After 21 years in St. Louis, the Rams are returning to Los Angeles. The Rams owner, Stan Kroenke, brought a plan to move the Rams to Inglewood, California (10 miles from downtown LA) before the league owners. In the end, 30 of 32 owners approved the plan, allowing the Rams to head west. Kroenke’s plan, which will cost approximately two billion dollars, will feature a stadium that will become the most expensive in the world. The development has been dubbed the “NFL Disney World” and will also include another performance venue, millions of retail and office space, thousands of homes, a hotel, and several acres of parks. If it becomes all it’s cracked up to be, the stadium and surrounding area could attract visitors and fans from all over when it opens in 2019.
But even without this incredible plan, the Rams would still draw a following just by moving back to LA. Los Angeles fans never forgot about the Rams when they left in 1995. When talks of the Rams’s return began, fans in Los Angeles held rallies to show their support. A Facebook page, entitled “Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams,” amassed over 60,000 likes. A few days after the announcement of the Rams’s return, they put their season tickets on sale. Two days after that, there were already 45,000 season ticket deposits. The St. Louis fans, by the way, responded differently to the news of the move. They publicly burned jerseys of the team that they had claimed to be avid fans of, marking a bitter end to the St. Louis stint. Their actions made many question whether they were ever worthy of an NFL team at all.
The Rams’s fanbase should only continue to grow. They’re moving to the second largest city in the nation. A city with nearly 4,000,000 people who don’t have a home team. To put that in perspective, St. Louis has a population of barely over 300,000. Los Angeles is a city that is very passionate about its sports teams. The Lakers have a worldwide following and a storied past. LA has two MLB teams, two NBA teams, and an NHL team, all of which have had their share of recent success. It’s about time the nation’s biggest league came to one of the nation’s sports hubs.
From an economic perspective, the move to Los Angeles is a no-brainer. Los Angeles is the nation’s second-largest media market. If you’re wondering why the Rams ever left at all, as I was, it was because of stadium troubles. There should be no stadium troubles this time, with Kroenke’s dream stadium, so I expect this move to LA to be successful.
It’s important to note that the Chargers are considering moving to Los Angeles as well, from San Diego. I don’t think that’d be such a great idea, though. The Chargers don’t have the same LA support that the Rams did. They wouldn’t be as welcome in Los Angeles. Also, the Rams and the Chargers have shared a stadium in LA before, in the 1960’s. Back then, the Rams completely overshadowed the Chargers, even when the Rams were bad and the Chargers were good. The Oakland Raiders recently said that if the Chargers were to move to LA, the Raiders would likely move to San Diego to take the Chargers’s place. That should be a sign to the Chargers that maybe they’re not in such a bad location right now. Their support in San Diego is undoubtedly more than it would be in Los Angeles. It’s great that the Rams are moving back to Los Angeles, but they should do so alone.