More than two decades after the Raiders and Rams played their last games in Southern California, professional football is returning to the Los Angeles market.
The NFL has updated its website to reflect the move, changing the St. Louis Rams' name on their roster to the Los Angeles Rams.
After all-day negotiations in Houston, National Football League owners approved an NFL stadium in the city of Inglewood and the relocation of the St. Louis Rams. The San Diego Chargers have been given the option to move to Los Angeles, where they would share the stadium with the Rams.
There have been countless stadium proposals that have come and gone over the years – from an AEG facility in downtown Los Angeles to plans for a stadium at Dodger Stadium. But none of these proposals proved to have the critical ingredient: The support of an NFL owner.
St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke broke the ice just over a year ago when he proposed a sprawling sports, entertainment, and retail complex on nearly 300 acres of land in Inglewood. The stadium is projected to cost $1.8 billion, though the final tab could balloon significantly, easily making this the most expensive sports complex in the world.
The Chargers and Raiders jumped into the race a month later, when they announced a joint stadium to be built on a former landfill in Carson.
The vote is a big victory for Kroenke, who is the 63rd richest man in the world, according to Forbes. It's also a win for the long-struggling Inglewood, and its mayor, James Butts.
“For us, it’s build it and they will come,” Butts told KPCC last year. “And we actually believe that.”
The decision is a loss for Carson, where a proposal to pair the AFC rival Chargers and Raiders, was never as far along but gained considerable momentum when Disney CEO Robert Iger signed on as president in November. Iger lobbied NFL owners in recent weeks and made a presentation in Houston.
Chargers owner Dean Spanos said it was Kroenke's proposal in Inglewood that spurred the move.
"Over 25 percent of our business comes from Riverside County, Orange County and the Los Angeles County area," Spanos told the Chargers website. Another team or teams going in there would have a huge impact on that. I think that is what really was the catalyst that got this whole thing going."
It's not clear where both teams will play before the Inglewood stadium is built, a project that has been described by developers as shovel-ready but won't be completed until 2018 at the earliest. The Rose Bowl decided not to be in the running to host an NFL team while the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum would have to amend its lease to host two teams.
It is also unclear whether Los Angeles can support NFL franchises, especially the Chargers, which do not have the kind of history that the Rams have in Los Angeles.