NFL owners approved the relocation of the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles by a 30-2 vote Tuesday night. The team plans to build a near-$3 billion football stadium complex in Inglewood, CA — 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
The owners also approved the relocation of the San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles as soon as next season. The Chargers do not have to decide until next January, allowing time to consider the outcome of a public vote on funding to keep the team. Should public financing get the support of San Diego voters, the deadline to decide where the team will play would be extended to 2018. If the Chargers choose not share the new venue with the Rams, then the Oakland Raiders would have the option to relocate there.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to build a glass-roofed stadium — designed by architecture firm HKS and estimated to be complete in 2019 — that would be the most expensive building of any sport, according to The New York Times. Before the completion of the new Inglewood stadium, the Rams would play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum temporarily, starting in August of this year. The temporary venue for the Chargers, if the team chooses to move, is currently undecided.
The NFL's announcement Tuesday follows a long saga of the three teams — the Rams, Chargers and Raiders — all seeking to relocate to Los Angeles. Despite the city of St. Louis' best efforts to keep the Rams — which included plans for a new $1.1 billion, HOK-designed stadium — the city will most likely lose the team.
After much debate, St. Louis approved a financing plan for that stadium in December. The plan included a unique minority participation component that local activists call "transformative," and unions even came onboard with the city’s expedited construction plans and agreed to work round-the-clock in three eight-hour shifts to eliminate overtime costs.
However, Kroenke seemed to force the NFL's hand after he said last week he would start construction on a new stadium in Inglewood, CA — where he bought a tract of land in 2014 — regardless of the NFL's decision. His stadium plan also includes the development of an entertainment district surrounding the venue.
Now that the Raiders will most likely be left out of any chance for a move, the team will seek to restart negotiations with Oakland officials to plan the construction of a new stadium, according to The Times.
The Rams used to play in Los Angeles until moving to St. Louis in 1995. Since then, Los Angeles officials and residents have been seeking the return of an NFL team to the city.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said of the planned new stadium, "We have a facility that is going to be absolutely extraordinary, and that is going to set a new bar." He added that the new Inglewood venue was "more than just a stadium" and would be a "signature product," according to The Times.