On Monday, St. Louis Rams Owner Stan Kroenke announced his plan to build a stadium himself in Los Angeles. He currently owns close to 300 acres near Los Angeles International Airport in Inglewood, and hasn’t hidden the fact that he wants to move his team to LA as soon as possible.
His plan includes a new 80,000 seat football complex with an additional 6,000 seat arena on the same land, which is near the old Hollywood Park Racetrack. Because Kroenke plans on financing the stadium himself, no vote would be required from the general public, which is quite the contrary down south in San Diego.
There have been dozens of plans proposed to a build stadium in Los Angeles for the past decade. However, this one could be the Rams’, or some other franchise’s ticket to go to the City of Angels, which unfortunately includes the San Diego Chargers. The big obstacle that has been plaguing teams like the Chargers, and the Oakland Raiders is financing a new stadium in each of their respective markets.
St. Louis and the State of Missouri will have an opportunity to present Kroenke with a plan to either upgrade the Edward Jones Dome, or build them a new stadium. That is important as the only way a team can file for relocation with the NFL is to show that it has exhausted all avenues in getting new stadiums in their current markets. If they were to offer a viable deal to the Rams, it might be enough for the NFL owners to turn down Kroenke’s plan to relocate.
So what does that mean for us fans in San Diego? Well, it really depends on the way you look at it.
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For Charger fans, I think this is good news AND bad news.
The bad news for fans in San Diego is that, according to Team Owner Dean Spanos, a franchise moving to Los Angeles will be crippling financially for the Chargers as close to 30% of their revenue comes from the LA and Orange County markets, which the team could lose if a franchise were to move just 100 miles north. That might be enough to force Spanos’ hand, and beat the Rams or any other franchise to LA.
The good news, if Kroenke is serious with his plans on building a stadium himself and moving his franchise, then it’s one less spot the Chargers can fill in LA. Kroenke has also mentioned that he does not want to share the market with any other franchise if he were to move, but in reality, he probably doesn’t have much say in that, as the NFL would eventually like to have two franchises in LA.
Also, fans in San Diego will be thrilled to know that Team Official Mark Fabiani said on Monday that the Chargers are in “regular contact” with representatives of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer about the stadium issue.
One thing can be said for sure: the pressure is certainly on the city of San Diego more than ever to get something done in 2015. Will this be enough to get our ducks in a row in San Diego? We’ll certainly find out within the next 12 months.