For those of you keeping score at home, Los Angeles backers of a new NFL team for that city scored another first down today as California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that would expedite legal challenges to Farmers Field, a new $1.2 billion stadium in downtown L.A.
L.A. sports behemoth Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) is planning to build the stadium, but only if it can lure an NFL team—or possibly two—to move to Los Angeles. The St. Louis Rams were among five teams publicly identified by AEG earlier this year as having been approached for “conversations” about moving to L.A. (along with San Diego, Oakland, Minnesota, and Jacksonville).
AEG’s CEO is St. Louis native Tim Leiweke, a Parkway West graduate who began his sports career here in 1979 as assistant general manager of the St. Louis Steamers. He had this to say today: “The toughest part is getting a team, but we are confident there are teams that are not going to solve their stadium problems and they can solve their problems by coming here. We are going to follow the lead of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, we are engaged with the commissioner and his staff, and we will stay engaged with them and be relentless until we bring this home."
The Rams are free to leave after the 2014 season unless St. Louis can make improvements to the Edward Jones Dome that would put the facility in the “upper tier” of NFL stadiums. St. Lous has until next February 1 to submit a plan to the Rams that lays out out how it would do so.
At the moment, its chances of doing so appear to approximate the Rams’ chances of winning Super Bowl XLVI next February in Indianapolis.
As covered here before, Rams owner Stan Kroenke is reported to be good friends with fellow billionaire Philip Anschutz, president of AEG, and Kroenke partnered with Anschutz in a major joint venture in the former Bloomfield Event Center outside of Denver just two years ago.
Commentary by Ray Hartmann