The Los Angeles Times reported today (January 5) that Stan Kroenke, owner of the St. Louis Rams, plans to build an 80,000-seat NFL stadium in Inglewood. Such a rumor has been rampant for a year, after Kroenke bought 60 acres in that area. But 60 acres isn't enough for the planned stadium, so Kroenke joined forces with Stockbridge Capital Group, which owns the Hollywood Park site. There will be other real estate developments in the area, according to the Times.
This makes three planned stadiums in the Los Angeles area: Kroenke's, the proposed Farmers Field downtown, and Ed Roski's proposal for City of Industry. Three NFL teams are unhappy with their present stadiums and are rumored to be eyeing L.A.; they are the Rams, Chargers, and Oakland Raiders. The NFL apparently wants two teams in L.A., but no movement is expected before 2016. Kroenke's stadium wouldn't be completed until 2018, although teams could move to Los Angeles and play temporarily in the Rose Bowl or L.A. Coliseum.
The Times article doesn't deal with the stupidity of St. Louis officials in the wooing of the Los Angeles Rams in 1994. St. Louis had lost the Cardinals to Phoenix in 1987. The city wanted another team. So it built a domed stadium in 1993 without a tenant; taxpayers shelled out 96 percent of the money. In negotiations between the Rams and St. Louis, the Rams, which couldn't wangle a sufficient subsidy to stay in Los Angeles, suggested a contract inclusion: the St. Louis stadium had to be "first tier" — in the top 25 percent of league stadiums — or the team could move in 2005 or 2015. St. Louis officials were so desperate to land a team that they overlooked this trick play. The lease isn't clear on what constitutes "first tier." And at the rate new stadiums are being built, few stadiums will remain in the top 25 percent for long. So, the Rams are free to move. St. Louis is putting together a subsidy package, but according to the Times, the team and the city are $575 million apart.
There is little support for a taxpayer subsidy in Los Angeles, although there is always wiggle room that can create a subsidy under another name. Right now, it appears the Rams may be first in line to get to Los Angeles.