It has been 21 years since the NFL had a team in Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest television market. But now there is a strong sign that drought will end thanks to a big move by the owner of the St. Louis Rams.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke and a real estate management firm have announced plans to build an 80,000-seat NFL stadium in Inglewood, California, according to Sam Farmer and Roger Vincent of the Los Angeles Times. Kroenke purchased the land next to The Forum, the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers, last year.
Of course, this could all just be a negotiating ploy to help the Rams get a better deal on a new stadium in St. Louis. But there are good reasons to think this is more than just a threat.
It is no secret the NFL would like to return to Los Angeles but there have been two significant hold-ups. The first is the need for a new stadium. The second is deciding which teams would make the move.
The general consensus is that the league would like to put two teams in Los Angeles, possibly to share a stadium like the Giants and Jets do in New Jersey. The most likely teams to make the move are the Rams, the Oakland Raiders, and the San Diego Chargers.
All three teams need new stadiums and all three teams have previously played in Los Angeles, with the Rams and Raiders leaving after the 1994 season and the Chargers having started in Los Angeles in 1960.
This announcement by Kroenke is significant because not only is it a concrete stadium plan being put forth by a current NFL owner, but it also gives the Rams a leg up for one of the two spots over the other two teams.
The new stadium could be completed as early as 2018. However, the Rams have the option next month of being able to convert their current lease in St. Louis to a year-to-year deal and could potentially move to L.A. sooner and play in the L.A. Coliseum.