NFL in no rush on L.A. sta­dium

The league will not make a de­ci­sion on the projects at the May own­ers meet­ings.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - SAM FARMER ON THE NFL sam.farmer@la­times.com Twit­ter: @LATimes­farmer

It’ll prob­a­bly be at least six months be­fore league picks a plan to sup­port.

The com­pet­ing NFL sta­dium pro­pos­als in In­gle­wood and Car­son have made sig­nif­i­cant progress in re­cent months, but that doesn’t mean the league is ready to choose one of the projects any time soon.

There will not be a sta­dium vote at the own­ers meet­ings in May, and it prob­a­bly will be a min­i­mum of six months be­fore the league de­cides which plan to sup­port.

NFL Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent Eric Grub­man, the league’s point man on L.A., dis­missed con­jec­ture that a vote of own­ers is im­mi­nent, say­ing “that’s based on the fact there’s been an aw­ful lot of progress made on the two sites in Los An­ge­les, and it’s be­gin­ning to be tan­gi­ble.”

“But the fact is we’re not plan­ning for a vote in May or any time soon,” Grub­man said. “We have a process. It’s de­lib­er­ate. There are steps that need to be taken, and I think that’s much more likely to be later in this cal­en­dar year at the soon­est.”

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke has pro­posed a sta­dium as part of a larger hous­ing and re­tail devel­op­ment at Hol­ly­wood Park. The San Diego Charg­ers and Oak­land Raiders have joined forces to sup­port a com­pet­ing plan at Car­son. To get the green light from the league, a plan would need the sup­port of three­quar­ters of the 32 team own­ers.

At the an­nual own­ers meet­ings in Phoenix last month, Grub­man con­ducted an hour­long pre­sen­ta­tion to bring own­ers up to speed on the L.A. sit­u­a­tion. The own­ers will con­vene again in San Fran­cisco in mid-May, and L.A. again will be one of the top­ics. Grub­man plans to have rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the In­gle­wood and Car­son plans make their own gen­eral pre­sen­ta­tions, though the brief­ings are not ex­pected to be too de­tailed.

Grub­man said the league will not be ready to vote on the pro­pos­als un­til the de­sign and fi­nanc­ing plans are com­plete, and a tem­po­rary L.A. venue (such as the Coli­seum or Rose Bowl) has been ar­ranged. He said those check­list items could be com­pleted by Septem­ber, but more likely Oc­to­ber or Novem­ber.

As it stands, the Hol­ly­wood Park project is fur­ther along than Car­son, and has the nec­es­sary en­ti­tle­ments to begin con­struc­tion. The Charg­ers and Raiders are ex­pected to have iden­ti­cal en­ti­tle­ments from Car­son in the com­ing weeks.

Whereas Kroenke’s ar­chi­tects have been work­ing on his project for the bet­ter part of a year, the Charg­ers and Raiders have been col­lab­o­rat­ing on their com­bined vi­sion for the last six weeks. The orig­i­nal sta­dium ren­der­ings shown when they an­nounced their pro­posal in Fe­bru­ary were pro­duced only by the Charg­ers, with­out in­put from the Raiders.

What’s hap­pen­ing with the L.A. pro­pos­als is only part of the story. The NFL is si­mul­ta­ne­ously look­ing at the cur­rent home mar­kets of the Rams, Charg­ers and Raiders, and what those cities are do­ing to keep their teams.

“We’ve been en­cour­aged by what we’ve seen in St. Louis, and it’s too early to tell in San Diego and Oak­land,” said Grub­man, who plans to be in San Diego and Oak­land this month to check progress.

Asked whether the process has moved along quickly to this point, Grub­man said: “I wouldn’t use the word ‘quickly.’ I would say that the pace has picked up, but I don’t view it as hur­ried. It’s very de­lib­er­ate. We and the clubs have built mo­men­tum, and that mo­men­tum seems like it will con­tinue.”

‘There are steps that need to be taken, and I think that’s much more likely to be later in this cal­en­dar year at the soon­est.’ — Eric Grub­man NFL ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent

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