The long-running saga over the possible return of an NFL American football team to Los Angeles has taken a fresh twist, with the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers unveiling details of a shared stadium in the city of Carson.
The Raiders and Chargers, two of the three teams linked with a move to the Los Angeles area, made the announcement on Thursday evening as they continue to encounter difficulties in securing new stadiums in their home markets. The proposed $1.7bn (€1.5bn) stadium would be located in Carson, 15 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, and currently home to Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise Los Angeles Galaxy.
The Raiders and Chargers said in a joint statement: “We are pursuing this stadium option in Carson for one straightforward reason: If we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets, we have no alternative but to preserve other options to guarantee the future economic viability of our franchises.
“In short, for the remainder of 2015, we intend to move down two tracks simultaneously:
On track one, we will continue to work in our home markets to find permanent stadium solutions that are publicly acceptable. On track two, we will work in Carson to preserve our options, and the future economic viability of our franchises, in the event that our efforts in our local markets fail.”
The Chargers and Raiders are partnering with a local development group for the project, with further details set to be revealed at a news conference later today (Friday). The two teams are both in year-to-year leases at their current homes and have sought public funding that has proved hard to get for new stadium developments.
The Chargers have played in Qualcomm Stadium since the venue opened in 1967 and have been attempting to secure a new facility in their home city for the past 14 years. However, talks between the Chargers and city authorities have become increasingly fractious of late and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said on Thursday: “It's now abundantly clear that while we have been working here in San Diego to create a plan for a new stadium, the Chargers have for some time been making their own plans for moving to Los Angeles. This would amount to abandoning generations of loyal Chargers fans. Despite this news, we are going to continue our efforts to develop a viable stadium solution.”
The Raiders’ Coliseum is the only stadium in the US that doubles up as a venue for an MLB and NFL team, with the Oakland Athletics also calling the facility home. The Raiders want to build a new stadium at the site, but talks with the city have shown little progress. ESPN.com said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf spoke Thursday night with team president and chief executive Marc Badain. Schaaf said Badain “continued to assure me that the Raiders' first priority is to stay in Oakland in a new stadium.”
The latest news comes after the emergence last month of a Los Angeles stadium proposal backed by Stan Kroenke, owner of the St. Louis Rams. The masterplan for the city of Inglewood in southwestern Los Angeles County foresees the development of an 80,000-seat NFL stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue to add to significant retail, office, hotel and residential space on the site. However, the Rams are also said to be making progress with a separate plan for a 64,000-seat stadium on the city's north riverfront.
All three teams have ties to Los Angeles. The Rams called the area home from 1946 to 1994, while the Raiders were in the region from 1982 to 1994 before both teams relocated. The Chargers played their inaugural 1960 season in Los Angeles.