LOS ANGELES (CBS 8) - In an interview with ESPN Radio's Capital Games podcast Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti talked about the return of an NFL franchise (and possibly two) to Los Angeles.
Garcetti says he grew up as a Ram's fan and went to Super Bowl XIV in 1980 in which the Rams lost to the Steelers.
He is excited to have the Rams back in Los Angeles and remarked about the NFL's return to a big market city after a lengthy absence.
"It was definitely a standoff with the league for 20 years, we kind of said, 'Hey you need us more than we need to subsidize you.'"
Garcetti says the Los Angeles market was just something the NFL couldn't ignore any longer.
"We also had a unified front saying we think this market can sustain a team and we don't have to put public tax dollars into that."
Garcetti was asked about the possibility of having two teams in Los Angeles, after NFL owners voted Tuesday, January 12 to give the Chargers a one-year window to enter into an agreement to share a stadium in Inglewood with Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
Garcetti said it was great to have one team already secured in Los Angeles and welcomes the economic opportunity for two, but for now wants to focus on the Rams' return. He sympathized with cities that have lost or may lose a team, having felt the same heartbreak when the Rams left Los Angeles for St. Louis in 1995.
He added that he would like to see the Raiders and the Chargers try to stay in their home markets and work things out with their respective cities.
The mayor also took a jab at the Raiders, with the possibility the team could come back to town if the Rams-Chargers venture doesn't transpire, half-jokingly stating that crime went down every single year after the Raiders left Los Angeles.
NFL owners denied a bid by the Chargers and Oakland Raiders to build a joint stadium in Carson. Two days after the NFL vote, the Chargers applied for trademarks for the terms "Los Angeles Chargers" and "LA Chargers."
Garcetti thinks the NFL was attracted to the Los Angeles market because of the idea they could create an "NFL West" with the facility as a base for also hosting NCAA Tournament games, the 2024 Summer Olympics, and other special events in the future.
In the ESPN interview with Andy Katz and Rick Klein, he was asked what advice he has for big city mayors attempting to attract an NFL franchise.
He said, "Don't be so desperate for a sports franchise that you put your city in debt for decades. We've seen too many people, too many tax payers footing the bill for stadiums that go on for decades taking away from precious city services."
"Plan stadiums as integrated parts of your city. With great public transit links, with housing and shopping and other things around it. Make sports a part of the daily life of your city. And make sure it pays something back to your city."
Garcetti would be more than happy to see a great rivalry continue in Southern California with the Chargers in San Diego (if they can work it out with the city) and the Rams in Los Angeles. If not, he says he welcomes any team and the economic development that comes.
I still remember sitting at the Rose Bowl in 1980 watching the Rams play in the Super Bowl. Went to my last game in 1994. #welcomehomerams— Eric Garcetti (@ericgarcetti) January 13, 2016