. Louis

Elias Trejo – Jan 6, 2016

The time has come for the owners to gather and vote on which project they prefer for the NFL's relocation to Los Angeles. In one corner you have mega-billionaire Stan Kroenke and his Inglewood proposal and in the other corner you have the tag team of Mark Davis and Dean Spanos and their Carson proposal. This is the classic handicap match that the WWE would be proud of. The unlikely partnership between the Chargers and Raiders is like when Hulk Hogan shocked everyone and joined the NWO. It was weird, didn't  make a lot of sense but it changed the landscape of wrestling.  Meanwhle, Kroenke is Golberg who doesn't lose, but is his time coming? 

Perhaps my point of view is simple and I'm falling for all of the easy clues, but I am a strong believer that the Carson project will be the winning project and here's why. 

Jerry Richardson and Bob Iger

According to Bob Iger, Jerry Richardson was part of the reason he came on board. He began his conversations with Richardson first and then the Chargers and Raiders. Richardson is part of the NFL relocation committee  which makes it a strange thing for him to be involved in the recruitment process of Iger. According to a memo from the NFL: the committee will evaluate the various stadium options available in Los Angeles, oversee the application of the relocation guidelines in the event that one or more clubs seek to move to Los Angeles, ensure proper coordination with other standing committees (including Broadcasting, CEC, Finance and Stadium), and confirm that all steps taken in Los Angeles are consistent with the Constitution and Bylaws and NFL policies.

But based on Richardson's public comments which have been as blatant as saying, "I support the Carson project," you get a sense that he may be in favor of the Carson project. For someone to be a part of the relocation committee and publicly support a project over the other and help recruit the leadership Carson needs to be supported by 24 owners, it appears he is doing more than evaluating the stadium options.

The relocation committee will present their findings to the owners next week and based on his comments and actions they may be trying to secure more votes towards Carson which already may have 18-20 votes according to Jason LaCanfora. 

Bob McNair

Another powerful owner who is not only part of the relocation committee but also a part of the NFL Finance Committee is Bob McNair. Once a certain project is approved the NFL team or teams that are approved to move will work with the finance committee on how the relocation fee will be paid. Many assume that this is something that will need to be paid cash before they move, but that's not the case. McNair who is the chair of the finance committee can help set the terms of how much and how the fees will be paid. It's important for a powerful member of both committees to be neutral. 

In a recent interview McNair said, “St. Louis, they have come up with a proposal that is getting pretty close, in my opinion, to being an attractive proposal.” He went on to say, “And if they do come up with an attractive proposal, then in my view, my personal opinion, I don’t think the Rams will receive the approval to relocate. So that would mean then you’d have two teams, San Diego and Oakland, that would be going into Carson, (Calif.). They have a partnership to build a stadium.”

Extra Money in St. Louis

St. Louis in their proposal have come up with an extra $100 million from the NFL and according to some reports that money has been promised by a couple of members of the NFL's Los Angeles Committee. So it appears that the owners in the committees are not just evaluating the best options, but they are making Carson the best option by providing solutions to make St. Louis work. Not only are they helping recruit leadership but they are also publicly supporting Carson and promising extra money to the city of St. Louis? That sounds a bit fishy to me. That's like coming in with a steel chair to Kroenke's back.

Now Roger Goodell has come out and said“No proposal has yet been presented to increase the available financing beyond the current $200 million maximum, and there can be no assurance that such a proposal would achieve the necessary support," but that may be why owners are meeting in New York, a week before the voting in Houston and it is the owners who decide whether they are willing to pay it or not. Don't put it past McNair, the chair of the finance and stadium committee to ok that extra $100 million.

Relocation Guidelines and Bylaws

Lost in all of this is the boring relocation guidelines that nobody seems to read, but will have a big impact on how the owners vote and decide on who moves. A sentence in the  second paragraph would seem to eliminate Kroenke almost immediately. 

"Article 4.3 also confirms that no club has an “entitlement” to relocate simply because it perceives an opportunity for enhanced club revenues in another location."

The narrative leading up to this has been, "Stan is rich so he can move his team where he wants too." That is completely false and against the guidelines. There are certain criteria that needs to be met to relocate, but maybe they drafted and voted on all of these just to throw them out the window when the next team relocated?

Below are a few of the named factors for relocation in the guidelines along with my translation of them and who they benefit.

Factor 3: 

The adequacy of the stadium in which the club played its home games in the previous season; the willingness of the stadium authority or the community to remedy any deficiencies in or to replace such facility, including whether there are legislative or referenda proposals pending to address these issues; and the characteristics of the stadium in the proposed new community;

The Rams stadium is not in worse shape than the Chargers or Raiders stadium and their is already a voted for and approved method to solve the stadium issue in St. Louis. That's not the case in San Diego or Oakland.

Factor 4:

The extent to which the club, directly or indirectly, received public financial support by means of any publicly financed playing facility, special tax treatment, or any other form of public financial support and the views of the stadium authority (if public) in the current community;

St. Louis is the only city out of the three that have come up with an approved proposal for public financing. They have also received a "promise" from NFL committee members for more money. The NFL will not punish a city if they have come up with money to help pay for a stadium. It wouldn't be a good look for them and wouldn't help in future negotiations with other stadiums.

Factor 6:

The degree to which the club has engaged in good faith negotiations (and enlisted the League office to assist in such negotiations) with appropriate persons concerning terms and conditions under which the club would remain in its current home territory and afforded that community a reasonable amount of time to address pertinent proposals;

It has appeared that Spanos and Davis have shown the league enough effort to stay in their home communities over the last few years. Kroenke hasn't really attempted "in good faith" to stay in St. Louis. However, despite Kroenke wanting to leave, St. Louis came up with a proposal before the NFL deadline and it appears to be close to what the NFL wants according to McNair, who is a part of the finance and relocation committees.

Factor 8:

Whether any other member club of the League is located in the community in which the club is currently located;

This benefits the Raiders because if they end up leaving, the market is still left with the 49ers so an entire market would not be left without a team. If the Rams leave St. Louis, the market would be left without a team and would be left with an approved stadium proposal that has public funding.

Factor 9:

Whether the club proposes to relocate to a community or region in which no other member club of the League is located; and the demographics of the community to which the team proposes to move;

Spanos has marked his claim on 25% of Los Angeles as a Chargers owner saying that a quarter of his business comes from the Los Angeles area. At first people thought he would block a move to Los Angeles, but now he is the one moving. If the Carson project wins, two teams would be in Southern California, which is a larger market than St. Louis and the Bay Area. So the NFL would still have a team in each market which means more money for them.

Factor 10:

The degree to which the interests reflected in the League’s collectively negotiated contracts and obligations (e.g., labor agreements, broadcast agreements) might be advanced or adversely affected by the proposed relocation, either standing alone or considered on a cumulative basis with other completed or proposed relocations;

The league would benefit much more from having the Raiders and Chargers move to Los Angeles because it would give them more muscle when negotiating future broadcasting deals. By moving the Raiders and Chargers the NFL gains the Los Angeles Market and will keep a portion of the San Diego market because the Chargers would be involved. 

The Bay Area is less than half the size of the Southern California market so downsizing to one team wouldn't hurt as much because the NFL still has a team there. Meanwhile, the St. Louis market wouldn't lose a team, so the overall gain in potential viewership from local markets would grow if the Carson project wins because the NFL won't leave a market without a team. As the potential viewership of local markets grows for the NFL, they gain more potential revenue from future broadcasting deals. 

Final Thoughts

I believe there will be a vote next week and the Carson Project will get the necessary 24 votes. Some reports mention that it's possible that Carson would win, but they don't know who the second team involved would be. That sounds pretty stupid considering that the Raiders are in a partnership with the Chargers so it's not really a secret who that second team would be. If Carson wins, both teams go not just one.  Many say the NFL doesn't want the Raiders in LA. Well that theory will be tested next week and likely proven to be false. 

The NFL committees have their fingerprints all over the Carson project and that's why it shouldn't be a surprise if you hear that the Los Angeles Raiders are back. It makes most sense to move the two California teams to Los Angeles when they are the two teams who need a new stadium the most and are the two teams out of the three that didn't have an approved stadium proposal with public funding before the vote next week.

For more opinions on the Raiders and NFL follow me on Twitter: @Elias_Trejo



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