After recent news that no NFL team would be inhabiting Los Angeles in 2015, it seemed the next we would hear on that matter wouldn't come down until 2016. Now just a week since the end of the 2014 season, Rams owner Stan Kroenke got a head start, telling Sam Farmer of the LA Times his plans to build a stadium in Los Angeles.
Just a year ago Kroenke had purchased a 60-acre plot of land in Inglewood next to the Great Western Forum where the Lakers once played. At the time it was assumed by some what he planned to do with it, but as a real estate developer, it could just have been a placeholder. That placeholder just got a lot bigger when he teamed up with the Stockbridge Capital -- owners of the 238-acre plot where the old Hollywood Park Casino once stood -- with plans to turn the entire area into one major development.
The development in the works is being called "The City of Champions" and would be very much like the "Coliseum City" plans which the Oakland development group has been trying to make a reality for a couple years now as a means of keeping the Raiders and hopefully the A's in Oakland. It would also add commerce and revitalize the area.
The Oakland plans have hit many stumbling blocks and have been revised several times as a result.
Both plans would involve an NFL stadium along with retail shops, restaurants, hotels, and residential. Though the LA stadium is planned to be much larger, with seating up to 80,000 seats.
Kroenke owns the Rams, who once called Los Angeles home. His Rams as well as two other former LA residents -- the Raiders and Chargers -- have become the three primary candidates to return for the 2016 season.
The Chargers were the first to announce they would be staying in San Diego for at least one more year. Raiders have already extended their one-year lease to return to the O.co in Oakland for the upcoming season.
If the Rams owner making it clear his plans to build an LA NFL stadium wasn't already one foot out the door for the Rams, there is one more step he could make that would reserve the moving trucks. Kroenke has until later this month to convert the Rams' lease to a year-to-year lease which would allow them to uproot after this season. By that time, St Louis is expected to propose new plans for renovating the existing stadium.
No teams play in more dilapidated stadiums than the Raiders and Chargers. For the Raiders part, Mark Davis has made it clear the Raiders will get a new stadium whether that be in Oakland, Los Angeles, or elsewhere (San Antonio?).
Up until this point, there had been several proposed stadium plans in Los Angeles but nothing was moving forward because no teams had committed to taking the plunge. Once they do, they would need to make the move as their current cities would not be too happy supporting a lame duck team.
Whatever team(s) move to Los Angeles would have a temporary home that would be the Rose Bowl and perhaps the LA Coliseum as well. Currently the UCLA Bruins play at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and the LA Coliseum is directly adjacent the USC Campus where the Trojans play.
Both the NFL and Kroenke benefit from a shared stadium. Having at least 20 NFL games a season played in that 80k complex is far preferable to as little as 10. And if one of those teams ends up being the Raiders, they would need to get in on the ground floor because Mark Davis has made clear his desire not to be a tenant as he would have been had he moved into the brand new Levi's Stadium with the 49ers.
While nothing is certain at this time, the Rams just got that much closer to being one of the teams to replace Los Angeles in their names. And with the plans in place and moving forward, it ups the odds of either the Raiders or Chargers joining them in 2016 should their respective cities not get on the ball to get a new stadium deal by this time next year.