After a 21-year hiatus, the NFL is back in Los Angeles.
On Tuesday, NFL owners voted 30-2 to approve St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke's proposal to relocate the team to a state-of-the-art, $3 billion facility on the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood, California – about 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles. The move is effective immediately, meaning the Rams will likely play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum next season, and will stay there until their new stadium is ready in 2019.
"We have the return of the Los Angeles Rams to their home," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said following a day of meetings with team owners. "We have a facility that is going to be absolutely extraordinary, and that is going to set a new bar."
The fee to move the Rams – who were based in L.A. from 1946-1994 – is $550 million, which Kroenke will reportedly pay to the league in a lump sum. In an attempt to block the move, the city of St. Louis had recently approved a plan to build a new $1.1 billion open-air stadium along the Mississippi River. That facility would have replaced the Edward Jones Dome (originally built to lure an expansion team to the city in the Nineties), but Kroenke was determined to take his team back to the West Coast…and the nation's second-largest media market.
Understandably, this did not exactly endear him to fans in St. Louis...
The NFL is garbage and Kroenke is literally Satan, but I love my city. We'll always have the GSOT, St. Louis. Now and forever #ramup— Marty Johnson (@like_mj1) January 13, 2016
With the ST LOUIS Rams leaving...I'm done and will no longer support the @NFL— Chris Smith (@oldman_95) January 13, 2016
...though Kroenke said the city's economy made it difficult for an NFL franchise to thrive there.
"We understand the emotions involved of our fans," he said. "We made a decision and worked long and hard at the various alternatives. When they didn't succeed, we worked this one to a point."
The Rams may not be alone in the move, either. The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders each filed paperwork earlier this month in the hopes of relocating to Los Angeles, and had even forged an uneasy alliance centered on sharing a stadium in Carson, California. But that proposal did not garner the support of the 24 league owners needed to ratify it, and in the hopes of bringing years of often contentious (and very public) negotiations to an end, those same owners began pressuring the Chargers to work out a deal with the Rams in Inglewood.
Eventually, the two teams hammered out an agreement to share the Inglewood facility – much like the New York Giants and Jets do with Metlife Stadium – and the Chargers now have until January 2017 to decide if they will leave San Diego, the city they've called home since 1961. Team chairman Dean Spanos is reportedly mulling the offer, while at the same time still attempting to convince the city of San Diego to build the team a $1-billion stadium backed by $350 million in public funds. A spokesperson for San Diego's mayor said the city is "ready to engage."
In the chance that the Chargers decide to stay in San Diego, the Raiders would then have the option to join the Rams in Inglewood. The team played in Los Angeles from 1982-1994 and currently share a facility with Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics. The NFL will give the Raiders and Chargers $100 million for stadium renovations if they stay in their current markets.
The last NFL franchise to move was the Houston Oilers, who headed to Tennessee in 1997, where they officially became the Titans in 1999.