Los Angeles Suburb Moves to Lure NFL Teams in San Diego, Oakland

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Leaders of a Los Angeles suburb approved a $1.65 billion stadium project to lure NFL teams from San Diego and Oakland, bringing the nation’s second-largest metropolitan area closer to having a team for the first time in 20 years.

The city council in Carson, a community of 90,000 about 17 miles (28 kilometers) south of downtown Los Angeles, voted 3-0 Tuesday night to authorize the stadium without a vote of the people. The council acted after receiving signatures from more than 15,000 residents supporting the project.

About 200 people, many wearing Raiders jerseys, crowded into the council chambers and an overflow area for the meeting.

“There are two things that are needed here in Southern California,” Mayor Albert Robles said after the vote. “One of those is rain, and the other one is football, and we took care of that today because football is coming to Carson.”

Alex Spanos, the billionaire majority owner of the San Diego Chargers, and Mark Davis, majority owner of the Oakland Raiders, paid for the signature campaign, although neither National Football League team has committed to the L.A. area. The Raiders played in Los Angeles until 1994, while the Chargers played their first season in L.A. before moving to San Diego in 1961.

The 75,000-seat stadium will be built without public funds, City Attorney Sunny Soltani said. The teams already have purchased a 168-acre site for the stadium on a former landfill and would be responsible for developing it. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has been advising the teams.

As Carson courts the Chargers and Raiders, Inglewood, a city of 110,000 about 13 miles to its northwest, has taken steps to attract the St. Louis Rams. Billionaire Stan Kroenke, majority owner of that team, has bought land for a stadium and Inglewood’s city council in February approved plans for an 80,000-seat stadium there.

Staying Competitive

Robles said the council’s vote keeps his city competitive with Inglewood in the effort to bring pro football back to the area.

“It’s clear that, if nothing else, we’re on par with Inglewood,” he said in an interview after the vote. “But since we have two teams on board, I think we’re a little bit ahead.”

The Rams played in Los Angeles and neighboring Orange County until 1994.

The Los Angeles area has lacked pro football since then, as NFL teams floated the prospect of moving to L.A. to squeeze incentives from their home cities. San Diego is considering public funds toward a new stadium for the Chargers, and Missouri has considered bonds for a riverfront stadium for the Rams.

A Carson stadium for the Chargers and Raiders would yield $531.3 million in annual revenue, according to an economic impact study by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s Institute for Applied Economics and commissioned by the teams. A single team would yield $280.9 million annually, the report said.

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