Could StubHub Center NFL plan emerge in 2016?

Los Angeles GalaxyIn an unusual NFL/MLS twist, StubHub Center is under consideration as a temporary NFL venue beginning in 2016, as the league asks LA Galaxy officials to submit a proposal for August review.

That’s the report from the Los Angeles Times, as the NFL is starting to put together a plan for a Los Angeles team in 2016. This doesn’t mean there will be a team in Los Angeles in 2016, but prudent business planning means a plan be in place if the St. Louis Rams or Oakland Raiders shift operations to Los Angeles.

It’s a little ironic that StubHub Center officials were asked to respond to a request for proposals. Usually it’s the MLS team knocking on the door, seeking a lease to an NFL facility as a secondary tenant and all that entails — witness Seattle and New England — but now the NFL is a’knocking.

Now, a StubHub Center NFL marriage would not be ideal place for the NFL team: with a capacity of 27,000, it’s spacious by MLS standards but would be the smallest NFL venue by a long shot. On a temporary basis, that might now matter. And, interestingly enough, out of the five venues under consideration, StubHub Center might be the best fit.

The two lead contenders would be the two large football venues in the region: the Los Angeles Coliseum and the Rose Bowl. There are complications here: the main leaseholders for both (USC and UCLA, respectively) have clauses allowing them to veto the presence of an NFL team. It will come down to money, more than likely, with the NFL asked to pony up for upgrades and revenue sharing. But it would be surprising if the NFL didn’t end up in one of these two venues.

The other two contenders are Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium, homes of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, respectively. Dodger Stadium has been rumored as a temporary home for NFL football for years, while Angel Stadium — in a former configuration — was home to the Los Angeles Rams after the team moved south from the Coliseum. Both would require some concessions from the baseball operations: there will be turf issues, and there will be the installation of sod over the baseball diamond dirt a la Yankee Stadium and NYC FC. Will the revenue make up for the impact on pennant contenders? That’s the decision both front offices need to consider.

And that leaves StubHub Center. The capacity will be an issue, as any new Los Angeles team will take a hit on game-day revenues. But demand will most certainly outstrip supply, which means tickets would be at a premium. And it’s already configured for football in terms of sightlines, media and parking.

Venue managers were asked to submit bid in anticipation of NFL league meetings in Chicago in August. League officials will also be briefed on new stadium plans in Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis. With a proposed NFL/MLS stadium under consideration in St. Louis, the meetings will have ramifications for MLS fans as well.

If you were to handicap the odds, chances are best the NFL will end up in the L.A. Coliseum or the Rose Bowl: the financials just make too much sense. However, with the potential for multiple NFL teams ending up in Los Angeles, there is potentially the need for multiple venues for 2016, 2017 and even 2019. But it’s an interesting development amongst MLS stadiums that StubHub Center officials were asked to submit a bid.

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August Publications