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Bright lights, big market of L.A. becomes big threat for Bills fans

The NFL has thrived in the 19 years since it last had a team in Los Angeles.

But the impending threat of a team relocating to the nation’s second-most populous city has consistently hung over the heads of fans in several NFL markets – including the Buffalo Bills.

That threat will only intensify here following Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr.’s death on Tuesday.


Related content:

Obituary of Ralph C. Wilson Jr.

What is next for the Bills franchise?

Jerry Sullivan: His loyalty to Buffalo crowned Wilson’s legacy

Photo gallery -- Wilson through the years

Timeline: Key developments in Wilson’s life


The NFL would like to return to L.A. – commissioner Roger Goodell said as much last fall at the league’s owners meeting.

“It’s imperative that we do it successfully if we do,” he said at the time. “We don’t have that solution right now, but we know there are millions of fans there who would like us to get back there as a franchise, and we would like to do that.”

There are currently two competing stadium proposals. The first, from the billionaire co-owner of the Lakers and Kings, Ed Roski, would be located on a 600-acre site in Industry. The second has been proposed by billionaire Phil Anschutz, the owner of AEG, and calls for a 68,000-seat stadium in downtown L.A., adjacent to the Staples Center.

Anschutz’s proposal would consist of a $1.5 billion retractable-roof stadium.


From the archives:

Mark Gaughan’s profile of Ralph C. Wilson Jr. before his Hall of Fame induction

Jerry Sullivan’s column on Wilson’s having the heart of a fan

Mark Gaughan’s article about the inductions of Wilson and Bruce Smith

Larry Felser’s column about Wilson’s getting his due


The most recent development came in January, when it was announced that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke bought a 60-acre plot of land thought to be suitable for a stadium in Inglewood.

What makes that news more interesting is that the Rams and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission have failed to reach an agreement to make needed renovations to their current home, the Edward Jones Dome. Because of that, the team’s lease has an escape clause that kicks in after this season.

Los Angeles’ other former NFL team, the Raiders, recently signed a one-year lease to play in Oakland Coliseum. Team owner Mark Davis said this week at the league’s meeting in Orlando, Fla., that “Los Angeles is something that I’ve definitely thought about and haven’t pursued.”

The implicit threat being that could change if his team doesn’t get a new stadium build in Oakland.

There are several hurdles a team must clear if it hopes to relocate to Los Angeles, including a three-quarters-majority vote of the teams.


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