Here's the article, written by Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The entire article is worth a read, but there's one particularly interesting quote by Dave Peacock, co-leader of the St. Louis Stadium Task Force:
It's possible we have different ownership of the (Rams) because I think (Kroenke) is really committed to Los Angeles. I'm not against Stan going to Los Angeles, I just don't want our team there. This is why we're spending most of our time with the league - we think this is an NFL issue."
-Dave Peacock on 5/13/15, to the Commercial Real Estate Women of St. Louis
So, the obvious question is... If Kroenke is going to build a stadium in Inglewood, but he's not going to take the Rams, then who's going to play there?
Miklasz thinks it's a possibility:
"If it means Kroenke selling the Rams to locally committed ownership to buy the Oakland Raiders and move them to Los Angeles, swell."
-Bernie Miklasz in St. Louis Post Dispatch - 5/16/15.
Why the Raiders to Inglewood Make Sense
First of all, Peacock's Task Force is proposing a new stadium on the St. Louis Riverfront, which is expected to cost about $985 million. The NFL is pledging $200 million, the team would contribute at least $250 million. $150 million is expected to come from sales of Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs) and the public is expected to pitch in around $400 million.
The NFL has spoken highly of St. Louis' attempts thus far to keep the Rams.
I can't label (a stadium) as done, but I will say that the effort that's been shown and the progress that's been shown is very able, professional, and the progress that's been shown is good. I think that we're very interested in the next phase of their development, and they'll be reporting on that to a group of owners very soon."
-NFL Vice President Eric Grubman on Beast 980 AM's Fred Roggin Show - 4/21/15
While it hasn't been said explicitly, I believe the NFL would be loathe to see a franchise walk away from $400 million in public money - it would absolutely ruin future attempts by the NFL to get other markets to provide public subsidies to NFL franchises, like, say here in San Diego.
Now, in Oakland's case, there doesn't appear to be anything coming soon. Furthermore, it's not just the NFL which has serious misgivings about Oakland.
"I have had multiple visits to Oakland, and in those visits, each of those for the past three years, I've visited with public officials, and I feel like we've gone backwards. I just feel like we've lost years and gone backwards, and that usually doesn't bode well."
-Grubman on Beast 980 AM's Fred Roggin Show - 4/21/15
Oakland's own elected officials seem dubious about the prospect as well.
"The Raiders have indicated, and the continue to indicate that Oakland is their preference. They want to be here. But, once again, I think it's going to boil down to who's prepared to put up what type of money to keep the Raiders here. The Raiders are looking for a contribution from the public sector, and that could include infrastructure, bond indebtedness, as well as the land, and I just don't know what the appetite is from the public sector to do all that.
-Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley on Beast 980 AM's Fred Roggin Show - 5/14/15 (starts at 21:10).
Now, the news of the Raiders building a new practice facility at their Alameda headquarters does cast some doubt on whether a franchise switch takes place, but the indication at the moment seems to be that if the Raiders stay in Oakland beyond this year - with Mark Davis retaining ownership - the only feasible option might be to play in Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.
Davis hasn't made that deal yet for a reason. And if Davis has only that option (assuming the NFL doesn't choose the Carson project), or selling the franchise, I wonder whether he decides to just walk away. Especially because Kroenke is one of the few people who could make Davis a "Godfather Offer."
Now, time for some speculation:
Why the NFL Might Want This to Happen
First, the NFL solves the Los Angeles problem by getting a team with an already established fan base in Los Angeles - in reality, I don't think it matters where the Raiders play, as they are a "brand name" - with an owner who has the money to make it work. As a side benefit, the NFL gets rid of Davis.
Second, the Rams stay in St. Louis, and get a publicly subsidized stadium.
Third, it places pressure on Dean Spanos to make a deal in San Diego, as the last thing Spanos should want is to be the 2nd tenant in Inglewood behind the Raiders. It makes it more likely the 2nd spot in Los Angeles remains open, which leads to:
Fourth, instead of having St. Louis as an open market, the NFL gets open spaces in both the Bay Area and Los Angeles, both with new stadiums capable of hosting 2 teams. I can't imagine a set of better extortion (or future expansion) locations in terms of location and market size, for the NFL to have at it's disposal.
Why This Might Be Good News for San Diego
Here in San Diego, we're going to get the financing blueprint for a new stadium in San Diego from the Citizen' Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG) within the next 5 days. With a projected cost of $1- $1.3 billion, and only $400 million (thus far) coming from the Chargers and the NFL, it seems certain that CSAG will be pledging anywhere from $600-$900 million in public money.
Further, if Kroenke did take the Raiders to Los Angeles, it would increase the leverage Spanos has with the NFL for Kroenke to provide suitable compensation to Spanos - in exchange for not fighting the move - which could then help facilitate a deal in San Diego.
Lastly, there's a possible benefit to taxpayers here in San Diego, assuming the funding sources are sound. The NFL would then be able to exert leverage on the Chargers to make a deal with San Diego. In turn, San Diego gains some leverage and may not have to give away the farm.
Please let this happen. It pretty much works for everyone, except Raiders' fans who want the team to stay in Oakland.