Steelers owner expects NFL back in Los Angeles by 2016

By Steve Keating

DALLAS (Reuters) - The NFL should return to Los Angeles by 2016 but the league is not ready to expand internationally anytime soon, Pittsburgh Steelers owner and president Art Rooney II said on Tuesday.

The NFL has been without a presence in one of the United States biggest markets since the Los Angeles Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995 and the league has made it a priority to return to the West coast though the main obstacle has been the lack of a suitable stadium.

But plans for a new facility in downtown Los Angeles moved a step closer with an announcement on Tuesday by AEG that it had secured a naming rights deal with Farmers Insurance worth a reported $700 million on the condition it can land an NFL team to play in the yet to be constructed stadium.

"I do think Los Angeles is in the picture by then (2016)," said Rooney, who will watch his team take on the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl on Sunday. "It's a great football town.

"They've supported a few franchises over the years and hopefully we'll get another on back there by 2016."

The NFL has long toyed with the idea of international expansion having staged regular season games in London the last four years with a huge success.

But if the NFL is going to expand outside the United States, a likely destination is Toronto, which has hosted Buffalo Bills regular season games the last three seasons.

"I don't see one in the next five years," said Rooney. "I would think if there is going to be an international franchise, it's either going to be Mexico or Canada.

"That's the next step I would guess.

"The Bills are already playing some games up in Toronto so it's possible."

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)