There has been a lot of talk lately about the St. Louis Rams making a very serious bid to move to Los Angeles. Their owner, Stan Kroenke, has not only voiced his intentions to move the Rams back to Los Angeles, but has also purchased land in Inglewood to add a little more weight to his stated intentions. Sure, Kroenke would still need approval from 75% of the league's owners and would also need to clear hurdles to build a new stadium in Los Angeles, but he has some pretty convincing reasons to make the move.
The NFL would love to have a team come back to Los Angeles without having to expand from the current divisional format that includes 32 teams. The Rams moving would make the most sense. The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders could also be considered good candidates for a move but most sports fans in Los Angeles look at the Chargers as San Diego's team and the Raiders just seem to belong in the East Bay area of Northern California.
Of course, a new stadium would be the obvious primary reason for the Rams to move to Los Angeles, but there are 10 other compelling reasons why the move would make sense. The St. Louis fans have seen the Cardinals move to Arizona before the Rams came into town and somehow life would go on in St. Louis if the Rams moved as well. On the other hand, Los Angeles is prime real estate for any NFL teams. It seems like most football fans would endorse such a move and this list gives several reasons why.
11 Honorable Mention: Put the "West" Back in the NFC West
The Rams are in the NFC West along with the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. If the Rams move back to Los Angeles, it would make the division truly live up to its name with all teams essentially in the western part of the United States. Travel time, expenses and rivalries would all be improved with such a move.
10 The Rams Need a New Stadium
The Edward Jones Dome opened in 1995 and received a renovation in 2009 that cost about $30 million, but still falls short of being in the top 25% of stadiums in the league. This will give the Rams the option of breaking their current lease following the 2015 season if the dome still fails to measure up to the top tier of stadiums in the league. The once modern stadium has always been far from awe inspiring, and somehow this seems to also translate to the lack of atmosphere inside.
The Edward Jones Dome only cost $280 million when it was built and also has a somewhat limited capacity of 66,000. The stadium has never hosted a Super Bowl, major college football bowl game and only hosted the Big 12 Championship game a few times in the 90's. The Rams were looking for a $700 million renovation to bring the stadium up to current NFL standards, but that was met by proposals by the local Convention and Visitor Center Bureau that were considerably less. Presently in a division (NFC West) that has seen the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and now the San Francisco 49ers get new stadiums in the new millennium, the Rams are simply trying to play catch up.
9 St. Louis is a Baseball Town
The St. Louis Cardinals professional baseball team officially got their start as the St. Louis Brown Stockings in 1882. Since that time, the Cardinals have managed to win 11 World Series titles, have had 20 league MVPs and have won at least 100 games in a season on eight different occasions. This level of success and consistency has enabled the Cardinals to maintain a strong following and presence in the St. Louis metropolitan area. This support is evidenced by the fact that the Cardinals have exceeded a total of 3 million in attendance for each season since 2004.
The Cardinals got their new stadium, new Busch Stadium, in 2006. The total cost of construction was $365 million and was financed mostly through private funding as well as a long term loan from St. Louis County. Baseball and the Cardinals are so popular in St. Louis that the Cardinals have placed in the top 3 of the league for regular season attendance for 9 out of the last 10 years. In St. Louis, the Cardinals are a tough act to follow. The Rams are well behind them and the NFL's Cardinals never seemed to be able to compete either, hence the move to Arizona.
8 It Would Keep the Chargers in San Diego
The San Diego Chargers are concerned with the Rams posturing and will try to do their best to block the Rams' plans to move to Los Angeles to try to keep their monopoly in Southern California. In addition to keeping their market intact, the Chargers also want their own new stadium. If San Diego is unwilling to cooperate, Los Angeles could also be a landing place for the Chargers. Having the Rams come in first only makes it harder for the Chargers to consider Los Angeles as a viable option. The city might be big enough for two teams, but the likelihood of it being a profitable venture for both teams is pretty unlikely.
Additionally, the Rams' owner is wiling to build a stadium with private funds and the Chargers would require assistance from the public get a new stadium. The likelihood of that coming from the city of Los Angeles decreases if the Rams come to town. There will be less public interest in luring a second NFL team to Los Angeles and financing a stadium for that second team that presently has no fan base in Los Angeles. Staying in San Diego would be smarter and the Chargers could still keep their Orange County fans that represent a significant portion of their current fan base.
7 Los Angeles Has More Value
The city of Los Angeles has enough wealthy sports fans to fill luxury boxes, club seats and purchase bags full of merchandise but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Despite a little bit of perceived apathy towards the NFL, the city loves trends and has proven that it will back a winner, so judging by the recent $2 billion valuation bestowed upon the Los Angeles Clippers, there is no telling what an NFL franchise might be worth. Los Angeles is valuable NFL real estate that would be a major upgrade from operating in St. Louis.
No disrespect to St. Louis, but the Los Angeles metropolitan area has more populace, more affluence and more importance in terms of national prominence and media coverage. Any move from the middle of the country to the entertainment capital of the world would make sense financially. Maybe that is why owner Stan Kroenke is willing to foot the bill for a new stadium in Los Angeles. The stadium could make much more money in Los Angeles without football even being taken into consideration.
6 The Rams Owner Has Been Moving West
The St. Louis Rams are currently owned by Stan Kroenke who was born and raised in Missouri. That does not mean that Kroenke has no ties to the western part of the country. Kroenke, who established Kroenke Sports Enterprises, has slowly been increasing his presence in the western region through his various business dealings. He appears to be dedicated to reaching the Pacific coast.
Kroenke owns the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets, both of which he turned over to his son in order to become the full owner of the Rams. He also owns the Pepsi Center, home of the Nuggets and Avalanche, as well as other sports interests in the state of Colorado, including part-ownership of Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce, Colorado. He even went in on a winery in Napa Valley, Screaming Eagle, to establish more of a presence in the region. Moving the Rams west would simply be an extension of his business dealings and fit into his plans.
5 To Provide Los Angeles with a First Class Venue for Other Events
Los Angeles and the Rams ownership could also benefit from a new stadium that would instantly add more value to tickets for other events that are currently limited to the antiquated Rose Bowl, Los Angeles Coliseum or other lower capacity outdoor venues. The Rams move would improve the facilities for the entertainment industry that is alive and well in the Los Angeles region. This new stadium could also be used for major soccer events and other sporting events that are too big for the StubHub Center or Staples Center. It is easy to see why Rams owner Stan Kroenke would want to finance the stadium in Los Angeles without the help of the public.
The stadiums in Los Angeles do little to help many large events stand apart from other locations in the country. It seems like a shame that Los Angeles does not have a first class facility to host major outdoor events, especially major concerts. The economic impact for the area around this venue would be significant, including Inglewood and the southern part of the city of Los Angeles. There is certainly more money that can be made outside of football with a new stadium in Los Angeles as opposed to a new stadium in St. Louis.
4 Put an End to the NFL's Control Issues with Los Angeles
The NFL seems to want more control over the stadium and team that moves to Los Angeles and having the Rams move to L.A. without the NFL's blessing is not exactly the worst thing. It is a little scary how much the NFL had been involved with AEG and their bid to build a new downtown Los Angeles stadium, despite having no definitive team to call it home. The AEG plan was essentially deemed to be too costly and the NFL finally had to abandon its support of the plan that seemed flawed in the first place without a specific team's participation.
While the NFL is still looking for alternative sites and a suitor willing to work with the city and league, the Rams owner is willing to jump the gun and take care of business himself. The move still needs the approval of 24 of the NFL's 32 owners, but the Rams are intent to go through with their plans despite this potential roadblock. The NFL has spent enough time dangling Los Angeles like a carrot stick and a Rams move will put an end to the league's posturing and control issues that seem to go a long way towards holding St. Louis, San Diego and Oakland hostage as the saga continues to play out.
3 Pump New Life into the Rams Franchise
After the Rams moved from Los Angeles in 1995, it only took them five seasons in St. Louis to win a championship. The Rams became the "Greatest Show on Turf" and went on to score 526 points in the 1999 season, behind the exploits of Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk. Shortly after making the move to St. Louis, it seemed to put more pressure on Rams ownership to turn the franchise around to get to the Super Bowl. This led to a series of instrumental moves, including the hiring of Dick Vermeil, the drafting of Orlando Pace and the trade for Marshall Faulk. The Rams are at a point where they could use a similar spark to at least get to the playoffs.
This time around, the Rams have a solid defense but are lacking consistency on offense. A move to Los Angeles might provide the impetuous to force ownership to make some savvy moves to entice the new fans. When the Raiders reached their second season in Los Angeles, they finished with a 12-4 record and won the Super Bowl against the Washington Redskins. The Rams, who finished with a 6-10 record, could use a quarterback who doesn't get injured and a few more moves to turn things around.
2 Los Angeles is a Huge Market
Los Angeles is a major U.S. city with an even bigger metropolitan area. The area has two NBA, two NHL and two MLB franchises, but no football teams. This easily represents the biggest void in major professional sports. It is also quite ironic that the entertainment capital of the world is missing the entertainment option of going to a football game on Sundays. On the other hand, it is partly due to the myriad of entertainment options that Los Angeles residents enjoy that makes them seem to not mind the absence of an NFL team.
In either case, the size of the Los Angeles metropolitan area is too big to not have an NFL team. The merchandising opportunities in addition to all the other revenues in an area of this size are significant. The Los Angeles metropolitan area and all its surrounding statistical areas is home to around 18 million people, which is quite substantial compared to the St. Louis metropolitan area that has just about 3 million residents. Having six times more potential customers certainly makes it less of a risk for the Rams to make a move and more of a reward if they achieve any measure of success.
1 The Rams Have History in L.A.
The Rams never seemed to be the same after leaving Los Angeles for the short move to Anaheim Stadium long ago. That might help explain why the Raiders were able to move into the very centralized Coliseum amid a fair amount of fanfare. Despite all the moves the Rams have made, there are still a good number of fans in Los Angeles who would like nothing better than to welcome them back. This history should help lure some diehard fans back and create a strong enough base of season ticket holders before any marketing dollars are even spent. Heck, they were in Los Angeles for 34 years and in Southern California for close to 50 years! The majority of the franchise's history is out west and it'd be a great homecoming story for them to move back there.
If the Rams front office can convince fans that moving from Los Angeles in the first place was a business decision that only had to do with the stadium situation in L.A, it will help heal some of the wounds. Los Angeles sports fans can be very loyal, and even though the Lakers are going through a disastrous season this year they are still showing up at the Staples Center to show their support. If the Rams can stay put, there will be just enough loyal fans to add to the entertainers and relatively newer Los Angeles residents to re-create a strong fan base.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!