SBD/January 3, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Leiweke Said No NFL Teams Have Expressed "Serious Interest" In Moving To L.A.

Leiweke believes the planned AEG sale may be delaying a team moving to L.A.
AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that no NFL franchise “has yet to indicate serious interest in relocating” to L.A., according to Dakota Smith of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Smith noted the NFL last year “asked teams seeking to apply to move to Los Angeles to submit applications between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15, 2013.” Leiweke said that he has “had talks with team owners on two National Football League committees, including a committee focused on Los Angeles.” He “believes the plans for AEG to be sold by its parent company may be delaying football franchise owners from seeking a move to Los Angeles until the company's new owner is determined.” Smith noted the Rams, Raiders, Chargers and Jaguars have “all been subject to speculation in the last year as possible candidates for relocation.” The Rams “may be the most eager team to move given the club's ongoing dispute with the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, which runs the stadium, over renovations." Smith wrote, “Excited about a possible NFL return to L.A., the City Council last year OK'd AEG's $1.5 billion stadium, hoping a speedy approval of the downtown project would allow the company to ink a deal with a team in time for the 2013 season” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 1/1).

: Rams Exec VP/Football Operations Kevin Demoff said, “The state of the franchise is as healthy as it’s been in a long time. But we obviously have some things out there looming, most notably the (Edward Jones Dome) arbitration that may go on through the winter and may go on into the early spring.” He added, “We have to get that resolved and put at ease people’s concerns about where we’re going to play our games within St. Louis over the next 20, 30, 40 years, and then that will put that question to rest.” In St. Louis, Bryan Burwell wrote, “If you are one of the multitudes of Rams loyalists who have been waiting for someone of significant power within this organization to state their desire to keep the franchise in St. Louis at all costs … this borders on earth-shaking.” When it comes to the business affairs of the Rams, Demoff “answers only to [Owner Stan] Kroenke, which means his words have some true cachet." This is as "close as we’ve gotten to anyone saying anything remotely that sounds like the Rams’ true intent is to stay in St. Louis, not race off to a pretty new yet-to-be-built stadium in Los Angeles.” Burwell, on the upcoming arbitration with the city, wrote, “I wouldn’t be surprised if the result of the Dome arbitration ends without a resolution, because I’m not sure anyone on either side of the negotiating table ultimately wants the Rams to be in the Dome for the next 20 years.” He added: “But to all the sky-is-falling folks out there, it doesn’t mean the Rams are on their way to LA. In fact, a stalemate after arbitration might actually be a good thing” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/2).
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