About a week ago it was confirmed that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke bought a 60 acre plot of land in the Los Angeles area. Many assumed that would be a pretty good step that the Rams may in fact be moving back to Los Angeles.
Commissioner Roger Goodell shut that down at the state of the league address saying, ” Stan is a very large developer, on a global basis,” Goodell said. “He has land throughout the country and throughout the world. He has kept us informed of it. We’re aware of it. There are no plans, to my knowledge, of a stadium development. Anything that would require a stadium development would require multiple votes of the membership.”
There is now some more meat on the Rams moving to Los Angeles bone. It has now been reported that Kroenke does in fact plan to build a stadium meant for both fútbol aka soccer and football.
Kroenke reportedly wants to move the Rams back to California and start a Major League Soccer team called the Los Angeles Gunners, according to an anonymous tipster quoted in The Sun. That 60 acre plot of land Kroenke recently purchased would be the site of a 75,000-seat stadium.
Kroenke already owns the Arsenal Football Club, an English Premier League team, and the Colorado Rapids in the MLS. Adding another club to his collection would make sense, and then moving his NFL team to the same location would be ideal.
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.
In order for the Rams to move to St. Louis, the owners would still have to vote on it and get the move approved by the league, but with a new stadium in place, there is no doubt the league would most likely allow the move.
This report could also just give Kroenke a leg up in negotiations to get the upgrades that he wants to the Edward Jones Dome. However, with the plot of land in place, and these reports out, if St. Louis wants to keep their football team in town it may be time to give in and give the Rams what they want.