St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased a 60-acre plot of land in the Los Angeles area that many are speculating is large enough for him to build a football stadium as a possible new home for his football team.
Both the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that a holding company tied to Kroenke purchased the land earlier this month. The land is located in Inglewood, close by the Hollywood Park racetrack and across from the L.A. Forum, which is the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings.
The land is 60 acres and was originally purchased by WalMart, but the city blocked them from putting in a super store. The land has been unused ever since and was just sold to the company tied to Kroenke.
First, there are several obstacles to overcome with building a stadium in the area. There are already locations by Staples Center and the City of Industry that have made huge pushes for acquiring an NFL team, so they would use a lot of pressure to stop such a move. Secondly, even though the plot in question is 60 acres, there might not be challenges to find enough room for parking to accommodate tailgaters.
There are several other obstacles against the Rams moving.
They would have to receive approval from three-quarters of the NFL owners. They would have to pay a relocation fee, most likely in the nine-figure range. They would need to obtain all the proper permits and financing for such a construction project.
And then there is everything in St. Louis that would need to be taken care of. The Rams have a contract with the Edward Jones Dome, which is their current home, that requires the stadium to be in the “first tier” of stadiums (top 8 of 32) by 2015. If they’re not, they would be able to leave the city or go year-to-year on a lease. The Rams would have to prove that the city has not shown a willingness to work with them to keep the team. So far, St. Louis has demonstrated efforts to use public funds to improve the stadium. However, the spread between what they have offered and what the Rams want or would need to improve the dome is in the hundreds of millions.
Now I could just be totally off here, but it’s my educated guess that this story was planted by Kroenke’s side in an effort to scare St. Louis into stepping up and agreeing to spend more public money to keep the team. Isn’t it curious that stories were published minutes apart in both the LA Times and St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the same day? Why did these newspapers just happen to come across the same exact story tip minutes apart? It seems to me like some strategic move by Kroenke.
Also, it’s important to note that Kroenke builds and develops WalMart-anchored shopping centers around the country, so there’s no certainty that the land is even intended for a stadium.