NFL In L.A. Remains In Limbo; Sources Say No Relocation Prior To '14 Season
No NFL team will "file for relocation to Los Angeles by the league-mandated Feb. 15 deadline," according to sources cited by Arash Markazi of ESPN L.A. This means pro football "will not return to the second largest city and television market in the United States before 2014." The news "does not come as a complete surprise despite the fact that Los Angeles has two shovel-ready stadium proposals waiting for a prospective team." San Diego Mayor Bob Filner on Tuesday said that the Chargers "will not opt out of their lease at Qualcomm Stadium in 2013 and will not file an application to move to Los Angeles this year." But Markazi wrote that "does not necessarily mean the Chargers will stay in San Diego after the 2013 season." AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke, whose company is behind the Farmers Field project, is "hopeful that a deal can be reached to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles by 2014 or 2015" (ESPNLA.com, 1/16). In L.A., Vincent Bonsignore notes with AEG's sale process still in the bidding stage, the "entire process of bringing the NFL here remains on hold." The NFL once a sale is completed will be "ready to take a serious look at Los Angeles again" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 1/17).
CAROLINA IN MY MIND: SB Nation’s Bomani Jones said of the city of Charlotte endorsing $125M in city funds for the NFL Panthers to renovate Bank of America Stadium, "As long as the Los Angeles market is out there," teams in smaller cities will have "plenty of people trying to make sure that they are just fine and happy and they won’t wind up going anywhere." The lack of an NFL team in the L.A. market is "great news" for the Jaguars, Panthers and “all those other teams in all those cities that you would never go visit on your own” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/16). In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen writes, "If I’m Charlotte, I give the Panthers the money under one air-tight, stone-cold, non-negotiable condition: the team commits to the town." Sorensen: "Specifically, the Panthers agree not to leave. ... Charlotte should compel the Panthers to commit for at least 10 years, and perhaps for 15" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/17). Meanwhile, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio noted a "key piece of information to keep in mind" is that Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson also owns the stadium. Florio: "If you buy that team and move it, you’re buying a stadium that you’re never going to use. I don’t look for the Carolina Panthers to be moving anytime soon” (“Pro Football Talk,” NBC Sports Network, 1/16).
SELLING SIN CITY: In Las Vegas, Alan Snel writes while boosters of a proposed stadium project on the UNLV campus "have mentioned an NFL Pro Bowl and NFL pre-season games as potential events," there is "only one problem." The NFL "doesn't appear likely it would stage a Pro Bowl event or sanction a game at the proposed 'Mega-Event Center.'" NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy this week in an e-mail said that it is "unlikely the league would have any interest in staging an all-star game event such as the Pro Bowl at the proposed UNLV stadium." McCarthy added that sports gambling is "the reason the NFL would not likely get involved in holding a Pro Bowl or approving preseason games" in the city (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 1/17).