Yes, it appears the NFL will have a team in London before it ever returns to Los Angeles.
With the league not interested in Ed Roski’s shovel-ready project in the City of Industry and the league presumably interested in the AEG proposal in downtown L.A. only if Phil Anschutz will do a deal that’s very bad for him financially (which he won’t), the last shot at a new venue is Chavez Ravine, adjacent to the stadium where the Dodgers play.
And the former owner of the Dodgers is now in position to screw that up, too.
The Los Angeles Times reports that documents recently unsealed by a court in California show that Frank McCourt has the contractual ability to be the sole landlord for an NFL stadium built at what many believe is the NFL’s preferred L.A. location. But Sam Farmer of the Times explains that the NFL has no desire to be in business with McCourt, whose ugly divorce resulted in the sale of the Dodgers.
To make the stadium happen in Chavez Ravine, someone would have to buy out McCourt, making an already incredibly expensive proposition even more costly.
Farmer’s item contains plenty of intriguing details. Chavez Ravine landed on the NFL’s radar screen in the mid-1990s, with former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley envisioning a team playing in a stadium overlooking L.A., led by a General Manager named Roger Goodell.
Those possibilities evaporated when the Coliseum became, at the time, the preferred local option for a return from the NFL. (Saints fans everywhere are now rooting for the invention of time travel.)
As a result, the NFL is even farther from returning to L.A.. With more than a generation gone since the Rams and Raiders left and the NFL perhaps as popular as it ever will be domestically, it makes far more sense for the league to focus not on a frontier that has been conquered and abandoned, but on new turf in a different continent.