Proposed Los Angeles NFL stadiums
Over the 20-year absence of the National Football League from Los Angeles many proposals were made for stadiums that would attract a NFL team to the Los Angeles Area. The trend began in 1995 when a stadium planned to be built in Hollywood Park was rejected by Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis in favor of relocating back to Oakland, California due to a stipulation he would have had to share the stadium with a future second team.
It was SoFi Stadium in Inglewood that the league ultimately accepted in a January 2016 meeting. The stadium when completed will be the home of the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers. The acceptance of the Inglewood project with teams signed to move in killed the other stadium projects. This article covers the numerous stadium proposals for Los Angeles between 1995 and 2016.
1999 expansion team plans
In early May 1998, entertainment guru Michael Ovitz announced he would lead a largely privately financed $750 million project to build a stadium in Carson, California in hopes of landing the expansion team.
In late October 1998, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced that the NFL owners would indeed expand the league to 32 teams, and would decide by April 1999 which city would be awarded the NFL expansion franchise. Meanwhile, Ovitz now had competition coming from his own market, as real estate developer Ed Roski announced a rival bid for a future Los Angeles team; his proposal centered around putting a 68,000-seat stadium inside the shell of the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
On March 16, 1999, the NFL owners, by a 29–2 vote, approved a resolution to award Los Angeles the expansion 32nd franchise. However, the award was contingent on the city's putting together an acceptable ownership team and stadium deal by September 15; if the parties could not reach an agreement or be close to doing so, the committee would then turn its recommendation to Houston who had also put in an expansion team bid to replace the departed Houston Oilers.
A month later, NFL executives flew to Los Angeles. The executives were shocked at the lack of progress – Los Angeles would not allow tax dollars to be used for a new stadium, the competing groups were locked in a standoff as neither would concede its bid to the other nor would the groups agree to combine their efforts in attempts to put together a deal, and neither group was prepared to build a state-of-the-art facility, which rival expansion team bidder Houston had promised in all its bids since 1997.
A return visit in late May yielded little change – Ovitz and Roski were still locked in a standoff; Roski's bid remained unchanged since the onset, while Ovitz unveiled plans to turn the area around the Coliseum into a 60-acre (240,000 m2) complex of parks, parking garages, shopping areas and a brand-new stadium. Though Tagliabue and the NFL officials were pleased with the concept, they were daunted by the cost which included $225 million for parking garages, especially since neither Los Angeles nor the State of California was willing to commit the necessary funds. At this point, Tagliabue expressed his frustration with Los Angeles’ inability to get a plan together, and the next month he advised Houston bidder Bob McNair to resume his discussions with the expansion committee.
On September 9, 1999, the league's expansion committee indicated that McNair and other Houston officials should be prepared to attend an October 6 meeting of the NFL owners in Atlanta. The NFL noted that the Los Angeles effort was still making no progress and now featured a three-way battle between Ovitz, Roski, and newcomer Marvin Davis. Although the league would still entertain an offer from any of the competing Los Angeles groups, the league would now consider an offer from McNair and Houston as well.
In the first week of October, Ovitz announced that his group was prepared to offer $540 million for the 32nd NFL franchise to be awarded to Los Angeles. However, later that week, McNair's Houston NFL Holdings proposed a bid of $700 million to the owners for the NFL to award the 32nd franchise to Houston instead; on the morning of October 6, 1999, McNair's persistence finally paid off as the NFL owners voted 29–0 to accept McNair's higher offer leading to the creation of the Houston Texans.
Dodger Stadium parking lot (2005)
Several other sites were mentioned as possible locations for a new stadium. Then Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt had expressed interest in building a new football stadium next to Dodger Stadium (which is also near downtown Los Angeles). Angel Stadium of Anaheim was reconfigured as a baseball-only park in the mid-1990s, but there have been proposals to build a new football stadium next to it. The Dodger Stadium parking lot had been discussed by NFL owners, in private, as possibly being the best site in Southern California to build a new professional football stadium. Officials with the Dodgers and the NFL met in secret twice in 2005 to discuss the possibility of constructing a stadium and retail complex adjacent to Dodger Stadium. After the Boston Herald reported the details of the plan, political pressure forced both the NFL and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt to deny that either party was aggressively pursuing the idea.
Los Angeles Stadium in Industry (2008)
Grand Crossing, California
|Owner||Edward P. Roski|
|Capacity||75,000 (estimated, expandable to 80,000 for Super Bowl games)|
|Construction cost||$800 million (estimated)|
|Architect||Aedas Sport and Dan Meis, FAIA|
Los Angeles Stadium was a proposed 75,000-seat football stadium, the centerpiece of a 600-acre entertainment district in Industry, California. Edward P. Roski, a part-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA and Los Angeles Kings of the NHL, announced plans for the stadium on the northern side of the interchange of state routes 57 and 60, 22 miles (35 km) east of Downtown Los Angeles with the purpose of attracting an NFL team to the Los Angeles region. Upon construction, the district would be named Grand Crossing, California.
The Industry proposal, which received a full approval from all regulatory authorities but never found a willing team to move into the proposed stadium, sat dormant from 2011 until the Inglewood proposal was approved.
Roski, who helped build Staples Center, stated that the new 75,000-seat stadium would be privately financed and would be the centerpiece of a new 600-acre entertainment and retail complex in Industry which would have included 25,000 ample on-site parking spaces. The proposed stadium and mixed-use development was designed by Dan Meis, FAIA, and Aedas Sport out of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County site would have put it in reach of 12 million people in a 25-mile (40 km) radius, including in Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties, San Gabriel Valley and the San Fernando Valley. Roski and his spokesman have asserted that a football stadium in the city could mean as much as $400 million in yearly revenue to businesses and bring more than 18,000 jobs to the area. Project supporters asserted that aspects of the stadium design, such as the use of hilly terrain to vastly reduce the cost of construction and the multi-use capabilities of the planned surrounding development, as well as Roski's success in gaining support from local elected officials in the City of Industry, where the proposed stadium site is located, gave the plan a strong possibility of success. Project critics asserted that it required more public funding than had been stated, and questioned the costs and benefits of the project.
Roski said he would not break ground on the stadium until he has a commitment from an NFL team to move to Los Angeles. In exchange for footing the bill to construct the stadium, Roski wanted at least a 30% ownership stake in any team that moved to Los Angeles to play there.
Given that the National Football League was not planning on expanding the developers of the new stadium stated on their website that their tenant would be an existing team "that needs to move because they cannot build a new stadium or financially they are not successful in their current market. We can not disclose which teams we are talking with." The three teams which used to play in Los Angeles but moved elsewhere (the San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders, the first two of which would eventually move back to Los Angeles) were suspected possible tenants. The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Minnesota Vikings had also been identified by Roski and others as possible prime tenants of the new stadium. The Minnesota Vikings were officially taken out of the race after a financial package providing for construction of a new stadium in Minneapolis was approved by both the Minnesota State Legislature and the Minneapolis City Council. The Jaguars also became no longer an option for Roski. Wayne Weaver, during his press conference announcement of selling the Jaguars to Shahid Khan during mid-season in 2011, explained that Roski did call him in an attempt to buy the team, but was instantly turned down, saying "It was a waste of my time and his". Khan said that he wants to put the city of Jacksonville on the map and had no plans to move the team. The Buffalo Bills were also considered a potential relocation candidate, but the city of Buffalo was able to force the team to sign an ironclad lease in 2012 prohibiting them from relocating and, through political and community pressure, dissuaded all Los Angeles-based prospective buyers from bidding on the team when it came up for sale in 2014, eventually selling to Terry and Kim Pegula.
On February 28, 2009 the City of Industry city council approved the environmental impact report 5-0. The neighboring cities of Diamond Bar and Walnut both expressed concerns about the noise, traffic, and environmental impacts of the proposed stadium. Walnut and a Walnut-based citizens group comprising eight homeowners filed lawsuits to block the project, but were unsuccessful.
On April 8, 2009 the city of Diamond Bar unanimously approved a legal settlement that granted it more than $21 million in exchange for dropping objections to the stadium. Diamond Bar City Council members approved the agreement with the City of Industry. The settlement included $20 million to deal with increased traffic from the stadium and $1 million for a middle school athletic field. Diamond Bar also would have received at least $700,000 per year from Industry for community facilities as long as the stadium remained in operation.
On September 23, 2009 the city of Walnut reached a settlement with the City of Industry and the stadium developer. A group of Walnut citizens refused to settle its lawsuit. The group insisted that the stadium have a domed roof and special freeway exits. On October 14, 2009 the state Senate approved a bill to exempt the proposed stadium from state environmental law, effectively killing the lawsuit filed by the citizen group. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill shortly thereafter. This move cleared the last regulatory hurdle for the project: the only remaining barrier (aside from the financing) was the "small" (where others have failed previously) detail of finding an NFL team to fill the stadium.
Jon Semcken III, a representative of Majestic Realty Group of Los Angeles, claimed in December 2009 that the company had a 50% chance of luring at least one existing NFL team to Los Angeles in time for the 2010 season, and that they were certain to have one by 2011. However, no teams moved to L.A. in either of those years. A tenant would have had to find a temporary home for at least one season (like the Rams and Chargers did when they moved back to Los Angeles) while the stadium was built.
Shortly after the Inglewood stadium was chosen, Roski shifted focus to Las Vegas, where what is now known as Allegiant Stadium was being proposed for the Raiders. He withdrew his involvement from the project in October 2016.
Farmers Field (2010)
|Former names||Los Angeles Events Center|
|Location||South Figueroa Street |
|Owner||Anschutz Entertainment Group|
|Capacity||72,000 (estimated) (expandable to 76,000 for special events, e.g. Super Bowl)|
|Construction cost||US$1.2 billion (estimated)|
Farmers Field was a proposed sports and events stadium in Downtown Los Angeles, California, United States, at the current site of the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center, adjacent to Staples Center.
The project was spearheaded in 2010 by outgoing Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) president Tim Leiweke and former Los Angeles Avengers owner Casey Wasserman. The project marked AEG's second attempt at building a stadium there following a similar proposal in 2002. The Los Angeles City Council approved the project in a 12-0 vote in 2012, with the hope of the region fielding an NFL team for the first time since the Rams and Raiders left the Los Angeles area.
AEG abandoned the project in March 2015, after the Oakland Raiders, the San Diego Chargers, and the St. Louis Rams (the three most likely candidates for relocation) all proposed their own stadium plans in the event they were to relocate to Los Angeles. Farmers Insurance owned the potential naming rights to the stadium.
ICON Venue Group, a firm in the sports and entertainment industry, was hired by AEG to represent them in the entitlement process with the city of Los Angeles in February 2011. ICON had originally partnered with AEG in 2002 for AEG's first stadium proposal attempt. That project was to be located on the same site of AEG's current proposal. The new proposal was that the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center would be torn down and rebuilt further south at a cost of US$350 million. Following the completion of the rebuilt West Hall, construction of a 72,000-seat retractable roof stadium would have begun over the 15 acre site. AEG expected to begin construction of the stadium by March 2013 and be completed by late 2016. Though the stadium itself was to be financed by AEG, the company proposed that the cost of the rebuilt West Hall of the convention center be funded by city issued bonds, which would have been repaid by taxes assessed on events in the proposed stadium as well as rent paid by AEG for using the land the stadium would have been on. The proposed stadium was suggested as a possible venue for future Super Bowls and NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championships. In December 2010, Magic Johnson announced his partnership with AEG's proposal after selling his minority stake in the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team and multiple Starbucks coffeehouse locations.
The project announced in mid-2010 was initially projected at a cost of US$750 million. The feasibility of constructing a 72,000-seat (expandable to 76,000 seats for special events such as the Super Bowl) retractable roof stadium at the announced cost came into question when compared to the two newest facilities of the NFL, AT&T Stadium and MetLife Stadium, which were built at a cost of US$1.3 and US$1.6 billion, respectively. Shortly thereafter, Leiweke set a formal timeline for the proposed project. The project's estimated total cost was US$1.2 billion as of 2011.
On February 1, 2011, Farmers Insurance Group announced it had signed a 30-year, $700 million naming rights deal for the stadium, with the stadium to be called Farmers Field. The deal was potentially worth $1 billion if two NFL teams relocated to Farmers Field.
In a February 2011, Farmers emphasized that its naming rights agreement would be spread out over 30 years and that it could walk away from the deal if the Los Angeles stadium wasn't completed. "While we have every confidence that this project will get done, if it does not materialize, Farmers Insurance will pay no money for the project," said Mark Toohey, senior vice president at Farmers.
In a blog post published on February 15, 2011 in relation to the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations with the NFL Player's Association, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed a desire to return the NFL to Los Angeles. He named Los Angeles first in listing cities that needed new NFL stadiums. He wrote, "The status quo means failing to recognize the many costs of financing, building, maintaining and operating stadiums. We need new stadiums in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego."
On March 25, 2011, Gensler was selected by AEG to design the proposed football stadium. Five teams; the Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders were speculated as candidates for relocation. The Vikings were the front-runners until they were taken out of consideration after the Minnesota State Senate approved a financing package that would allow the team to build a new stadium on the former footprint of the Metrodome in Minneapolis, which opened in August 2016.
The Los Angeles City Council approved the project in a 12-0 vote on September 28, 2012. The building of the stadium was contingent on reaching a deal with the NFL and a team agreeing to move to Los Angeles. Teams were allowed to begin applying to make that move beginning January 1, 2013.
With the departure of Leiweke from AEG, it became less likely that AEG would participate in the construction of Farmers Field. By May 2014, the prospects for a downtown stadium had diminished to such a degree that a committee of the Los Angeles City Council voted to move forward with alternative plans to expand the Convention Center without the stadium.
On March 9, 2015, AEG announced that it would not seek an extension for its April 17 deadline to reach an agreement with an NFL team, effectively shutting down the proposal. The St. Louis Rams had reached an agreement with Inglewood to build an 80,000 seat stadium two weeks earlier, while the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers had expected their joint stadium bid to be approved by Carson in the coming months, eliminating the need for a third party to build a stadium. AEG had invested over $50 million in the project over five years.
Legal challenge and settlement
In 2009, AEG pushed for a state law that limited potential legal challenges against the stadium to a 175-day period. A coalition of anti-poverty groups, including Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), opposed the construction of the stadium in its proposed location, due to the negative effect it was perceived to have on health, traffic, noise, and affordable housing.
In a settlement announced November 1, 2012, the coalition, called Play Fair at Farmers Field, secured "$50 million in concessions... including $10.3 million for a new platform at a Metro Blue Line station and $8 million in upgrades to a plaza outside the Convention Center."
Carson Stadium (2015)
|Location||Carson, California, U.S.|
|Capacity||65,000 (expandable to 75,000 for Super Bowls)|
|Construction cost||$1.78 billion|
|Los Angeles Raiders|
Los Angeles Chargers
Carson Stadium, referred to in renderings as Los Angeles Stadium, was an American football stadium planned to be built in Carson, California, 13 miles (21 km) south of downtown Los Angeles. It was proposed to become the joint home of the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders of the National Football League. The Chargers and Raiders planned a shared, $1.7 billion stadium in the city of Carson, if both teams had failed to get new stadiums in their current hometowns. However, NFL owners failed to approve the stadium, instead opting for a new NFL stadium in Inglewood proposed by Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
Since 2007, the Chargers had an option every February 1 to terminate their lease at Qualcomm Stadium, their home at the time since 1967. Under the lease terms, the Chargers would have owed the city an exit fee in the amount of $17.6 million if they had relocated in or before 2015. The team had been working to build a publicly funded stadium since 2002 and proposed a new stadium as part of a convention center annex. However, the plan faced opposition from local politicians and hotel owners who voiced a preference for an expansion of the existing San Diego Convention Center.
The Raiders had been working with Oakland politicians to build a commercial development project dubbed the Coliseum City project that would have included new stadiums for the Raiders and the Oakland Athletics baseball team, who currently share Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, which opened in 1966. The team offered to contribute $300 million with an additional $200 million coming from the NFL, but that left $500 million of funding to be determined and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf expressed opposition to using public funds. The Raiders had been on a year-to-year lease on the Coliseum since the previous long-term lease ended after the 2013 season.
On February 19, 2015, the Chargers and Raiders announced plans for a privately financed $1.7 billion stadium that the two teams would build in Carson if they were to move to the Los Angeles market. However, both teams stated that they would continue to attempt to get stadiums built in their respective cities. The site of the planned stadium was largely on a former landfill next to the 405 freeway. It had been looked at in the 1970s and 1980s by the Rams and Raiders respectively as a possible new stadium site and was the Carson site explored by Michael Ovitz in 1999 for a stadium.
On April 22, 2015, the Carson City Council bypassed the option to put the stadium to a public vote and approved the plan 3-0. On May 5, 2015, the Carson City Council then unanimously approved to spend $50 million to finish an environmental cleanup on the site. On May 19, 2015, the Chargers and Raiders announced that they had finalized a deal to secure 157 acres of land in Carson, which was transferred to a joint powers authority in Carson after the site was purchased by Carson Holdings, a company set up by the two teams. The council voted without having clarified several issues, including who would finance the stadium, how the required three-way land swap would be performed, and how it would raise enough revenue if only one team moved in as tenant. It was these issues that would work against the project in Carson from being voted on successfully at the later NFL meeting on relocation of the Raiders and Chargers.
On November 11, 2015, Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, was appointed non-executive chairman of the Carson stadium project. But, on January 12, 2016, the NFL and the other NFL owners voted to allow the Rams to move back to Los Angeles while giving the Chargers an option to join them (with the Raiders having the same option as well) thus effectively rejecting and killing the Carson proposal. There is still a sign at the corner of Avalon Boulevard and the 405 Freeway leading into the site that reads "Stadium Way" for the stadium that was never built.
In April 2015, the Chargers and Raiders presented the stadium design renderings to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league's Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities. The proposed stadium was proposed to be open-air with natural turf, had a peristyle design inspired by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and a tower that would rise between 115 and 120 feet above the main concourse, and which, depending on which team is playing, would display simulated lightning bolts (for the Chargers) or a flame in honor of the late Al Davis (for the Raiders).
The stadium design was retained by the Raiders and was re-proposed minus the Chargers features and with a dome, black exterior and roll out field in the team's successful proposal to Las Vegas on August 25, 2016.
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