We’ve been hearing (and thus saying) for years that the NFL won’t return to Los Angeles until there are two viable projects that the league can leverage against each other, in the hopes of securing the best possible deal.
The squeeze has begun.
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed concern last month regarding the proposal made by AEG, which is attempting to build a new NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles. Goodell’s doubts came at a September 6 meeting in New York with Los Angeles Councilwoman Jan Perry and political aide Bernard Parks, Jr.
Cole also reports that the competing proposal in the City of Industry, proposed by Ed Roski, could be pulling ahead.
We’ll defer to Cole’s lengthy article for the rest of the details. Cutting through the verbiage and the sourcing, the reality is that the NFL is being coy with AEG and cozy with Roski in order to get AEG to come to the table with something better. And as long as Roski is hanging around, the NFL can push for more and more (and more) from AEG.
Along the way, it’ll be important for the NFL to never let its guard down as to the league’s true preferences. If the league wants to partner with AEG, Roski will realize that he’s being used. In, AEG will dig in its heels.
The truth could be that the NFL genuinely is willing to explore either option, which sets up perfectly for the NFL and the team(s) that could play in the new venue (Chargers, Vikings, Rams, Raiders, 49ers, Jaguars, or Bills) for the driving of the hardest possible bargain.