Los Angeles Plans To Be Detailed For NFL Committee Next Week
Back in early February, the league formed an official consideration committee to oversee developments regarding the Los Angeles stadium issue. Next week, that committee will be presented with the details of the two major plans currentlybeing floated to support an NFL team in LA: Stan Kroenke's planned Inglewood stadium and the joint Chargers/Raiders proposal in Carson.
The meeting will allow the committee to examine the finer details of both plans covering architecture, financing and any political interferences.
The big key for St. Louis-based Rams fans? This passage:
NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman will update the league’s six-owner Los Angeles committee on the efforts in the teams’ current home markets to keep the franchises in those cities. Grubman is the league executive charged with overseeing the NFL’s Los Angeles process.
"The committee expects details, progress reports, design plans, financing, risk factors, what to expect and when," said one source close to the committee. That would constitute by far the most thorough update the six owners have received since NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed them to the committee in February.
As has always been the case, St. Louis' best ally in keeping the Rams in St. Louis isn't the Rams. It's the league and other franchises. But bear in mind the key language here:
Eric Grubman: "What a team has to do is engage in a good-faith effort," not "exhaust all possibilities" regarding relocation. #nfl #chargers— Annie Heilbrunn (@annieheilbrunn) April 14, 2015
Grubman was speaking to Heilbrunn primarily on the San Diego stadium issue, but that bottom line holds for St. Louis as well. The line that many have carried was that the Rams wouldn't be allowed to live while St. Louis continues to press ahead with the riverfront stadium proposal (the funding for which has still yet to be fully resolved, save for a super secret mystery investor...). Clearly, that's not the case. As Grubman alluded to with San Diego:
Grubman says city not wasting its time with advisory group; also said "good-faith effort" could be shown with 10+ years of #Chargers trying.— Annie Heilbrunn (@annieheilbrunn) April 14, 2015
Certainly, you could argue the same on behalf of the Rams.
In any case, the encumbrances slowing a move to Los Angeles are becoming few and very, very flimsy.
Atlanta Stadium Costs Now 50% Over Initial Estimate
For both our St. Louis and Los Angeles readers (and voters...), it's worth keeping this nugget in the back of your mind as we head into the stretch drive of this issue.
Atlanta's new stadium, expected to open in 2017, will cost $450m more than initially proposed. They're already taking in $200m of public money (through tourism tax vehicles), but that was capped from the initial plan. So where is the remaining money coming from? Their owner's pockets (or the Falcons, the NFL or other financiers, but let's be real).
So consider the St. Louis plan, which (a) doesn't even have any viable means to finance the full costs as yet (save for the super secret mystery investor), (b) would likely require any financier to be prepared to go well over their initial planned investment, and (c) doesn't include this awesome yet weird robot anus at the top of the stadium (yes, that's a roboanus).
As for LA...I'm pretty sure Stan Kroenke has plenty of jack to suffice.
In any case, it's worth holding on to a little skepticism when the financials begin to take shape after the aforementioned meetings next week.
Houston Stadium Infighting Over Super Bowl Renovations
This one gave me a bit of a chuckle at their own expense.
Apparently, the Texans and the city of Houston are being pressured to get up to $50m in renovations done for Super Bowl LI in early 2017. The Harris County Commissioner has vowed not to use public money to support the renovations though which leaves either the Texans or the rodeo (as the two tenants of NRG Stadium) left to foot the bill. Bear in mind, the selection of NRG Stadium to host the game came after Florida legislators opted not to spend taxpayer coin for renovations to Miami's Sun Life Stadium. Irony chuckles for those so inclined.
But for St. Louis Rams fans who have seen the decay of a lease agreement with a "top tier" provision, this is for the schadenfreuders among you:
A clause in that lease agreement says the county must maintain the facility in "first class" condition and "a manner comparable to other stadiums." At the time of the 2004 Super Bowl, the stadium was just 2 years old.
Oh man. Have fun with that, Houstonians.