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St Louis Rams to make 'bittersweet' LA move

By Matthew Campelli    13 Jan 2016
HKS have designed the Rams' Hollywood Park-based stadium, due to be complete in 2019 / HKS

National Football League (NFL) franchise the St Louis Rams has been granted relocation to Los Angeles after a decisive vote by the league’s board.

The Rams will return to the city for the start of the 2016 season, with its new US$1.86bn (£1.3bn, €1.69bn) stadium in Inglewood due to open in 2019. It will play its home games at the LA Coliseum until the arena is built.

NFL owners voted 30-2 in favour of the move, with the Rams paying a US$550m (£380.3m, €508.4m) relocation fee. The team previously played in the Californian city between 1946 and 1994 and were vying for the move in competition with the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders.

Owner of the franchise, Stan Kroenke, said the deal had been “multi-years in the making”, although the move from the Missouri city would be “bittersweet” due to opposition from the team’s fans.

In moving to Los Angeles, the Rams turned down US$150m (£103.7m, €138.6m) of public money from Missouri to build a US$1.1m (£760.5m, €1bn) development in St Louis.

“I’ve spent a lot of time on the Los Angeles Committee for a number of years and it is a difficult market,” he said. “We worked hard, we got a little bit lucky and had a lot of people help us. First of all, my partners in the league and the league office were just outstanding.”

The agreement made by the NFL owners in Houston, Texas, also allows the San Diego Chargers to relocate to Los Angeles if they want to build a new stadium or move into the Hollywood Park-based stadium with the Rams. If they do not take up the option, the Raiders can opt to move, with the NFL offering US$100m (£69.1m, €92.4m) to contribute to any potential projects.

Chargers owner Dean Spanos said he was not sure what the future held for the franchise after the “excruciating” process. “I’m going to look at all our options,” he said. “I’m going to take a little bit of time here. We do have some options. It’s very difficult to say right now I’m going to do this or I’m going to do that.”

The future of the Raiders appears even more uncertain with the lease on its current home, the Oakland Coliseum, due to expire, and the city reluctant to help finance a new stadium.

“This morning I started the meeting by saying relocation is a painful process,” said NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell. “Stability is something that we’ve taken a great deal of pride in and in some ways, it is 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.”

St Louis Rams  National Football League  NFL  Los Angeles  new stadium 
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