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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The NFL will return to the Southland, with National Football League owners approving plans Tuesdsay for the St. Louis Rams to move to a proposed stadium in Inglewood, with an option for the Chargers to share the facility if the team can’t reach a viable stadium deal in San Diego.
The decision, made on a 30-2 vote by league owners in Houston, marks a long-awaited return of the NFL to the Los Angeles area, which hasn’t had a team since 1994. The decision also opens the door for the city and county of San Diego to reopen negotiations with the Chargers to keep them from moving, while giving the team a safety net if such talks break down again.
The Chargers have a one-year option to move to Inglewood. If the Chargers pass, the Raiders then have a one-year option to move to Inglewood, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a Tuesday news conference. Read the full text of that news conference here.
Should they choose to stay in their current cities, the Chargers and Raiders would receive an extra $100 million from the NFL to build stadiums in their home markets, on top of the $200 million the league already offers for such projects.
Goodell lauded the Inglewood plan.
“It’s more than just a stadium,” he said. “It’s an arts and entertainment complex that will be responsive to the kinds of things we need to be successful with our fans in the Los Angeles market.”
For Inglewood, the decision is a major economic leap forward.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to build a $1.86 billion, 80,000-seat stadium to house his team on the site of the former Hollywood Park Racetrack.
Inglewood Mayor James Butts called the decision a “transformative” moment for his city.
Butts said the league owners recognized that the project “was the most economically lucrative” stadium proposal on a sweepingly large parcel of land. He said the city already got a major boost from the renovation of The Forum.
“With the addition of the largest, most beautiful stadium in the world and bringing back the Rams with it, we become a national entertainment center,” he said on the Beast 980.
The Inglewood stadium will not be ready until at least the 2019 season, and the Rams would likely play their 2016 season in the Los Angeles Coliseum. USC, which manages the Coliseum, has said it would welcome a team for the 2016 season, the LA Times reports.
Many Rams fans gathered at the Coliseum on Tuesday night to celebrate the announcement.
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