Los Angeles will remain without an NFL American football franchise next season after league commissioner Roger Goodell informed the three teams linked to a relocation that no such move will go ahead in time for the 2015 campaign.
The San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams are currently on year-to-year leases at their respective stadia and had been linked with a move to Los Angeles. Early reports suggested that as many as two teams could have been in place in Los Angeles in time for the 2015 season, with the window for relocation applications set to open on January 1.
However, the NFL.com website said that Goodell has all-but ended hopes of a Los Angeles franchise for next season. ESPN.com added that Goodell also told interested teams they should instead look towards the 2016 season if they wish to relocate to the area.
Los Angeles has been without a team since the Raiders and Rams left for Oakland and St. Louis, respectively, after the 1994 season.
Despite Goodell’s message to the three teams, this does not stop them from filing a relocation application. However, such an application would require a significant majority approval, which is unlikely to be achieved without the league’s support.
The Chargers have already committed to remaining in their current stadium for the 2015 season despite reports suggesting that the team was unhappy at its Qualcomm Stadium home in San Diego, California. Rumours of a move were heightened in October when the NFL undertook a formal assessment of Los Angeles to evaluate local demand for a team along with expectations for stadium facilities.
However, the Chargers last week confirmed their decision to remain in San Diego until at least the end of the 2015 season and will now work towards a permanent stadium solution in the city.
Meanwhile, the Raiders are also reportedly set to sign a one-year extension to their lease at O.Co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The lease had been set to expire at the end of the season, with various reports suggesting that the team could relocate.
The Rams have a deadline of January 28 to decide if they are going to go year by year on their lease in St. Louis, and are expected to see a new stadium proposal in the next few weeks.