Raiders camp in Costa Mesa would make them the fifth NFL team to train in SoCal

The Rams, Chargers and Dallas Cowboys are here every summer, and now the New Orleans Saints and Las Vegas Raiders are on their way.

Southern California has become to NFL training camps what Arizona and Florida are to MLB’s spring training.

The Saints plan to hold training camp at UC Irvine this summer, and the Raiders are putting the finishing touches on a deal to move their camp to Costa Mesa. Both are one-year agreements.

There is no other place in the country with such a cluster of training camps, especially notable considering the Los Angeles market went without an NFL team from 1995 through 2015.

The proximity makes it more convenient for teams to hold joint practices, increasingly common in recent years.

“It’s not a surprise, given the weather, the number of players from here and the overall experience that they would want to come back and hold training camp,” said Kevin Demoff, chief operating officer of the Rams. “There are not many places to practice in the summer, or in any time of the year, than Southern California.”

The latest round of musical sites was set in motion by the Rams and Chargers moving forward on their permanent facilities.

The Costa Mesa site became available because the Chargers are moving to their new practice facility in El Segundo, where they will hold training camp.

“Now the fields are in, they’re mowing, we’ve got growing going,” said Fred Maas, Chargers chief of staff. “Believe it or not, when we broke ground, we had opening scheduled for June 8, and we’re going to get the keys on June 8.

“I think the day we open, we are going to be the standard-bearer for the NFL.”

NFL camps begin July 29.

The Rams used to hold training camp in Irvine, but they are moving camp to the L.A. area this summer — they haven’t announced their new site — in preparation for their eventual move into the practice complex the club is constructing in Woodland Hills.

The Costa Mesa City Council is meeting Tuesday, presumably to give final approval to the Raiders for use of the Jack Hammett Sports Complex this summer. Those practices would be open to the public.

Already, the city’s mayor is rolling out the silver-and-black carpet.

“I’m pleased to welcome the Las Vegas Raiders and their loyal fans, `Raider Nation,’ to the great city of Costa Mesa for training camp this summer,” Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens said in a news release.

That release details the terms of the proposed agreement, including the $165,000 in rent the Raiders would pay, along with club contributions to include $600,000 in improvements to the fields at the complex, staging a “junior training camp” for kids ages 6 to 12, and donations of tickets, money and equipment to select local youth groups and high schools.

The Raiders, in an effort to escape the blistering heat of a Las Vegas summer, have entertained various training camp options, including sites in the Reno area. They trained in Oxnard from 1985 through 1995.

The Saints are moving their camp to Irvine this summer due to construction on the club’s permanent facility in Metairie, La. Their practices will not be open to the public.

The Rams made the Irvine facility their summer home from 2016 through 2019, and, after a COVID-19 interruption, from 2021 through 2023.

So there will be five NFL teams in Southern California this summer. A sixth undisclosed NFL franchise has looked into staging a future training camp at Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, where the Rams have had their in-season facility since moving back to Southern California in 2016.

The Cowboys, who trained in Thousand Oaks from 1963 through 1989, have spent at least part of training camp in Oxnard off and on since 2001.

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