Rams headed to Los Angeles for 2016, Chargers have option to follow
The Rams are officially headed to Los Angeles.
After a 21-year absence, the NFL is finally returning to Los Angeles. The league's 32 owners voted on Tuesday to send the Rams back to the city where they spent 49 years of their existence.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has reported that NFL owners officially approved the Rams' relocation in a 30-2 vote.
The relocation vote is a huge victory for Rams owner Stan Kroenke who had been doing everything in his power to make sure his team would be able to leave St. Louis after the 2015 season. When the Rams turned in their relocation application in early January, they noted that any team trying to survive in St. Louis would suffer "financial ruin."
The vote means that Kroenke can get started almost immediately on his $1.86 billion stadium project in Inglewood, California.
For the Chargers, the vote means that the team still has the option to try and work things out with the city of San Diego. The NFL has given the Chargers until January 2017 to negotiate a partnership with the Rams in Inglewood. If the Chargers haven't made a relocation decision by Jan. 16, 2017, then the Raiders will have the option to join the Rams in L.A.
The Chargers were also given a second date of March 23, 2016. The team has to decide by then if they want to move to L.A. for the 2016 season. If they decide to stay in San Diego for 2016, then the January 2017 deadline takes over.
After the vote was done, NFL commissioner apologized to every city that will be losing a team.
"Stabililty is something that we take a lot of pride in," Goodell said. "It's bittersweet, too, because we were unable to get the facilities that we'd hoped for in their markets. We weren't able to get it done for our fans in St. Louis and San Diego and Oakland."
Here's three things to know about the future of football in Los Angeles.
1. Where will the Rams play in 2016? The Rams move to L.A. is effective immediately, which means they'll be playing their 2016 regular season home games in L.A. The Rams are expected to play their seven-game home schedule at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which is operated by USC.
The Rams also have a home game against the Giants that will be played in London.
When USC originally volunteered the Coliseum as a possible temporary home stadium for an NFL team, the school only wanted to take on one tenant. However, La Canfora has reported that the school changed its mind on Tuesday and is now willing to take on two temporary tenants, which is big news for the Chargers.
2. Why's that big news for the Chargers and what's the deal with San Diego? Since the Coliseum's willing to host two teams in 2016, that means that Chargers will also be able to move next season if that's what they want to do. However, the team also has the option of staying in San Diego for the 2016 season and then working out an L.A. lease with the Rams after that.
The Chargers have a deadline of Jan. 17, 2017, which means that team has to workout a deal with the Rams by then if they want to move to L.A. If the Chargers don't work out a deal, the NFL will give the Raiders the option of moving to L.A.
Tuesday's vote could end up being good news for the city of San Diego. Over the summer, the city laid out plans for a $1.1 billion stadium that would require $121 million in contributions from both county and city taxpayers. San Diego voters would have to approve those funds though, something that could now happen. The city is hoping to hold a vote in June.
If the Chargers decided to stay in San Diego, the NFL has agreed to kick in an extra $100 million into any potential stadium project.
Chargers owner Dean Spanos released a statement on Tuesday that didn't eliminate the possibility of returning to San Diego.
"My goal from the start of this process was to create the options necessary to safeguard the future of the Chargers franchise while respecting the will of my fellow NFL owners. Today we achieved this goal with the compromise reached by NFL ownership," Spanos said. "The Chargers have been approved to relocate to Los Angeles, at the Inglewood location, at any time in the next year. In addition, the NFL has granted an additional $100 million in assistance in the event there is a potential solution that can be placed before voters in San Diego. I will be working over the next several weeks to explore the options that we have now created for ourselves to determine the best path forward for the Chargers."
There's even more good news for San Diego: Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said he believes that it's very "Unlikely" that the Chargers will play in L.A. in 2016.
3. When is the Rams new stadium expected to open? When Kroenke originally laid out the plans for his new stadium in Inglewood, the hope was that building could be ready in time for the 2018 season. However, 30 months won't be enough time to get the project done, so the team will aiming to open their new stadium in 2019, Roger Goodell said on Tuesday. That means the Rams will be spending the next three seasons at the Coliseum.
The good news for the NFL is that once the stadium is built, it will be able to host almost any league-related event, something that the Rams pointed out in their relocation application.
"The flexibility of the district allows for the NFL to develop office and studio space for NFL Network, NFL Media and NFL Digital, allowing them dynamic new space to grow just three miles from their current Culver City location. The performance venue can serve as a home for the NFL Draft, NFL Honors and other NFL-themed events such as NFL Films premieres," the Rams' proposal states. "The roof over the stadium would allow the NFL to move events such as the Pro Bowl, NFL Combine and other annual events to the NFL campus as well."
4. What's up with the Raiders? The only thing we know for sure about the Raiders is that they won't be playing in L.A. in 2016. The team will likely end up back in Oakland for next season, but that's not a done deal. The team's lease with O.co Coliseum expired at the end of the 2015 season, which means they're technically free to do anything and owner Mark Davis didn't exactly commit to playing in Oakland next season.
"I don't know where we'll be," Davis told La Canfora. "My lease at the Coliseum is expired... America, the world, is possibility."
London Raiders? Portland Raiders? Who knows, but it sounds like Davis is open to anything.
If Davis decides to stay in Oakland, then the NFL will make the same offer that it made to Spanos. The league will put an extra $100 million toward a new stadium if the Raiders don't move.
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