Shovels have yet to break ground on the two NFL stadiums trying to bring football back to Los Angeles, but there’s already rampant speculation as to which NFL team will call the city of angels their new home.
The teams with the greatest odds of moving fluctuates like a football score; however, this is a consensus as to the teams most likely to become the L.A’s newest resident or residents.The current list is the following teams: San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, St Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars and the San Francisco 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers - The city of Santa Clara has already voted in favor of a new stadium, however the prospect of a shared stadium with the Oakland Raiders would make the project not only practical, but more economically feasible.
Jacksonville Jaguars – According to media reports, the Jaguars lease at EverBank Field runs until 2029. To break the lease would require a judge’s approval and proof that the team has lost money for three consecutive years. Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver has publicly stated that he has no plans to sell or move the team, but with a 2-7 record and with the 26th worth home attendance in the league, expect rumors to persist.
Buffalo Bills – According to Forbes.com, Ralph Wilson Jr is desperate to sell the team to avoid crushing estate taxes for his heirs. To boost revenues, the Bills are the only NFL team that plays a home game 90 miles away in Toronto, where fans pay double. The team best known for it’s Superbowl failures in the 1990s is currently enjoying a renaissance led by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Last week, Erie County announced their willingness to finance upgrades to Ralph Wilson Stadium which could ran from $40-$100 million causing Erie County Executive Chris Collins to state “W’re going to be together forever.”
The San Diego Chargers – Arguably the projected front runner, due to proximity and years of failure to convince the city of San Diego to sign off on financing a new stadium. Similar to Los Angeles, the Chargers want a new stadium to be built in downtown San Diego as part of an expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. Construction on a new stadium would require the city paying an estimated $1.14 billion over 30 years which has been a tough sell to a city dealing with severe financial issues. The Chargers, are currently number one on the list to be packing up at the end of the season to move to Los Angeles and play a few years at either the Rose Bowl or Coliseum if USC agrees.
The Minnesota Vikings – The city of Minnesota voted in 1997 to place a $10 million cap on public financing on public investment on sports facilities, so while they debate overturning the law, the burden has fallen on the Governor Mark Dayton, who will receive final proposals on Friday. The team wants the stadium built in Arden Hills while the city wants it in downtown Minneapolis, stating that they could have the Metrodome for free. The Vikings said no to taking control over the Metrodome even if spending $400 million to renovate it could make it a great home for the team. The answer could come soon as they have a meeting in late November to discuss the stadium and putting it on a ballot. It is said that if the session does not go well, then the state and city could see it’s second team leave for Los Angeles.
The St. Louis Rams – Whether by nostalgia or practicality, The St. Louis Rams could return home after a 15 year hiatus. The Rams have a stadium lease that runs out in 2014 making them one of the most attractive teams, despite their record. Some say if the Rams become the first team to move, both AEG and Majestic would require an ownership of us to 30% of the team. AEG and Examiner.com is operated by AEG. Stan Kroenke the current owner of the Rams, would have to agree to sell a percentage of the team and play a handful of years at the Rose Bowl or Coliseum, both considered outdated facilities by the NFL. The Rams currently have the third worst home attendance in the league.
The Oakland Raiders – Quite possibly the team with the most unique history with Los Angeles. The Raiders not only played in Los Angeles, but also sued the NFL to retain franchise rights to the city after relocating to Oakland. The popular franchise boasts the fourth worst home attendance in the league. The passing of Al Davis pushed the Raiders to the forefront with the biggest hurdle being the reported 30 percent stake that AEG or Majestic would demand from any incoming team. Carol and Mark Davis currently have a controlling interest consists of only a 46 percent ownership stake in the team with the chances of them selling such a high stake to be unlikely. Al Davis was said to be adamant about a shared stadium proposal that would have the San Francisco 49ers and the Raiders occupying a new stadium in Santa Clara. However, with Davis’ passing, there’s renewed optimism that a deal could still be done.
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This story was first published on examiner.com.