St. Louis was willing to contribute millions to a new stadium for the Rams. Ultimately, it wasn’t nearly enough.
Owner Stan Kroenke, named for Cardinals legends Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter, has become a villain in his home state, thanks to an NFL vote that authorized on Tuesday night his relocation of the Rams to Los Angeles.
Per multiple reports, the final tally was 30 votes in favor of the move, and two against.
The Chargers now have until January 2017 to join the Rams in Inglewood, if they so desire. It provides them with maximum leverage to try on last time to stay put in San Diego. If the Chargers work out a stadium deal in their hometown since 1961, the Raiders then will have a chance to join the Rams in Inglewood.
The Chargers strongly opposed partnering with the Rams in Inglewood, so now owner Dean Spanos must decide between staying put or accepting a partnership in a facility deemed by the Chargers to be inferior to the proposed location in Carson, where the Chargers and Raiders hoped to share a venue. In Inglewood, Kroenke is essentially the landlord, and the Chargers would be the tenant.
The decision represents a not-so-minor slap in the face to Disney CEO Robert Iger, whose ESPN subsidiary gives the NFL $2 billion per year for the right to televise Monday Night Football. Iger personally attended the ownership meeting in Houston and lobbied the league to adopt the Carson plan. Iger would have been directly involved in the stadium construction and marketing process, with the right to become a minority owner of the Chargers or Raiders.
Ultimately, Kroenke overcame Iger, Carson, and a majority of the L.A. Committee, several members of which resented Kroenke’s aggressive effort to abandon St. Louis and the efforts of local politicians to expend significant political capital to cobble together $350 million in public money — which is $350 million more than most communities currently are willing to devote to the effort to subsidize billionaire sports owners.