The Rams are going back to Los Angeles.
Two decades after leaving California to relocate to St. Louis, the Rams are headed back to the Los Angeles area after a vote by NFL owners on Tuesday.
Meeting in Houston, the owners voted 30-2 in favor of the Rams’ re-worked relocation plan, according to media reports, which would have Stan Kroenke’s team moving into a $2.66 billion stadium in Inglewood with the Chargers having the option of joining them at a later date.
“The ownership, I think, personally believes that the project at Hollywood Park was the kind of project that is going to help make us successful in Los Angeles for the long term,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at a press conference. “I said this morning that we’ve been at this for over 20 years. We felt that we needed to have the kind of stadium and kind of project that had the vision, that had the facilities, that would really bring a new kind of fan experience to the NFL and to Los Angeles. So we’re very excited about the project that Stan has put together."
The Rams are expected to play in the Coliseum during the 2016 season while their future stadium at the former site of the Hollywood Park Race Track is built. That stadium plan, which was announced a year ago, is expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 season.
Kroenke, the Rams owner, spoke at the press conference after Goodell announcing the decision.
“Well, I told everyone in the room today that this has been multi years in the making and we’ve spent a lot of time — I spent a lot of time on the Los Angeles committee for a number of years — and it’s a difficult market, it’s a difficult place to permit a stadium and build something that we as a league can all be proud of,” Kroenke said. “I think we worked hard, we got a little bit lucky and we had a lot of good people help us. First of all, my partners in the league, the league office, were just outstanding. They served to inspire me and keep me going. 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. They are purposefully made hard. But we are here today, we made a decision and worked long and hard at the various alternatives and when they didn’t succeed we worked this one to this point.”
The St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders went into the owners meetings with plans to relocate to Los Angeles.
The Rams’ plan was to be the lone team in the Inglewood stadium, while the Chargers and Raiders were working together on a stadium project in Carson, Calif.
After neither of those projects received the required 24 votes from the NFL owners, a new plan was worked out that had the Rams eventually being joined by the Chargers or with the Chargers and/or Raiders receiving additional funding from the league for the purpose of new stadiums in their home markets.
“This morning I started the meeting by saying that relocation is a painful process,” Goodell said. “It’s painful for the fans, for communities, for the teams, for the league in general. Stability is something that we’ve taken a great deal of pride in and in some ways it’s a bittersweet moment because we were unsuccessful in being able to get the kind of facilities that we wanted to get done in their home markets.
“So the excitement that we feel about being able to return the Rams to Los Angeles is balanced that weren’t able to get it done for our fans in St. Louis, San Diego and Oakland. But we’ll continue to try in those markets and we’ll continue to try to address those issues.”