Hi! We haven't had a ton of Los Angeles / stadium news as of yet, so let's break down a quiet piece of news that came out a few weeks ago. It could end up being a potential game-changer for all parties involved.
After doing some poking around, it appears to be someone well connected to Los Angeles, and someone who will enhance the entertainment and development aspects of the Raiders and Chargers shared stadium project.
Here's the thing. The Carson stadium project is dead. Very, very dead. Anyone saying that it's not is fooling themselves or purposefully lying.
Stan Kroenke has won the race and will be building a stadium in Inglewood and moving the St. Louis Rams there to become the Los Angeles Rams. You can take that as my "insider knowledge", my opinion, or straight fact. I don't care, just don't talk about Carson like it's viable. There's a reason that even the San Diego Chargers aren't talking about it anymore, why Carmen Policy has disappeared, and why Mark Fabiani has gone quiet.
So, if the Raiders are bringing in a business partner with L.A. ties, they're doing it for one reason alone: To try and gain an advantage over the Chargers when the NFL is picking which franchise gets to be the second team in Inglewood.
Up until this point, all we've heard is how the NFL does not want to deal with Mark Davis when it comes to Los Angeles, but what if they didn't have to? What if they dealt with his partner instead, and that person worked as a buffer/wallet to keep Davis from screwing things up?
That would be very attractive. Jerry Jones and a group of owners are loudly pushing for the L.A. market to be done "the right right way" by someone with enough resources to be able to recover from any mistakes. That's not Spanos or Davis, but it might be the Raiders if they have a new guy on board.
While Vinny Bonsignore didn't say it in the post above, Bleacher Report's Jason Cole followed up the report above by saying that Mark Davis is considering selling a stake in the Raiders to a "mystery billionaire".
Luckily for us, there aren't a ton of billionaires out there with L.A. connections and a known interest in buying a professional sports franchise. So, let's go through some of the rumored names and come up with a few more on our own:
Earvin "Magic" Johnson
Mentioned in the Bonsignore article, but not a billionaire (net worth of $500 mil). However, nobody has better connections in L.A. than Magic, and nobody has pushed harder for the NFL to return to the city. You can bet that, if he's announced as the mystery man, he's had some assurances that the Raiders won't remain in Oakland.
A really interesting name, also mentioned by Bonsignore. However, some cursory Google searches say that his net worth is only $200 million. Also, his position as a sports agent makes this an odd mix. I'm saying it's not likely.
I have no idea what his net worth is (it's not $8 billion, as some have reported), but this would be an actual perfect match. Not only did Leiweke already get in good with L.A. politicians and sell the naming rights to Farmer's Field without an actual stadium in place, the guy has one of the most successful arena projects in the country on his resume and it happens to be in downtown Los Angeles (Staples Center and L.A. Live), not far from the Inglewood site. The New Yorker famously wrote a profile on Leiweke called "The Man Who Owns L.A.," in case you're wondering how good his connections are.
Not only has Leiweke somewhat-publicly been looking for a way to stick it to his former boss, AEG, but he left his position as the President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment last year and many have wondered since if he did it knowing that something better would be waiting for him back in Southern California. This would be a wow move, one that certainly puts the Raiders ahead of the Chargers, and would make the Raiders an exceptional partner with the Rams.
So, those are the guys Bonsignore pegged, but who else is out there?
Net worth of over $50 billion. Now we're talking.
Ellison lost out on bids to buy the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, and reportedly was interested in the Los Angeles Dodgers before that sale got murky and weird. Long story short, the guy wants to own a professional sports team. At 71 years old, this may be his last real opportunity.
Both of Ellison's children, Megan and David, are Hollywood film producers, and successful ones at that. He certainly has ties to Los Angeles, and he certainly has the money to pull off the deal.
I don't know that Ballmer has a ton of L.A. connections just yet, but he does own the Los Angeles Clippers. His net worth is over $21 billion, so he should have enough left over after spending $2B on the Clippers to spend on a chunk of the Raiders, should he want to get even further into the sports ownership game.
Seeing as how he's still trying to reconfigure the Clippers' image and front office, I don't think it's likely that Ballmer is ready for another project.
I know, it sounds weird. Bruckheimer's net worth is $850 million, which means he's not a billionaire, but he certainly has the type of connections that the NFL is supposedly looking for (who better to create a family-friendly team image than the guy who produced Pirates of the Caribbean?)
He's long been linked as the future owner of whatever NHL team eventually ends up in Las Vegas, but at 70 years old he may be willing to pass on that for a real shot at the NFL in L.A.
Net worth of $400 million makes him one of the poorest people on this list(!), but Ovitz started Creative Artists Agency and was the President of Disney for a time, so he knows just about everybody there is to know in Los Angeles.
That was Ovitz's plan for an L.A. stadium for an expansion team before losing the bid to Houston in 1999. If there's anyone who possibly deserves a second chance to get an NFL team in L.A., it might be him.
People keep tweeting Cuban's name at me after I retweeted this...
Technically, I think as long as Cuban didn't own a controlling stake in the team he could be a part-owner and maintain his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks. So, I guess it could be him. However, the fact that he's publicly written about how he thinks the NFL is less than 10 years away from "implosion" doesn't mesh well with the idea of him investing in an NFL franchise. It's probably not Cubes.
Then again, these are mostly just guesses. The mystery investor could be just about anybody. However, you should definitely be paying attention to the news to know the second the investor is named, because it will determine how likely the Chargers are to stay in San Diego.
In the comments below, let us know who you think the Raiders mystery investor is!