Sensing for the first time in years that stadium issues are solvable in Los Angeles, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has established guidelines for a franchise's potential move to the area.
In a memo sent by the commissioner Friday and obtained by The Associated Press, Goodell said no single team has any "presumptive right" to play in Los Angeles and that only the league as a whole can make a decision on relocation. The league is satisfied with its current 32-team setup, although expanding to include one — or two — teams in LA is still possible.
Any franchise interested in relocating there for the 2013 season must apply between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15 of that year, and prove it has exhausted all attempts to remain in its current location. No plans are yet in place if no teams apply for 2013.
If a team applies to relocate, it should not expect a league-wide vote on the application before the NFL's annual meetings in late March.
Goodell emphasized that any new stadium must be capable of hosting two franchises. Two groups currently are competing to develop a stadium complex, one downtown and one in City of Industry.
"Given that simultaneous league-wide investment in two stadiums in the same community is unlikely," Goodell wrote, "we believe that the best approach will be a single site where an iconic facility could credibly both host two teams and provide ancillary entertainment and development opportunities."
Los Angeles has not had an NFL team since the Rams moved to St. Louis and the Raiders went back to Oakland in 1995.
The Los Angeles Times first reported details of the memo.
Any new stadium in the LA area would be attractive to franchises that struggle at the gate, are located in a smaller metropolitan area or are saddled with a bad lease in an outdated stadium. Among the teams mentioned as potentially moving have been the Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills, St. Louis Rams and the Raiders.
The NFL itself would love a showcase stadium where it could regularly hold Super Bowls.
Goodell even mentioned in the memo a Hall of Fame, studios for NFL Network and youth football facilities accompanying a stadium.
Any team seeking to move to LA must show it "has secured a long-term stadium solution that is financeable and preserves the league's option for use as a two-team facility."
That team also must have a viable interim stadium plan while the new building is being built; a marketing plan with respect to personal seat licenses, premium seating, and naming rights; and must give certain financial guarantees to the league.