It’s highly unlikely that any city in history ever had so many so lucrative bids to build large stadiums. Now Chargers and Raiders join the fight to colonise Los Angeles for the NFL again.
Did anyone even see this coming? Last week San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders announced they’re planning a joint stadium project. It would mean relocating to Los Angeles.
The concept was created by Manica Architecture and foresees a new NFL stadium near the 405 freeway in Carson, LA (close to LA Galaxy’s home). The seating layout would provide a medium-sized lower ring of stands continuously around the entire pitch and various kinds of upper decks.
In the main grandstand one large business terrace would be built with 5 levels of skyboxes above it. On the opposite side vast majority of the fans would be seated on two levels, upper on dominating the remainder in terms of size. Goalline stands could see various upper decks, either with regular seating or a grass terrace for more picnic-alike atmosphere. Capacity is estimated at 68,000 with potential to grow towards 72,000.
Aesthetically, the concept’s most distinctive element is the main grandstand’s building. It’s modern and semi-open shape could be seen from afar. Also the opposite side would assure high visibility with a multimedia façade displaying patterns of videos.
One more, perhaps most stunning idea of Manica architects is the plan to change colours of seats depending on game hosts. For Raiders games they would be black and white, while changing to powder blue for Chargers events. This would be achieved by using clear seats with illumination, but that feature is at an early stage.
The stadium’s cost is estimated at $1.7 billion, which would make it not only the most expensive in the USA, but worldwide. Both NFL franchises estimated public funding could be avoided, but there seems to be high skepticism towards this declaration.
What’s the goal?
While sources of funding seem very murky at this point, so does the actual aim of Raiders and Charges. Actual relocation to Carson is of course the official goal, but both clubs assure they will also pursue possibilities to build their own stadiums in respective home cities. If they don’t reach agreements with Oakland and San Diego by year end, the relocation plan may go into force.
This argument by both NFL franchises prompted speculation that the latest concept may be only a way to find leverage and force local authorities to agree upon public funding for stadiums in Oakland and San Diego. While a shared stadium might be feasible without public resources, neither club can afford a new home individually.
Another theory, expressed even in the likes of LA Times, is that Raiders and Chargers may be trying to block relocation of a third team to Los Angeles. Should any new franchise occupy the largest city (and market) of California, Raiders and Chargers would be the ones to lose most.
And interest in bringing NFL back to Los Angeles is higher than ever. While Farmers’ Field and City of Industry Stadium have been bidding for an NFL spot for a few years now, earlier this year a third bidder joined them – Stan Kroenke.
Now, with the most expensive Carson stadium, there are four bids on the table. And more than any local authorities, geopolitics in the NFL will be decisive for settling this battle. Majority of clubs must accept any relocation or expansion of the NFL.