It’s been a long time coming, but at least one NFL team will play its home games in Los Angeles in 2016. The NFL owners voted 30-2 this week to approve the Rams’ move from St. Louis to a new stadium to be built by Rams owner Stan Kroenke in Inglewood, Calif., about 12 miles outside of Los Angeles. That stadium is expected to be ready in time for the 2019 season; until then, the Rams are expected to play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The owners also approved the Chargers to move to the Inglewood site, though team owner Dean Spanos will have to reach an agreement with Kroenke on a lease agreement to play at the new facility. If the Chargers choose not to move, then the Raiders — who had submitted a joint bid with the Chargers to build a stadium in Carson, Calif. — will have the opportunity to share the Inglewood stadium with the Rams.
It is possible for another NFL team to eventually move to St. Louis to replace the Rams, but Mayor Francis Slay issued a statement following the league’s vote that criticized the league for ignoring “a strong market and viable plan for a new stadium” and indicated the city is ready to move on “with or without NFL football.”
Los Angeles has not been home to an NFL team since the Rams and Raiders moved to St. Louis and Oakland, respectively, following the 1994 season. Prior to the rams’ move, the team played in Los Angeles since 1946, so this is a homecoming for the team that last made the playoffs in 2004.