PHOENIX—Will the Rams return to Los Angeles?
In a press conference Friday in Phoenix, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear he feels the city of St. Louis has been stalling on building a new football stadium for the Rams, or committing to an extensive renovation of the existing one.
“You know, Stan [Kroenke] has been working on the stadium issue in St. Louis, as you know, for several years,” Goodell said. “They had a very formal process as part of their lease. They went through that entire process. It did not result in a solution that works for either St. Louis or the team.”
Last year, Kroenke bought 60 acres of land in Inglewood, California, and plans on building an NFL stadium on the site. This has led to speculation that the well-traveled Rams—moving from Cleveland to Los Angeles in the 1940s and then from Los Angeles to St. Louis in the 1990s—look toward the Pacific.
“We want all of our franchises to stay in the current markets,” Goodell insisted. “That’s a shared responsibility.”
In other words, St. Louis get your act together, or the team could be heading west. Perhaps St. Louis is starting to get the message.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon appointed a stadium task force, and they unveiled a proposal for a 64,000-seat stadium in St. Louis, which could cost in the neighborhood of $1 billion, with almost half of the tab picked up by the taxpayers.
“St. Louis representatives seem determined to build a stadium,” Goodell said. “That’s a positive development—something that we look forward to working on with them.”
But that new St. Louis football stadium project is still early in the political-approval process. And with the Edward R. Jones Dome still in its teenage years, the public’s appetite to build yet another stadium may not be there.
And it might be too late anyhow.
Kroenke may have his mind made up already.