The NFL's prodigal son in Southern California has been welcomed back with warm robes and a billion dollar home in the form of a 300 acre "NFL Disneyland" in Inglewood. This follows the announcement on January 12 that the Rams -- who had called St. Louis home since jettisoning Los Angeles in 1995 -- had reached a deal to come back to SoCal.
Owner Stan Kroenke, with an estimated net worth of $7.4 billion, spearheaded the process getting the Rams back in L.A., trashed St. Louis on his way out of town, and agreed to put up some of his own money to towards this enormous structure. The initial specs surely do seem to fit Hollywood; there are capacity estimates of possibly up to 100,000 for special events, a 19 acre canopy across the top of the stadium that changes the field's colors, and a 6,000 seat concert venue outside the stadium, itself. International architecture giant HKS has been contracted to design the venue; in particular, the canopy will be made from the same transparent ETFE plastic that coats Bayern Munich's stadium, the Allianz Arena, and the Beijing National Aquatics Center. Additional aspects account for more than 1.5 million square feet of retail and office space, 2,500 homes, a 300-room hotel, and 25 acres of parks. The entire project will account for $2.6 billion price tag, 3.1 million square feet and will take until 2019 to complete.
The Rams have had a recent downslope in their history after achieving the lofty heights at the turn of the century when they won and reached a second Super Bowl. They reside in the same division as the Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and Cardinals, who have played in the last five NFC Championship games. The Rams do have a rich tradition of great players such as Deacon Jones (greatest defensive lineman ever), Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson, genesis of Jerome Bettis -- all while in L.A. If you build it, they will come ... well, except to L.A. Then, they will come late and leave early.