LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A resolution, urging the NFL to bring back at least one, or possibly two teams to Los Angeles, has been backed by the Los Angeles City Council’s Economic Development Committee.
The resolution is now ready to go before the full City Council.
Councilman Tom LaBonge, the author of the resolution, said it “puzzles me why, out of 32 teams, one doesn’t want to come here to sunny Southern California.”
LaBonge’s resolution declares interest in making Los Angeles a two-team city, while local football enthusiasts have struggled getting even one team to stay.
Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL, said that the league is keeping its eye on Los Angeles.
“We continue to closely monitor all stadium developments in the Los Angeles area,” McCarthy said.
LaBonge, meanwhile, has stated that his “real hope is the league expands” from 32 to 34 teams, allowing Los Angeles to get its own team or teams, rather than getting teams from other cities.
The St. Louis Rams, the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers are all considered likely candidates to relocate due to the idea that they may be interested in upgrading their stadium facilities.
All three of those teams are former residents of Los Angeles.
The Chargers played in Los Angeles in 1960 during the team’s first season as part of the American Football League.
When LaBonge was asked whether he would welcome the Raiders back to Los Angeles, he joked that he would, as long as several former Raiders from the 1980s, including Marcus Allen and Howie Long, are called out of retirement.
LaBonge addressed a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in early September urging an end to an 18-season NFL drought in Los Angeles.
In his missive, LaBonge professed his deep love for football and suggested it’s time to “call an audible” after years of unfulfilled plans.
“We’ve waited far too long to root for the home team” LaBonge said of the renewed efforts to show the NFL the city’s enthusiasm for football.
“Our collective excitement for the new NFL season is dampened by Los Angeles’ lack of a team.”
Los Angeles has been without an NFL team since 1994. In 1995, the Los Angeles Raiders returned to Oakland, after occupying the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum near USC from 1982 to 1994, and the Los Angeles Rams, who played in Anaheim Stadium, moved to St. Louis.
A deal was signed last fall by city leaders with entertainment and sports events company AEG that intended to redevelop the Los Angeles Convention Center to include additional exhibition space. The agreement includes using a football stadium project at the site as leverage for bringing in financing for the improvements to the convention center.
The transition of the city’s mayor also shifted the city’s attitude toward bringing in an NFL team. New mayor Eric Garcetti has said that, while he would welcome a team, it was not his top priority.
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