The race to build an NFL stadium in Los Angeles is now at its most exciting in ages. The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers just unveiled their joint plan to build a new stadium on a former landfill in Carson last week, giving St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke and his Hollywood Park stadium plan in Inglewood some serious competition. That plan, only proposed last month, has been on the fast-track, already qualifying for a ballot measure that would help it bypass the lengthy environmental review process, but the Inglewood City Council voted last night to put it on an even faster fast-track: they unanimously approved the project to build a $1.86 billion, 80,000 seat stadium adjacent to the huge multi-use redevelopment at the old Hollywood Park racetrack. The vote makes the ballot initiative completely unnecessary and the developers say they'll start building by the end of 2015.
Inglewood's approval gives the Kroenke plan (which does not officially have the Rams attached) an early leg up in this zero-sum game. Los Angeles may be able to support two NFL teams (New York does), but three would be pushing it. Ground breaking on either one of these stadiums could effectively ruin any chance the other might have. There are also still four or so other plans around SoCal in various stages of reality, although these two are now the frontrunners. Plus, no developer or team owner can decide to bring a team to the city; only the notoriously controlling NFL can make that decision (they've signaled they're interested in the idea).
All this stadium news makes football's return to LA seem like an inevitability, but it's still far from certain. The city of St. Louis has plans for a brand new $900 million stadium and the Raiders and Chargers continue to negotiate with Oakland and San Diego, respectively, on new deals. The winds are blowing the right way (if you actually want a football team here, that is), but don't be surprised if it all falls apart. It has before. Many times.
· Bypassing voters, Inglewood approves NFL stadium [KPCC]
· The Raiders and Chargers Just Proposed a Joint NFL Stadium in the Los Angeles Suburbs [Curbed LA]
· How Inglewood's NFL Stadium is Moving at Lightning Speed [Curbed LA]