The NFL voted Tuesday in Houston to decide which franchise would work its way back to Los Angeles. The 32 coaches in the league voted 30-2 on relocating the St. Louis Rams to the country’s second largest market that has been NFL-less for 21 years. So why now?
WHY THE RAMS?
There are a few different ideas going around on why the Rams got the go-ahead. I’d like to think the league partially thought about the fans, but some people beg to differ. I’d like to think it was a factor, for the Rams have the longest history in the city and an active fan base there.
Moving to LA the Rams will deal with plenty of competition when trying to gain new supporters. There are the Lakers and Clippers, Dodgers and Angels, Kings and Ducks, and you can’t forget the giants of it all — USC and UCLA. It was termed the Entertainment Capital of the World for a reason.
The main reason for everything the NFL does, though, is business. That is why Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s stadium design at the Old Hollywood Park Racetrack outdid the Charger/Raider Carson proposal. The multiuse center in Inglewood will cost $1.8 billion and won’t be ready until 2019, but for the money that the NFL is hoping this place will generate, it’s worth the wait.
Until their new home is built, the Rams will most likely be playing in the Coliseum.
THE TWO LEFT OUT
The Chargers were offered the option of joining the Rams either as a partner or a tenant. Owner Dean Spanos has until January 2017 to make his decision.
The main reason Spanos wants to make the move is the simple fact that San Diego has not delivered a new stadium. Qualcomm was built in 1967, and if you’ve ever been inside that place, it doesn’t look like many renovations have taken place either. But renovations won’t do this time around, and the Chargers are looking for a new home, so that means Qualcomm can’t just get gutted.
The city of San Diego is hosting a vote in June to decide on a $350 million check for the Chargers. Raiders owner Mark Davis has been calling for a new home for years now. O.co Coliseum saw renovations in 1995 but was built in 1966. Back in 2014 Davis traveled to Houston to see if there was a possibility there for his team, but as long as Jerry Jones of the Cowboys and Bob McNair of the Texans are around, no other team is stepping into their territory.
For now the Raiders are staying in Oakland, but if the Chargers choose to stay in San Diego, Davis will then get a year to decide if he wants to make the move or not. Entering a market three years after the other team though sounds lethal to me.
Additionally, the NFL has offered $100 million to assist with solutions in current markets if both teams choose to remain.
Los Angeles has been the NFL’s biggest bargaining chip since both the Rams and Raiders left the city following the 1994 season. Each team left for a smaller market thinking it would be better.
But since 1994, 22 of the league’s 32 teams have upgraded their stadiums. All a city needed to hear was, “Well we can always move to LA,” and the money came rolling out. Washington delivered $300 million to keep the Seahawks in 1997, and the Vikings recently got $498 million for a new stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
This will be the NFL’s first relocation since 1997, and let’s face it, they don’t want two teams in LA. If the NFL has its way, this move will bring out new stadiums for three more of the teams.