January 13, 2016 - 12:01 pm
It’s official: The Rams are leaving St. Louis and going back to Los Angeles, and there’s a chance the San Diego Chargers will be right behind them. There definitely will be NFL action in the City of Angels for the first time in 21 years.
But what’s next?
There still are a lot of questions that need to be answered on logistics for the Los Angeles Rams. Here are some of the big ones.
When do the Los Angeles Rams start playing?
On Tuesday at a special league meeting in Houston, NFL owners voted to give the Rams approval to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season. The season kicks off in early September, but details and dates haven’t been announced yet.
The owners also approved the Rams’ plan for a stadium in Inglewood, which currently is estimated at $1.9 billion. The plan, which was announced by Rams owner Stan Kroenke a year ago, includes the option of housing a second team — which right now would be the Chargers, should they decide to go. The stadium would be part of an entertainment, retail and residential complex.
Kroenke also is willing to propose an equity ownership in the stadium in which the other team would be treated as an equal partner.
But there is a complication: That new stadium, at the site of the old Hollywood Park Racetrack, won’t be ready until 2019.
Where will the games be?
The most likely short-term scenario for the Rams is playing at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the home of the University of Southern California Trojans. In July, according to the Los Angeles Times, USC said it would welcome an NFL team to share the Coliseum for the 2016 season.
The Coliseum, however, isn’t exactly a brand new venue. It was built in 1923. Additionally, during part of the time frame where the Rams’ Inglewood stadium is under construction, the Coliseum likely will be getting a facelift. In October, USC announced a $270 million plan to renovate the Coliseum. Pending approval, USC plans to begin construction following the 2017 season and finish by the 2019 season.
It’s unclear when the Rams will move, where they will hold training camp or where they will house a practice facility. The Rams held their 2015 training camp at Rams Park in Earth City, Missouri.
CNN sent a list of questions to the Rams’ communications department, which included questions about where the Rams will play and practice. In response to the entire list of the logistics questions, Artis Twyman, the Rams’ senior director of communications, told CNN that the organization is still working through all of this.
How much will tickets cost?
Rams season tickets for 2016 aren’t yet on sale. Neither are single-game tickets. The official NFL 2016 schedule, with playing dates and times, will be announced in the spring.
CNN was unable to get immediate answers on ticket costs for when the Rams move to Los Angeles. The Rams ticket office — which is still located in St. Louis — was closed on Wednesday. The office voice message said that the Rams are relocating to Los Angeles and advised season-ticket holders to leave a message if they had any questions concerning their tickets or personal seat licenses.
For the 2015 season, the Rams’ final season in St. Louis, season ticket prices ranged from $300 to $1,750 per seat.
It’s unknown if the Rams will be selling personal seat licenses in Los Angeles.
What about the Chargers (and the Raiders)?
In Tuesday’s vote, NFL owners gave the Chargers the option to join the Rams at the Inglewood stadium. The Chargers have been given a year to work out a deal with the Rams. That also means that there’s still a chance a stadium plan could happen in San Diego, depending on a public vote in June or November.
“I will be working over the next several weeks to explore the options that we have now created for ourselves to determine the best path forward for the Chargers,” Chargers owner Dean Spanos said in a statement Tuesday.
San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and Ron Roberts, chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, also released a joint statement Tuesday, saying that they “remain committed to negotiating in good faith” provided Spanos has a “sincere interest in reaching a fair agreement in San Diego.”
The Oakland Raiders agreed Tuesday to opt out of their joint plan with the Chargers. Originally, the two teams had a proposal to share a stadium in Carson, California, a few miles south of Los Angeles.
As part of Tuesday’s compromise, the NFL promised the Chargers and the Raiders each $100 million for new stadiums if they stay in San Diego and Oakland, respectively. Should the Chargers decide not to join Kroenke and the Rams, the Raiders would then have the option to move to Los Angeles instead.
In a statement on Tuesday night, Raiders owner Mark Davis said that the Raiders will now turn their attention to exploring all options to find a permanent stadium solution.
St. Louis fans upset
St Louis Rams fans were left distraught by the NFL’s decision to move the team to Los Angeles on Tuesday, the second time the city has lost its franchise.
The city’s original NFL team, the Cardinals, who played in St Louis from 1960, left for Arizona after the 1987 season, but the Rams took their place, moving to the midwest from L.A in 1995.
Fans in downtown St. Louis expressed a mixture of sadness and rancor at the decision with anger directed at Kroenke, who masterminded the move.
“It is just a slap in the face for the city,” said Rams fan Jermaine Chambers, sitting at the bar of Stanley’s Lounge.
“Even though things might not have gone the way he wanted them to, he created the relationship with the city, so it is kind of his fault.
“Beyond that he still made money here. To dump on the city, to dump on the people and the community I just think it was classless.”
Other fans felt the NFL had let down St. Louis by failing to take into account the effort made to put together a plan for a new stadium for the 1999 Super Bowl champions.
“St Louis did everything the NFL required them to do … and it just seemed that they were ready the whole time to take them to L.A.,” Rams fan Zach Roberts said at a downtown sports bar.
“They are going to take the team that we have had for 20 years here back to a town that couldn’t support them when they had them.”
Reuters contributed to this story.