After months of saying nothing about whether he’ll keep the Rams in St. Louis or move them, owner Stan Kroenke has made his intentions clear by announcing that he plans to build a football stadium in Inglewood, California.
The NFL believes that, whenever Kroenke applies to move, he’ll need a total of 24 votes approving the maneuver. “Any decision on relocation in 2016 or later is subject to approval by the 32 clubs,” the league office told PFT on Monday. “An affirmative vote by 24 of 32 clubs (three-fourths) is required.”
Per a source with knowledge of the current dynamics in Southern California, it’s not believed that Kroenke currently has 24 total votes. Eventually, he could.
As the source explained it, if Kroenke does the right things this year in Los Angeles, spending the resources necessary to trigger sufficient fan support for the return of the Rams, and if no other team provides with another viable alternative, it’s believed Kroenke eventually will get the 24 votes needed.
Even then, he’ll likely face opposition from the Chargers, and possibly from the Raiders. Both teams have interest in the L.A. market.
But even if Kroenke doesn’t get to 24 votes, it may not matter. According to the source, Kroenke has informed the mayor of Inglewood on multiple occasions that he’ll move the team with or without the approval of the other clubs.
That would be an aggressive, risky move. If Kroenke moves without approval, he’d be entitled to no financial assistance from the league, and his stadium would be blocked from hosting Super Bowls. He also would avoid paying the relocation fee.
The matter could end up in court, as a sequel to the barrister’s brouhaha between the Raiders and the NFL in the 1980s, arising from the league’s efforts to keep the Raiders from moving to Los Angeles. The Raiders eventually won a $34.6-million judgment, which reportedly was settled for a payment of $18 million in 1989.
The dollars, and the stakes, are much higher this time around. If the “B”-level NBA team in Tinseltown is worth $2 billion, what would the Rams be worth?