Just over two weeks after we learned that commissioner Roger Goodell informed teams no franchises would be relocating to Los Angeles for the 2015 season, Sam Farmer and Roger Vincent of the Los Angeles Times have a major update on the possibility of the NFL returning to L.A. According to the Times duo, Rams owner Stan Kroenke has joined forces with Stockbridge Capital Group and intends to build an NFL stadium in Inglewood.
Farmer and Vincent write that Kroenke, who purchased 60 acres of land adjacent to the Forum a year ago, has joined forces with Stockbridge Capital Group, the owners of the 238-acre Hollywood Park site. The plan for the group is to build an 80,000-seat NFL stadium, along with a 6,000-seat performance venue.
“We are excited to unveil an expanded plan that will bring a world-class sports and entertainment district to Hollywood Park,” Stockbridge founder Terry Fancher said in a statement. “We are committed to working with [the Kroenke Group] to build a project that will put Inglewood back on the map as home of the truly great sports and entertainment venues.”
While we’ve heard rumblings about the NFL’s potential return to Los Angeles for the last two decades, this is the first time that an existing team owner has held a space large enough to accommodate a viable stadium – with parking – and announced plans to move forward with the project.
Of course, this doesn’t make it a sure thing that the Rams will move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season, but it turns it into a very real possibility, particularly since the club can begin a year-to-year agreement in St. Louis as of the end of this month — that would give the franchise the flexibility to leave after the 2015 season, assuming arrangements for a temporary home in L.A. can be finalized as the new Hollywood Park stadium is built. The announcement forces St. Louis’ hand, with the city now under pressure to come back with a strong offer for the Rams within the next few weeks in order to try to keep the club in Missouri.
The Chargers and Raiders have also been mentioned as candidates to move to Los Angeles, so it will be interesting to see how the ownership of those clubs responds to Kroenke’s announcement. Farmer notes in a Q&A with Peter King of The MMQB.com that the concept of moving two teams to Los Angeles at once is “very difficult,” and that he wouldn’t expect to see more than one team move to L.A. initially. As of today, it looks like the Rams are the clubhouse leaders to be that team.