Football season is well underway, but for the 20th straight year, professional gridiron is off the grid in L.A. On again, off again talks to bring team to L.A. have led to nothing – frustrating fans, city officials and billionaire business leaders who want to build a stadium to host an L.A. team.
But Mayor Eric Garcetti remains optimistic. The mayor told KNX radio yesterday that the NFL is “finally interested in Los Angeles again.” Garcetti says the recent sale of the L.A. Clippers basketball team for a record-breaking $2 billion has reminded the NFL about the value of an L.A. team.
Garcetti didn’t offer any specifics, but he says L.A. is likely to get a team within a year. Recent speculation about a franchise, or franchises, moving to L.A. has focused on three teams with year-to-year stadium leases: The San Diego Chargers, the St. Louis Rams and, yes, the Oakland Raiders. The Rams and Raiders both left L.A. in 1994 for presumably greener pastures. The Chargers were founded in L.A., before moving south in 1961.
Meanwhile, L.A.’s top budget official is recommending that the City Council extend a stadium deal with developer AEG. The company has asked for six more months to try to work out a deal with the NFL to bring a team to a new downtown stadium that would be built next to the L.A. Convention Center.