St. Louis Rams Owner Wants to Bring NFL Team to Los Angeles

( [email protected] ) Jan 05, 2015 07:45 PM EST
No NFL team has made Los Angeles its home base since 1994. However, it could happen soon in a proposed bigger venue if St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke gets his way.
Plans for the 298-acre ''City of Champions'' project -- shown in this artist rendering -- include a football stadium, performance venue, retail shops, office space, residential units, a hotel and public parks and playgrounds. Courtesy of HKS

In terms of sporting events, the city of Los Angeles has a vibrant professional basketball, baseball and even hockey and soccer scene. Now the NFL may consider putting an American football team there, if the St. Louis Rams owner gets his way.

According to Sam Farmer and Roger Vincent of the Los Angeles Times, Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the owners of the Hollywood Park site, Stockbridge Capital Group, want to build an 80,000-seat NFL stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue in addition to developing retail, office, hotel and residential space. The size of the development would span a nearly 300-acre tract; according to Michael Blood of the Associated Press, Kroenke's company owns an additional 60 acres adjacent to the proposed site in Inglewood, which used to house a horse racing track.

"This is a perfect location for a venue like this," Christopher Meany, senior executive of Hollywood Park Land Co., said. "I don't know of a place that compares to this."

Meany alluded that the new location would be close to major freeways, the Los Angeles International Airport and The Forum, where the Los Angeles Lakers used to play.

If the plan goes through, it will be the first time the NFL returns to the Los Angeles area since the 1994 exit of the Rams and Raiders from the region. While there are plans in the works, any development would hinge on approval by local voters, according to Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr.

"This will hasten the time for the citizens of Inglewood to get the project they deserve," Butts said. "This is something they have waited for a long time."

Butts added that he was "extremely supportive" of the ballot measure that would add the sports and entertainment complex to the already-approved Hollywood Park redevelopment. According to the Los Angeles Times, the developers indicated that no tax dollars will be used to pay for the construction project, including the stadium.

"The group plans to begin gathering signatures soon for an initiative that would place the entire project on the Inglewood municipal ballot in 2015," Farmer and Vincent wrote.

The plan by Kroenke, who made his fortune in real estate and became a billionaire according to the Los Angeles Times, puts the city of St. Louis in a tight spot. The city, which is the current home of the Rams, would either have to strike a deal for a new stadium or watch the NFL team go back to Los Angeles.

"Under their current deal, the Rams can end their 30-year lease a decade early because they have not reached an agreement with St. Louis officials on improvements to the stadium," Farmer and Vincent wrote. "The sides remain about $575 million apart. St. Louis is expected to offer the team a new proposal by month's end."

According to the Los Angeles Times, the NFL has a great deal of influence on which team or teams ultimately move into the Los Angeles market. If a team wants to relocate to another place, a three-quarters majority of team owners must approve the move.

However, the Los Angeles Times also noted that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that no relocation applications would be accepted for the 2015 season, making any moves from any teams unlikely until 2016 at the earliest.

Tags : NFL, Los Angeles, St. Louis Rams, Rams, St. Louis, Stan Kroenke, Hollywood Park, Inglewood, Roger Goodell, NFL Los Angeles, NFL relocation, football stadium Los Angeles, NFL football stadium