It’s hard to believe, but the second biggest market in the U.S., Los Angeles, hasn’t had a National Football League team in 21 years, until now. The Rams are moving back to LA from St. Louis after intense negotiations among team owners, cities and NFL officials.
CCTV America’s May Lee reports.
The Rams are moving from St. Louis back to Los Angeles, where they played from 1946 to 1994. The decision to relocate was long and painful.
“It is a difficult process… And as Roger said it is bittersweet. We understand the emotions involved of our fans… and it’s not easy to do these things,” Rams owner Stan Kroenke said.
What sealed the deal is a new stadium with a very expensive price tag.
“Well, I have often said over those 21 years that what we need is a great facility,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “I think the reason why the two teams left, a large part, in the 90s — the Rams and the Raiders — was because they didn’t have an adequate stadium.”
St. Louis tried to keep the Rams from leaving by offering a new billion dollar stadium, funded by the city, Kroenke and the NFL, whose proposed contribution was $300 million. But the NFL was only willing to pay $200 million.
Kroenke offered his own taxpayer friendly package for a facility in Inglewood, California that’s projected to be anywhere from $2 billion-$3 billion, making it the world’s most expensive sports stadium.
Funds will come from private loans secured by Kroenke himself, the city of Inglewood and other private investors.
There will also be entertainment venues retail, office and residential space and a hotel.
Kroenke will also pay the NFL $550 million to move the Rams. NFL team owners overwhelmingly approved the proposal 30 to 2.
Until the new stadium is finished in 2019, the Rams will play at the LA Coliseum starting this fall, to the joy of fans. Residents recently had a chance to put down a $100 deposit on season tickets, and in just one hour nearly 10,000 deposits were paid.