NFL owners voted on Tuesday for two franchises, the St. Louis Rams and the San Diego Chargers (should they choose to exercise their option), to relocate to Los Angeles. If the Chargers decide to stay in San Diego then the Oakland Raiders will have the chance to return to LA.
The Rams played in the Los Angeles area from 1946-94 before moving to St. Louis. The Raiders also left Los Angeles after the 1994 season.
This was a move all about money. Yes Rams owner Stan Kroenke will spend a ton of money to build a state of the art stadium in Inglewood, but he sees the payoff as being much greater than if he had stayed in St. Louis.
“St. Louis is a fabulous city in a fabulous state, and certainly they’re an NFL city,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jones said. “It’s just that Stan Kroenke is in an exceptional situation, and he has great sports interests and great willingness to put serious resources toward his enthusiasm. Those are called angels in the NFL.
“He will be such a face of that franchise, with what he’s done just by the sheer fact that he’s willing to commit several billion, not just the cost of the stadium, but the cost of the whole development around it. And it’s not on paper. It’s not options. This is the real deal. That really ruled the day in the NFL, and it should rule the day.”
Kronke is so certain that he will be able to print money in LA, that he is willing to move the Rams to the ancient Los Angeles Coliseum home until the new stadium is built.
The Raiders also were a candidate to move to Los Angeles, and still could if San Diego doesn’t. The Chargers bought time to continue negotiations with San Diego to build a new stadium there.
The NFL has committed $100 million to the Chargers and to the Raiders if either lands a stadium deal in their current market.
Left unsaid by the NFL is what happens if the fans don’t embrace the Rams? LA is a town that supports winners and the St. Louis Cardinals have won more playoff games in the last five years (32) than the Rams have won regular season games (29).
The Coliseum is huge, it seats over 93,000 fans, and the Rams have not had a winning season since 2003 when they finished 1204. Three years at the Coliseum is a long time, and while the NFL owners are slapping themselves on the back after finally getting back into the second biggest market, I expect a lot of TV blackouts in LA as the Rams struggle to fill the Coliseum in years two and three.