St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is reportedly set to build an NFL stadium in Inglewood, potentially green-lighting a move to Los Angeles, with a quick stop at the LA Coliseum.
The report, which comes from Sam Farmer and Roger Vincent of the LA Times, appears to include the most serious plan in bringing back the NFL to LA since both the Rams and Raiders left Southern California in 1994, as it involves an actual NFL owner.
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Previous plans like Ed Roski’s Los Angeles Stadium project in the City of Commerce and AEG’s Farmers Field in downtown were formed with the hopes of purchasing a franchise. That won’t be needed in this scenario.
All the Rams have to do is restructure their stadium lease, get the A-OK from the league office and Kroenke can freely bring the team back to Los Angeles for the first time since 1979.
And that’s how USC comes into the picture.
According to the report, Kroenke’s 80,000-seat stadium –pictured above– wouldn’t be ready until the 2018 NFL season. And the Rams wouldn’t be able to move out of St. Louis until the 2016 season, meaning that at most, they would need to seek a two-year refuge at either the LA Coliseum or the Rose Bowl.
While the Rose Bowl has more up-to-date facilities that are in line with NFL standards, the Coliseum likely makes more sense for a couple of contractual reasons.
Mainly, the Arroyo Seco neighborhood of Pasadena is notorious for being selective and steadfast in their pursuit of limiting residential traffic. In 2014, the city of Pasadena permitted the Rose Bowl to host just 18 events, including UCLA football games, the Rose Bowl Game and concerts.
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Considering that an NFL team would require between 10 and 12 dates per year when taking into account postseason games, the city would likely have to approve new legislation that would face protests from the within community. Whether or not that becomes an easier sell to residents once a specific NFL team is in need, remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, per the terms of USC’s lease on the Coliseum, the university can organize 25 events at the Coliseum per year. That’s more than enough dates for the Trojans’ six or seven home football games, a spring game and a full slate of NFL action for one team, like the Rams.
And with the university reportedly deciding on a budget as high as $600 million to renovate the Coliseum, any additional revenue from a tenant would be beneficial and expedite the construction process.
Where could it get interesting –and this is entirely speculative– is that while Pat Haden has said that USC has no intentions of temporarily leaving the Coliseum during major renovations, a state-of-the-art venue just seven miles from campus might make the school reconsider.
The renovation likely comes in phases like that of Texas A&M’s Kyle Field, but hey, it’s food for thought.
For now, let’s just sit back and see if this iteration of the NFL returning to LA can actually come to fruition.