A proposed stadium that could become the home of the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders hit an early milestone Wednesday amid rising competition to bring football back to the Los Angeles market.
The Chargers and Raiders are planning a shared, $1.7 billion stadium in the city of Carson, on the edge of Los Angeles, if both teams fail to get new stadiums in their current hometowns.
Organizers announced that county election officials had verified sufficient petition signatures — more than 8,000 — to qualify the proposal for the Carson ballot, a step toward development.
The proposal will go to the City Council, which could vote as soon as Tuesday to schedule an election or consider the plan without sending it to local voters.
There is broad support in the city because of jobs it would bring while transforming Carson into "a true destination community," said city Clerk Jim Dear, a former longtime mayor. "It's just an ideal location for a football stadium."
The Carson project is one of two prominent stadium proposals that have emerged in the Los Angeles area this year: St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of a development group planning to build an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood, roughly 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
The dueling stadium plans have raised the hopes of fans that Los Angeles could end its two-decade stretch without an NFL team.
The Kroenke plan envisions a stadium rising on the site of a former horse track, as part of a nearly 300-acre development of homes, parks and office space. The 168-acre Carson site, edged by a freeway, is a former landfill.
The Anschutz Entertainment Group spiked plans last month for a field in downtown Los Angeles, although Mayor Eric Garcetti has suggested that it could be revived.
Under current rules, the next opportunity for a team to file to relocate would be in January 2016. Any decision to move would have to clear a tangle of league hurdles, including winning the support of at least 24 of the 32 teams.
The Chargers' talks with San Diego City Hall to replace the nearly 50-year-old Qualcomm Stadium have grown increasingly contentious. The Raiders' even older Oakland Coliseum has had sewage and electrical problems and is now the only stadium in the U.S. used as the home for both an NFL and Major League Baseball team, the Oakland Athletics.
The sudden rush to Los Angeles is tempered by a 20-year history of disappointment for fans. Stadium proposals, complete with architectural renderings, have come and gone since the Rams and the Raiders fled Southern California after the 1994 season.