January 14, 2016 

City News Service 

 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said this week he is “psyched” by the announcement that the St. Louis Rams will return to Southern California this fall and play at the Coliseum until a new stadium with a roof is ready for use in Inglewood in 2019.

 

“As I always said, any team, whether it landed in Carson, downtown (L.A.), which is my initially preferred site, or Inglewood ... is going to be good for L.A.,” Garcetti told KNX Newsradio this morning.

 

“We talked about our hotels in the city of L.A. being filled when these games are on; we talked about our airport having activity when people fly in from out of town,” Garcetti said. “And the same people would have constructed the stadium no matter which of the cities it landed in, so we'll still have those jobs.”

 

Meeting in Houston, NFL owners on Tuesday approved plans for an 80,000- seat stadium on the site of the former Hollywood Park Racetrack in Inglewood. The vote marked the return of the NFL to Los Angeles, which has not had a franchise since 1994.

 

“As a life-long Rams fan, I am so psyched that they’re coming here, and I'm proud to have been a part of helping push forward with the NFL that we are a unified region, wanting to bring football back to L.A.,” Garcetti said. Garcetti said he was looking forward to a Super Bowl being played in the Southland.

 

But the deal is also a major snub to the city of Carson, where the Chargers and Raiders had planned to build a $1.7 billion, 72,000-seat stadium. With NFL owners rejecting that option, the Raiders pulled out of the deal, meaning that team will remain in Oakland — at least for now. For Inglewood, however, the decision is a major economic leap forward. Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to build a $1.86 billion, 80,000-seat stadium to house his team on the site of the former Hollywood Park Racetrack. It's unclear if the Chargers would actually join the Rams in Inglewood, with Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos repeatedly insisting he was committed to the Carson project, and had no interest in simply being a tenant in a stadium owned by Kroenke.

 

Spanos made his feelings clear on the topic in a letter he sent last month to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Spanos has wanted a replacement for aging Qualcomm Stadium for around 15 years, a quest stymied by the city of San Diego’s fiscal problems of a decade ago, the recession and difficulty in finding a suitable site. When Kroenke proposed about a year ago building a stadium in Inglewood, the Chargers responded by announcing plans to construct their own playing facility in Carson — possibly in concert with the Raiders.

 

The Chargers, who have played in San Diego for 55 years, contend that 25 percent of their business comes from Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer countered by establishing a task force that recommended building a new facility next to Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers broke off negotiations on the proposal in June. The team’s refusal to restart talks prevented what could have been a citywide vote on the proposal this month.

 

An NFL team has not played in the Los Angeles area since 1994. The Los Angeles Raiders played at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from 1982-1994, before returning to Oakland in 1995. The Los Angeles Rams played in the Coliseum from 1946-1979 and at what was then known as Anaheim Stadium from 1980-1994 before moving to St. Louis in 1995.

 

The Chargers played at the Coliseum in their inaugural 1960 season when they were a member of the American Football League, then moved to San Diego in 1961.

Category: Sports



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