Rams Reportedly Heading Back To L.A., Are Raiders Far Behind?
CBS Sports' Jason LaConfora has reported that the St. Louis Rams are set to make a major announcement after the Super Bowl and that the announcement may have something to do with the 60 acre tract of land in Inglewood, CA that was purchased by team owner Stan Kroenke in January.
Kreinke, who is from Los Angeles had tried to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers when they were up for sale three years ago. Since 1994 when both the Rams and Raiders left Southern California, the nation's second largest television market has been without an NFL team. Over that time, rumors of franchises relocating have included the San Diego Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars and a return of the now Oakland Raiders. But these relocations were always dependent on local municipalities building stadiums for these franchises. This is the first time that it appeared a team was willing to build a stadium to house itself.
The relocation would make geographical sense, as the Rams play in the NFC West, a division that includes the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. This would put all 4 teams in the division in the same time zone for part of th season (Arizona does not spring forward and fall back with Daylight Savings Time). The "proposed" stadium would be located between a refurbished LA Forum, former home of the LA Lakers and Kings, and Hollywood Park, a legendary racetrack which closed down last December. There have been several locations that have been discussed as possible sites since 1994, with many artist rendering of stadiums submitted. There is, however, a big difference if Kroenke truly does have an interest in moving the Rams out of St. Louis and back to Los Angeles, which every indication leads you to believe that he wants to build a stadium and move the team there.
Other rumors state that the NFL has a strong desire to force current Oakland Raider owner Mark Davis, son of legendary league pain in the back-side Al Davis, to sell the team, a sale that could generate more that $2 billion for the Davis family. The sale would lead to the Raiders also returning to the Southern California market, with proposed locations for a new stadium in the City of Industry and Walnut.
The earliest a team could relocate to Los Angeles would be January 2015. The Rams' lease agreement with the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, which runs the Edward Jones Dome, expires at the end of this season. The Raiders meanwhile, have been unhappy with their home at the O.co Coliseum, a stadium they share with baseball's Oakland A's. Alamedia County, CA recently signed a new lease with the A's that calls for renovations to the stadium that seem more "baseball friendly", while the Raiders seem interested in having a football only stadium built, similar to Levi's Stadium, the recently opened home of cross bay rival San Francisco 49ers. The county does not appear interested in building a new facility.
The rams are expected to make their big announcement on February 15, 2015, two weeks after their NFC West Rival Arizona Cardinals host Super Bowl IL (49) at University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix.