STADIUM WARS--Decision time is drawing close for the NFL to pick a team or teams to move back to Los Angeles, and this week the three combatants—the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, and St. Louis Rams—all submitted their official move requests to the league.
The Rams have a plan to return to LA by way of a $1.86-billion Inglewood stadium, and the Chargers and Raiders have thrown their lot in together to lobby for a $1.7-billion stadium in Carson. Via the LA Times, we're getting a look at the argument one team, the Rams, made in explaining why they and their Inglewood stadium are the best choice for Los Angeles.
The Inglewood stadium site has the best location, says the Rams; it's centrally located (between four freeways) and will be less than a mile away from a future Crenshaw Line station. The site will also have 12,675 dedicated parking spaces, plus "32,000 parking spaces available within one mile of the stadium and just under 42,000 available within two miles for large events such as the Super Bowl."
- The Inglewood stadium would rise in an area that, for its association with the now-gone Hollywood Park racetrack and the recently renovated Forum, is already well-known to Angelenos.
- The site has all the necessary environmental approvals and has been primed for construction, so it's basically "shovel-ready" right now, according to the application.
- The nearly three-million-square-foot stadium would be the NFL's largest, and would be ready to go by 2019. (As the LA Times notes, the previously mentioned completion date was 2018. There's no explanation given for the new, later date.)
- But it's not the size of the stadium; it's how you use it. This one would accommodate two teams equally, offering each their own locker rooms, team offices, and owners' suites. (They are exactly the same in size, so no team would get the unfair advantage of larger locker rooms.) That means the Rams could share with, say, the Chargers, as they've said they're open to doing.
- The clear roof and open sides of the stadium will protect football fans in "inclement weather" and be four degrees cooler in the seating area than an open stadium (excellent for those warm LA days).
- The Inglewood stadium isn't just bigger than the one in Carson, it's got more seats from general admission up to the suites and club seats, which translates into more potential dollar signs for the NFL. The stadium would have 70,240 seats, plus room for 30,000 more in standing-room only conditions. It would also hold 274 suites and 16,300 premium seats.
- An Inglewood Super Bowl could make up to $50 million more than a Carson Super Bowl, say the Rams.
- The NFL could take up in the multi-use complex rising up alongside the stadium (on the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack) and create a central "NFL retail and entertainment district" in Inglewood.
- The neighboring event venue could possibly host NFL-related events like the annual draft selection. "Other potential NFL opportunities on the campus include an NFL retail store, a West Coast wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and NFL-themed hotels."
- LA was the Rams's stomping ground from 1946 to 1994, and people have not forgotten them. An LA Times poll taken in January 2015 showed that 62 percent of the more than 35,000 respondents wanted the Rams to come back to the city. 33 percent of poll-takers sided with the Raiders, and the Chargers only got 5 percent of respondents' support. The results of an NFL focus group in LA showed that "30 out of 53 respondents preferred the Rams to relocate, followed by 17 votes for the Chargers and 6 for the Raiders."
- Rest assured there will be no money-related hiccups in the project because Rams owner/stadium developer Stan Kroenke is rich and can definitely pull this thing off, plus he's married to a Walmart heiress.
(Ok, so what it actually says is "Mr. Kroenke, as developer of the Inglewood project, has a demonstrated ability to deliver on large real estate development projects," but they mean pretty much the same thing here.)
(Bianca Barragan is associate editor at CurbedLA.com, where this piece was first posted.)
Vol 14 Issue 3
Pub: Jan 8, 2016