With so much of the NFL focus on this week’s draft, let’s not forget that there are three franchises that could be relocating to Los Angeles in the not-so-distant future: the San Diego Chargers, the Oakland Raiders and the St. Louis Rams.
But at this point, it’s hard to discern fact from fiction. There are a lot of theories out there about what could happen, what will happen and what won’t happen, so it’s only fair to wonder: What’s real and what’s not?
Well, let’s ask Joel Klatt, who lives in Los Angeles.
“The Chargers/Raiders stuff is much more thin-air hopes and dreams,” the Fox Sports 1 NFL analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “The Rams to Inglewood is absolutely concrete, and I expect it to happen. I would put it at a 85-90 percent clip that it’s going to happen – and it’s very simple why. The Chargers’ and Raiders’ plan is going to need public support, and they’re trying to go down to Orange County – and that’s a very conservative county that is not going to want to give them all that much support, at least from a public sector.”
Inglewood, however, is a little different.
“Up here in Inglewood, which is an L.A. county where the Rams want to move, it’s right where the Great Western Forum was, where the Lakers used to play,” Klatt said. “And (Rams owner) Stan Kroenke owns that land. He doesn’t need public-sector money. He’s basically making this a real estate play with that entire project that’s going on. That’s real – and he’s got backers to make it happen.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that Kroenke’s $1.8 billion Inglewood plan and the Chargers’ and Raiders’ $1.7 billion Carson plan are both viable and have the potential to be successful. In fact, it’s possible that the January 2016 window for applying for relocation could be accelerated.
Applying to move and actually moving, however, are two different things, and the facts are in the Rams’ favor – not that St. Louis is feeling too good about that. Kroenke, 67, is a Columbia, Mo., native, but he’s a businessman first. He sees in Los Angeles opportunity, growth, and, most of all, money.
“Because Stan Kroenke not only wants to leave St Louis, but he’s got the land that he owns right now in Los Angeles and Inglewood, that’s the one that’s going to happen,” Klatt said. “The whole Chargers and Raiders thing, I got to tell you – that’s thin air. I don’t expect that to happen at all.”