After it was reported that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke quietly purchased a stadium-sized, 60-acre piece of land near Hollywood Park in Inglewood nearly one year ago, the developer says he's going to finally build the thing.
The Los Angeles Times reported early today that Kroenke has joined forces with the owner of the adjacent, 238-acre Hollywood Park, Stockbridge Capital Group, to add “an 80,000-seat NFL stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue to the already-massive development of retail, office, hotel and residential space … “
We wouldn't go out and purchase Rams jerseys just yet, however.
Keep in mind that Kroenke has been dangling L.A. in front of St. Louis regional sports authority leaders for years as a negotiating ploy. He wants them to build him a new stadium in St. Louis.
And the threat of moving the Rams, who played in Southern California from 1946 to 1994, back to L.A., is his big bargaining chip. It has worked to get state and local leaders in St. Louis to start the planning process.
But perhaps it's not happening fast enough.
The fact that he hasn't packed up the shoulder pads yet speaks volumes and paints Kroenke as a perpetual bluffer, in our view. What's more, he's a developer. So he buys land anyway — stadium or no stadium.
L.A. is a bargaining chip for nearly any team that wants a new stadium. With the cost of such venues surpassing $1 billion, that's worth something to the NFL. If a team moves here, that game is over.
Does the NFL really want that game to be over?
Stadium proposals in downtown L.A. and the city of Industry have languished without a team, but the Times notes that this is “the first time an existing team owner has controlled a local site large enough for a stadium and parking.”
Using public money for pro sports stadiums is often a deal breaker in L.A. A huge plus here is that Kroenke and Stockbridge say no tax dollars would be used to build the venue.
If this billionaire is willing to build a stadium in L.A. without public help, why can't he do it in St. Louis?