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Stadium Thoughts and Musings: The Rules of the Game

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My first thought is...

Who really cares? But, given the lack of movement between the San Diego Chargers and the City of San Diego, anything that clarifies the situation in Los Angeles becomes something worth paying attention to.

In this case, the NFL released a memo on Friday to all 32 teams laying out the league's framework for any franchise that wishes to move to L.A. While there doesn't appear to be any team whose relocation is imminent, the Chargers are always listed at the top of that list, and we might as well discuss how it affects the Chargers.

The NFL Memo - Here We Go With the Short, Short, Version

In releasing this memo, the NFL has made the following rules:

  1. The league will determine who moves to Los Angeles (i.e. the league controls the market)

    I don't think there's a chance in hell that the league issues this memo with a statement like that unless Al Davis isn't around to file suit against them. Considering the Raiders franchise paid a relocation fee 30 years ago, there's a puncher's chance that the league could lose a lawsuit — if Mark Davis decided to follow the litigious legacy of his father.

  2. Any team wishing to relocate to Los Angeles must submit an application between 1/1/2013 and 2/15/2013.

    As has been stated in previous posts, the Chargers have an "escape clause" in the Qualcomm Stadium lease that can be exercised between February 1st and May 1st each year.

  3. Any team wishing to relocate must explain why their current stadium situation is untenable, and how all efforts to to get a new stadium in their current city have either failed, or cannot possibly succeed.
  4. The NFL is strongly suggesting that any new stadium built in Los Angeles have the ability to house two franchises, and serve as a "crown jewel" for the league (my wording, not theirs).

    NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell:

    Given that simultaneous league-wide investment in two stadiums in the same community is unlikely, we believe that the best approach will be a single site where an iconic facility could credibly both host two teams and provide ancillary entertainment and development opportunities.

  5. The NFL considers Los Angeles a two-team market.

What does all this mean?

As far as the Chargers and virtually every other team are concerned, their situations haven't changed at all.

As for the NFL, I'm wondering if the impetus of this memo is the recent resolution of the issues between the NFL and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). There has been tension between the NFL and AEG over the proposed Farmers Field, with the NFL viewing AEG's demands of any tenant to be unreasonable.

However, that could be changing. The memo, written by Goodell, says the following...

Although substantial uncertainties remain, stadium development in Los Angeles has advanced to the point where the prospects for a new facility are better than they have been in many years.

This is yet another tap on the shoulder from the schoolyard bully looking over your shoulder and eyeing your lunch money. While I can't speak for everyone else, I'm really tired of the NFL and Los Angeles tapping on San Diego's shoulder.

So, how about someone in San Diego tap on some shoulders at City Hall?

Before we lose our lunch money.