St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke shocked the sporting world on Monday morning with the announcement that he has plans to build an NFL stadium in Inglewood, California. That brings a lot of evidence to the fact that the team could end up relocating and returning to Los Angeles.
The LA Times reported that Kroenke has joined forces with Stockbridge Capital Group, the owners of the 238 acre Hollywood Park site. Combined with his 60 acres adjacent to the Forum, the group plans to build an 80,000-seat NFL stadium and a 6,000-seat performance venue.
There is already a huge development in the area that has hotel, office, retail, and residential spaces.
So far, the Rams have declined to comment on the entire situation, but it’s known that they are unhappy in the Edward Jones Dome. The NFL, on the other hand, has responded to the talk of Kroenke’s new stadium in Los Angeles, per Pro Football Talk.
“No team has applied for relocation and there will be no team relocations for the 2015 season,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said via email. “We are committed to working towards having franchises that are strong and successful in their existing markets. Any decision on relocation in 2016 or later is subject to approval by the 32 clubs. An affirmative vote by 24 of 32 clubs (three-fourths) is required.”
The St. Louis Rams and Stan Kroenke do need to comply with the NFL’s rules for relocation, but they have a couple of things in their favor.
Kroenke has the ability to end the team’s 30-year lease a full decade early due to St. Louis officials not improving the stadium, per their agreement. Later this month, they can convert the lease to year-to-year if a new agreement is not met by the end of January.
As of now, the two sides are almost $575 million apart.
A number of teams have thought about relocation, and Los Angeles is a prime location for an NFL team to return. Both the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are unhappy in their older stadiums that have not been updated.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said that any team that moves – earliest in 2016 – could play in a temporary stadium until a new one is built. A couple of options are the Rose Bowl and the Coliseum. The new proposed NFL stadium could be called Farmer’s Field, and there are already artist’s renderings of it.
NFL football left Los Angeles when the Rams and Raiders left after the 1994 season. For years, many teams have looked at moving to the city in order to negotiate better deals with their current cities.
Stan Kroenke could end up moving the St. Louis Rams to Los Angeles, but it certainly won’t be happening until after the 2015 season. The announcement of a new stadium though, well, it creates a lot of awkward tension and could bring about some backlash from Rams’ fans for the upcoming season.
[Images via Bleacher Report, Anschultz Entertainment Group, and HKS Inc.]