By Ross Kelly
Things are not looking good for the NFL’s attempts to relocate a team to the Los Angeles area. While I firmly believe that it will happen within the next 2-3 years, the stadium options for the franchise(s) are getting few and far between. On Thursday Rose Bowl officials unanimously voted against the NFL’s proposal that their stadium serve as a temporary home for a potential team. The Rose Bowl Operating Corporation actually stated that it was “more productive and lucrative for the Rose Bowl to pursue a music and arts festival”. To take place in June. Ouch!!
So what are options are left in LA? There’s, of course, the LA Coliseum which is home to USC and was home to the Rams from 1946-1979 and Raiders from 1982-1994. But with the Rose Bowl saying no, the Coliseum officials know they are the next best option and can drive up the price for the NFL to do business with them. Also, there’s the fact that the Coliseum is approaching its 100th birthday and is nowhere near-equipped with many of the amenities of the modern NFL stadium. Adding to the rising price that the Coliseum officials will ask for, there are also millions of dollars of renovations that may need to be done, all for maybe 2-3 years of use by a team.
Besides the Coliseum, there are the two baseball stadiums in LA: Angel Stadium and Dodger Stadium. Angel Stadium did host the LA Rams for 15 years but Angels fans were ecstatic to see the Rams leave for St. Louis and I doubt they would be thrilled to see any NFL team return. Dodger Stadium, on the other hand, would be an interesting site as the stadium has never hosted a football game. There’s also the little subplot that the Dodgers’ owner, Guggenheim Partners, has internally discussed allowing the NFL to build a stadium on their property adjacent to Dodger Stadium. Perhaps the two sides can work out a deal where Guggenheim Partners do the NFL a solid by letting a team temporarily use Dodger Stadium and then the NFL returns the favor by building a stadium on Guggenheim’s property.
Another possibility, don’t laugh, is the StubHub Center which is the home of the LA Galaxy. It was designed specifically for soccer and has never hosted an NFL game, but has hosted CIF high school championships as well as the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. And those are totally like hosting NFL games!!! From a capacity standpoint, this would be the least ideal as the stadium holds 27,000 though I’m sure that could be expanded some. I’m sure the StubHub Center is on the NFL’s radar, but this has to be the absolute last result.
I think through process of elimination we can get rid of a couple of the options. Early renderings show that a football field may not even fit in Dodger Stadium. Angel Stadium was renovated back to a baseball facility when the Rams left and it is no longer equipped for modern NFL broadcasts. From where a football field would lie, the press box is in a corner of an endzone – imagine having that view on TV. As for the StubHub Center, nice try.
That leaves us with one stadium, the Coliseum, but with two questions: How much will it cost the NFL to do business? (whatever the price is, they can afford it) And what team/s will play there?