After 21 years of waiting for a National Football League (NFL) franchise, used-to-be St Louis Rams is returning home to Los Angeles.
There is no questioning that the National Football League is going to have a franchise based in L.A., as NFL is not the type of entity to let an opportunity to increase its profits and brand awareness slip on the edge. But the real question is, which NFL team ends the NFL’s 21-year absence from the second-largest media market in the US?
NFL owners voted 30-2 Tuesday night to allow the St. Louis Rams to move LA and build a stadium in Inglewood, California. The San Diego Chargers was given a one-year option to share the facility while the Oakland Raiders, who also wanted to move to the area, could move to LA if San Diego doesn’t.
“Relocation is a painful process. It’s painful for the fans, for the communities, for the league in general,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “In some ways a bittersweet moment, because we were unable to get the kind of facilities done we wanted in their markets.”
The Rams will play in the Los Angeles Coliseum temporarily while waiting for the new $1.8 billion stadium, which will be ready for the 2019 season.
“Today, with the NFL returning home, Los Angeles cements itself as the epicenter of the sports world,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “We cannot wait to welcome the Rams, and perhaps others soon, as they join a storied lineup of professional franchises, collegiate powerhouses, and sports media companies.”
Goodell also announced that the league will give $100 million to the Chargers and the Raiders if either team builds a new stadium in their current markets.
“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,” said Chargers chairman and owner Dean Spanos. The Chargers play 120 miles south of Inglewood in Qualcomm Stadium.
The Rams was based in LA from 1946 to 1994 while the Raiders played in L.A. from 1982-94. Both left Los Angeles after the 1994 season.