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Oakland, Los Angeles stadium plans pick up steam in race to land Raiders

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While the Raiders, Rams, and Chargers all angle to inhabit the Los Angeles market, their current cities are working to keep them.

It seems every time we hear about one stadium plan taking a step forward, news of competing stadium plans follow. It's all part of the big game of musical chairs being played between the Rams, Raiders, and Chargers involving the Los Angeles market and their own current homes.

Simultaneously there are major developments happening both in Oakland as well as in Los Angeles and it is shaping up to be a bit of competition from the two markets for the Raiders' hand.

Mark Davis has maintained he would like to keep the Raiders in Oakland and are making sure they put forth the effort to give the city every opportunity to keep them. At the same time, he must protect his interest and keep the path to Los Angeles moving so come 2016, he ensures the Raiders have a stadium plan in place somewhere.

At the owners meetings in Arizona on Monday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft - who is part of the committee charged with deciding which teams are allowed to relocate to Los Angeles - said he fully expects there to be two teams playing in LA in 2016.

This is where it gets interesting because, as of now, it is still up in the air which two of the three interested teams that would be.

One of those teams it would appear is destined to be the Rams. They have plenty of support in the area to move back and Rams owner Stan Kroenke has made no secret that he is moving forward on plans to build a new stadium in Inglewood. But even still, nothing is a given.

St Louis is working to keep the Rams and should they approve $500 million in public assistance to get a new proposed waterfront stadium built, any attempts by Kroenke to simply walk away from that would likely be going against the NFL mandate that he ‘make a good faith effort' to remain in his current city.

For the Raiders and Chargers' part, they are in on a plot of land in nearby Carson and Monday discovered they had collected well over the needed amount of signatures in order to put the stadium plan on the ballot. Those signatures are to be filed on Tuesday, taking the next step in the process.

As it so happens, Tuesday is also the day Oakland takes another step in their plans to get Coliseum City approved, which would include a stadium for the A's and a proposed 55,000 seat stadium for the Raiders.

Last Friday Oakland City Council members approved a new exclusive negotiating agreement between the city, county and New City Development LLC, the group led by Floyd Kephart that is trying to pull together the project.

That step on Tuesday would be for the country to hold their vote which would make it official. I'm told they are expected to approve it.

This merger would allow Kephart the ability to negotiate directly with the Raiders on behalf of the city and county using actual figures, thus streamlining a process that up to this point has been somewhere between sluggish and stagnant for some time now.

Even with this development, the Oakland project is a long way from reality. This just clears congestion from the process. There is still a great deal of skepticism, namely from NFL vice president Eric Grubman who was tasked with getting all 32 NFL owners up to speed on the current status of the Raiders, Rams, and Chargers with regard to LA as well as their current home cities.

And we haven't talked about the Chargers yet. Their situation is familiar in one regard and unique in others. They too have been working for a new stadium and their fight has been going on for a longer continuous timespan than either the Raiders or Rams.

With the Carson property purchase, the city started making efforts to get things figured out and the most recent proposal would put the new stadium in Mission Valley.

The Chargers have controlled the Southern California market for the past 20 years since the Raiders and Rams both left town for Oakland and St Louis respectively.

In a recent conversation with former Raiders CEO Amy Trask, she compared the Chargers' presence in Southern California to that of the Patriots in New England.

"The Patriots represent all of New England," said Trask. "They're not the Boston Patriots, they're the New England Patriots. . . if the league allows the Chargers to slide up the road say 100 miles from the outskirts of San Diego then really the Chargers can be positioned as a regional Southern California team just the way the Patriots are New England's franchise, not simply Boston's franchise."

So, what if the Chargers finally get their long awaited new stadium and stay put in San Diego. That means if two teams do come to Los Angeles, as Robert Kraft believes, it would be the Raiders and Rams.

But what about the possibility that all three teams occupy the market? That may seem extremely unlikely, but Trask maintains that bringing the Raiders and Rams to Los Angeles would be doing just that.

"From the moment the Raiders and Rams vacated this market, the Chargers have done all it could to assist the league in maintaining a presence [in Los Angeles]," said Trask. "So, if the league were now to say ‘ok, we're gonna put the Rams and Raiders in Los Angeles' with the Chargers roughly 100 miles to the South. How do you do that to the Chargers if you're the league and say we're not throwing two teams back into that market that you have helped us maintain for the past 20 years?

"Putting two teams in Los Angeles and leaving the Chargers in San Diego would really be tantamount to three teams in the general region, and I don't think that's fair to the Chargers."

A couple of teams will be the winner here. Perhaps all three. Unfortunately that means a couple of whole fanbases will watch their team skip town.

Oakland is doing their best to keep up with the speed at which Carson is clearing the way for a new stadium. That's good news all the way around. Healthy competition and deadlines ensure things get done.