Chiefs owner expects team in LA for 2016
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Chiefs owner Clark Hunt expects at least one NFL franchise to be play in Los Angeles next season, though he declined to speculate Sunday whether the Raiders, Chargers or Rams are the leading candidate.
The three are expected to file for relocation Monday, the day after the regular season ends.
Hunt is part of a six-man committee made up of league owners that will meet to discuss relocation plans. The rest of the league’s owners will meet to review their findings the following week, and could decide whether one or two teams will move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season.
The nation’s second-largest market hasn’t had an NFL team since the Raiders and Rams left after the 1994 season. The Chargers have played in San Diego for 55 seasons.
”There’s still a lot of information we need to look at,” Hunt said shortly before his playoff-bound Chiefs played Oakland in a regular-season finale. ”We suspect the Raiders will be one of those teams, and we have to consider opportunities that have been put forward by the markets in Oakland, St. Louis and San Diego for their teams to stay. We’ll go through all that this week.”
A task force formed by Missouri’s governor made its formal pitch earlier in the week, sending a nearly 400-page prospectus to the NFL offices. At its centerpiece is a $1.1 billion stadium along the Missouri River, not far from the city’s iconic Gateway Arch.
But making things sticky for St. Louis is the fact Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of a group planning a $1.8 billion stadium in Inglewood, California. The Chargers and Raiders have teamed up on a joint venture for a stadium a short distance away in Carson, California.
Also sending their pitch this week was San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer and County Commissioner Ron Roberts, who hope to build a $1.1 billion facility to replace Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers have sought a new home since 2008, three years after their stadium was expanded to accommodate Super Bowls.
Oakland city officials repeatedly have said they won’t weigh down taxpayers with a new stadium, especially considering the city and county are still in debt from renovations 20 years ago.
All three franchises have close links to Hunt and the Chiefs.
The Rams are the cross-state rival that only occasionally play the Chiefs during the regular season, but have become common preseason opponents. The Raiders and Chargers are two of Kansas City’s oldest rivals, part of the original AFL founded by Hunt’s father, the late Lamar Hunt.
”Obviously we’ve had a tremendous rivalry with the Raiders going back 55, 56 years,” said Clark Hunt, now the team’s chairman and CEO. ”I hope we can continue to have that rivalry in the future.”
Hunt said his preference is always for NFL teams to stay where they are, but he acknowledged Sunday that the business side of things appears to be making relocation inevitable.
”All three of those franchises have tremendous fan bases in their home markets,” he said. ”In an ideal world, I’d like to see them all stay where they are. It probably won’t work out that way. There will probably be at least one team moving to LA. I can’t speculate who that might be.”
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