Every time there is a small indicator that the Rams could move back to L.A. everybody jumps all over it, and by the looks of it, this time there is a pretty strong indicator.
According to reports in the Los Angeles Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Rams owner Stan Kroenke, recently purchased a 60-acre tract of land in Inglewood, Calif.
The reports indicate that the land is located between the Forum and Hollywood Park and could serve as a possible spot for development of a new NFL stadium according to the Times’ sources.
The Rams have failed to fill the Edward Jones Dome as of late, most of that due to the fact that the Rams have been pretty bad over the last ten years. You have to be good to bring in the fans. People don’t want to come watch a losing team.
The Rams are getting better however with two straight seven win seasons, but the number of fans in attendance is still pretty poor. Last season the Rams were second worst in the league with an average of 56,957 fans in attendance in a stadium that holds 66,000. That was up from 2012 when the average was 56, 703 and the year before 56,394. However in those three season the attendance was still at the bottom of the league.
The Rams’ lease at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis is set to kick in at the end of the 2014 season. In order for the lease to stay the Edward Jones Dome has to be one of the eight best venues in the NFL before that time. If it does not the Rams’ lease will then become a year-to-year proposition beginning in 2015.
Discussions about how to bring the current stadium up to that standard have been ongoing for the past couple of years but no resolution was reached. In 2012, the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission proposed a $124 million upgrade to help the Edward Jones Dome reach the “first tier” standard.
The Rams countered with a more elaborate proposal which was estimated to cost somewhere in the range of $700 million.
In February of last year, an arbitrator heard both proposals and ruled in favor of the Rams. Soon after, the commission made it clear it does not intend to follow through with the plan, meaning the lease will almost certainly expire after next season.
Kroenke buying this plot of land could mean nothing as he is “best known” for massive shopping centers and suburban development. It should also be noted that Kroenke bought some acres in England as well. Kroenke could also be using this as leverage to keep the Rams in St. Louis.
St. Louis has always been a baseball town, but there is no doubt that they would like to keep the Rams, especially when it looks like the team is on the rise. The NFL would like to have a team in L.A. once again at some point, but whether or not that team is the Rams is still yet to be determined.