Consider this: you own the NFL team that plays in your hometown, and the state has offered you 500 million dollars to build a new stadium. Would you take it? Not if you’re Stan Kroenke, the owner of the Saint Louis Rams. Instead, Kroenke opted to move the team to Los Angeles and spend 2.6 billion dollars on a new stadium. Not to mention the cost for moving a franchise is 550 million dollars. Here are the three reasons why he made this move.
New Stadium vs. Old Stadium
“In a fourth-floor meeting room inside a posh hotel in suburban Houston on Tuesday, the owners were so taken by the possibilities of this gargantuan stadium and surrounding buildings that it was only a matter of time before the proposal was accepted” (Bob Glauber). The possibility of this new gigantic stadium was reason enough for the owners to pass the relocation. The new location of the stadium is going to be in Inglewood, CA, just 13 miles outside of Los Angeles. Matthew Ponsford, a writer for CNN, writes, “Los Angeles will welcome the return of NFL football with the construction of a new 80,000-seat stadium complex and 'NFL Disney World', expected to become the world's most expensive sports arena. The development has an estimated cost of $2.6 billion -- more than $1 billion more than New Jersey's MetLife Stadium, currently the league's most costly venue.” The opportunity to create such a staple in the NFL with the new stadium was just too hard to pass up.
The majority of a sports enterprises’ revenue comes from its fan base. The fan base in St. Louis was not on the level it should have been. According to the Sports Business Research Network, Saint Louis is the third worst team in the NFL in game attendance. The Saint Louis Rams make up 2.6% of the total NFL attendance to games. With this low of a number, Saint Louis should never host a professional football team ever again. Another stat to compare is the population of Saint Louis and Los Angeles. The greater Saint Louis area is home to 2.8 million people. This is nothing compared to Los Angeles’ population of 18.5 million people. There will be a bigger market for merchandise and ticket sales in the Los Angeles area.
Fourth Time is a Charm
The Rams current franchise is now on its way to its fourth relocation in franchise history. The first ever Rams team was the Cleveland Rams, founded in 1937. They stayed in Cleveland until 1945 when they relocated to Los Angeles, CA for the first time. In 1994, the Rams moved to Saint Louis, MO and have stayed there until the end of the 2015 season. They are now once again relocating to Los Angeles, CA. Los Angeles is now the 2nd largest city in the United States. The Rams' franchise has every reason to succeed.
Data and Excel sheet from Sports Business Research Network