Still hoping for the day that the NFL makes its triumphant return to Los Angeles? Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but that day may be coming sooner than you thought.
The owner of the St. Louis Rams plans to build a huge stadium and adjoining entertainment complex in Inglewood that could pave the way for the NFL back in the city of angels. Sam Farmer broke the news earlier this morning, via the L.A. Times.
A BIG DEAL for NFL in LA — Stan Kroenke, owner of the St. Louis Rams, plans to build an NFL stadium in Inglewood http://t.co/S8ueWz3EnB
— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) January 5, 2015
Here’s more of the details via Farmer and Roger Vincent from the same Times story:
“Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who bought 60 acres adjacent to the Forum a year ago, has joined forces with the owners of the 238-acre Hollywood Park site, Stockbridge Capital Group. They plan to add an 80,000-seat NFL stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue to the already-massive development of retail, office, hotel and residential space, Stockbridge and the Kroenke Group told The Times.”
Ok so there’s a couple of aspects about this story we ought to examine. First, let’s think about costs.
For those worried about potential costs to John Q. Public, a press release put out earlier this morning via the Hollywood Land Company plainly stated, “The project will be built at no cost to taxpayers, create thousands of construction and permanent jobs for local residents and generate tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue for the city.”
That sounds promising, but how likely is it that this project actually comes to fruition?
Well what’s especially intriguing about this development, as Farmer points out, is that the Korenke has the ability to take his lease year-to-year starting later this month, meaning that the if the team isn’t happy with their current situation in St. Louis, they could move to Los Angeles as soon as 2016. According to Farmer, the two sides negotiating the potential stadium improvements are still $575 million apart.
Moreover, Kroenke’s power play is a watershed in that it’s the first time an existing team owner has controlled a local site large enough for a stadium and parking.
Still, if you’re an NFL fan who has followed potential L.A. relocations over the past few years you’ll realize that it’s sort of like Charlie Brown kicking the football.
Whether it’s the Vikings, Chargers, Raiders, Rams, even the Jaguars, team names are always getting floated as possibly relocating, and it always seems to be about the same time that they’re in the midst of
extorting negotiating additional dollars from their current city for stadium improvements. And no team ever moves.
L.A., it turns out, is the perfect bargaining chip to convince their home city to pony up more dough.
Two other football stadium proposals, AEG’s Farmer’s Field, and a project for a stadium in the City of Industry, both have cleared significant legal, political and environmental hurdles to be built, and yet nothing has progressed further, mainly because no franchise has committed to moving.
Bottom line: As far as the NFL in L.A. goes, I’ll believe it when I see it BUT this has to be one of the most promising signs in awhile that the Rams may be on their way back to the city of angels.