NFL's Return to Los Angeles Not Likely to Happen at Hollywood Park
The NFL is reportedly interested in the Hollywood Park site in Inglewood—and no, you didn't just magically time travel back to 1995.
National Football Post's Jason Cole has the intriguing rumor:
Three NFL sources said that at least two teams have spoken with the owner of the soon-to-be-closed Hollywood Park horse racing facility in Inglewood to see if the team can either buy the 260-acre property or get the owner to build a stadium.
In addition, the league itself likes the Hollywood Park site because it believes it could easily house two teams as well as studios and offices for NFL Network and possibly a west wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
According to all the sources, Oakland, San Diego, St. Louis and Jacksonville all have the ability to get out of their lease agreements either after this season or after the 2014 season. While those teams have all said publicly they would like to stay where they are, that hasn’t stopped them from doing research in Los Angeles.
Just for clarity sake, the Associated Press' Mark Long points out that the struggling Jaguars are not one of the franchises interested in Hollywood Park:
Jaguars NOT one of the teams that has spoken to Hollywood Park owner in the @footballpost story regarding NFL’s potential return to LA— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) September 18, 2013
This is not the first—or second, or third, or fourth, or seventh—time we've heard of Hollywood Park as a potential venue for an NFL team in Los Angeles. Back in 1995, Al Davis' Oakland Raiders had agreed to a deal to build a stadium there, but it eventually fell through.
Now with the famed racing track set to close at the end of 2013, talk is heating up once again.
But for now, talk is all it should be. Football Sickness' Ryan Burns sums up the potential move:
LA NFL Update: Hollywood Park is a dumpster fire of an idea. It will die.— Ryan Burns (@FtblSickness) September 18, 2013
There's very little doubt that an NFL team would thrive if it were put back in Los Angeles. Expendable income is aplenty in the city, and the long desire for a team would only help spark the interest.
But as it stands now, Hollywood Park isn't for sale—which, you know, stands as a bit of a (gargantuan) hurdle.
According to Cole, Terry Fancher, whose company owns the 260-acre property on Hollywood Park, has no intentions of selling or building anything other than commercial developments.
“Fancher is a commercial developer,” one source said. “He either wants to build something on the location to make money himself or sell the property for a profit.”
Said another source: “Fancher has no desire to be an owner or part-owner of a team and doesn’t want to go in with anybody on a stadium project. So you’re talking about having to buy the land and add that cost on top of whatever it takes to build the stadium.”
In fact, if you take a virtual stroll on over to the "Hollywood Park Tomorrow" website, you'll see that it states the racetrack will soon be transformed "into a new modern community."
Sure, everyone has their price, and I'm sure Fancher, who clearly has little desire in building an NFL stadium on his property, has his.
Where do you want to see an NFL team in Los Angeles?
But Cole states that a new stadium will fall in the range of $1.2 billion. Add that to what will be a jacked-up price for the land in order to pique Fancher's interest, and you're looking at an overall price of around $2 billion.
The monetary potential of a Los Angeles football team is undoubtedly massive—Cole projects it at a valuation of $2 billion—but that's quite the risk in a shaky area.
We've seen this before. Hollywood Park is an intriguing venue, but there are too many potential problems—we haven't even talked about infrastructure or traffic, or what a Monday night game might do to the 405 freeway.
Just like what has already happened multiple times in the past, the notion of the NFL on Century Boulevard will pass.
The notion of the NFL in Los Angeles will not.
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