It’s the second biggest television market in the country, but for 20 years Los Angeles has been without a professional football team. That may change later this year, as three NFL teams – The Oakland Raiders, The St. Louis Rams, and the San Diego Chargers all have filed paperwork with the National Football League to relocate to L.A..
All three teams have previously called Los Angeles home – the Rams played in L.A. from 1946 to 1994, and the Raiders from 1982 to 1994, while the Chargers, established as part of the defunct American Football League in 1960, spent one season in Los Angeles before relocating two hours south. Each team has cited stadium issues in their current home cities for the decisions to relocate.
“We have tried for more than 14 years, through nine separate proposals and seven different mayors, to create a world-class stadium experience for fans in San Diego,” the Chargers organization said in a statement posted to its official site. “Despite these efforts, there is still no certain, actionable solution to the stadium problem. We are sad to have reached this point. What happens next is in the hands of the NFL’s owners, who will meet in Houston on January 12-13.” The Chargers have vowed to honor whatever decision the NFL reaches.
Clearly frustrated, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer took to Twitter to respond to the move by the Chargers. “The more San Diego has done, the less engaged the Chargers have become. San Diegans deserve better,” he said in a statement. “The announcement isn’t a surprise, but it’s still a disappointment for generations of San Diego Chargers fans.” He added that the city believes the plan it has presented to address stadium issues in the city should be enough to keep the team there.
All three teams have been openly involved in efforts to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles. The Raiders and Chargers made the joint proposal for a stadium in Carson, while the Rams proposed building a new stadium in Inglewood.
The NFL, meanwhile, has said nothing to indicate which way it will rule for any of the teams. “The applications will be reviewed this week by senior league staff and three league committees that will meet in New York on Wednesday and Thursday – The Los Angeles Opportunities, Stadium, and Finance committees” it said in a statement.
The decision will of course come down in part to whether or not Los Angeles can support multiple, or even one professional football team. That said, Los Angeles is a huge, and currently unexploited market for the NFL, with nearly 4 million people in the city proper and 13 million in the greater region — that’s a lot of eyes on television screens. In the 2014-2015 season, the league overall earned approximately $7.25 billion, the vast majority from various television deals.
The relocation of a franchise requires approval of 24 of the NFL’s 32 clubs.