The St. Louis Rams have been very quiet this offseason. Although they did inquire about a few big name free agents, they made no real effort to lure them to St. Louis.
Early signs are pointing to the Rams trying to build through the draft, but their biggest offseason move might not even be until next year. And by move I mean geographically.
It is no secret that the St. Louis Rams are not satisfied with the conditions of the Edward Jones Dome, the stadium at which they play. There has been much speculation about the Rams moving back to Los Angeles, and although they are moving in that direction, it is not a done deal. There are many hurdles to overcome, but if they are to get past it all, the Rams fortunes may change.
The NFL is different from the NBA in that big market teams do not always command and bring in the biggest names in free agency, but it certainly does not hurt to play in a big city. The Rams would benefit tremendously if they were able to manage a move to Los Angeles.
For one, the city would offer a brand new, state of the art stadium located in the heart of town. The issue the Rams currently have with their home is that it is not a top-tier stadium. Los Angeles offers Farmers field, which would instantly become one of the top new stadiums in the league. Filling the seats would not be much of an issue either- the city hosts two NBA and MLB teams.
One of the challenges many experts predict is finding a fan base in what they consider a fair weather fan city. To say the city of Los Angeles doesn’t have loyal fans would be a disservice to the people. If you drive around town you will see Laker fans, Dodger fans, and even some left over Raider fans representing their colors proudly.
The city also proves it is a football town each Saturday when the Memorial Coliseum is filled with over 90,000 fans cheering on the closest thing they have to a professional team, the USC Trojans.
Now filling the Coliseum to capacity may not be an easy task for any incoming professional team, but filling in the proposed 72,000-seat Farmers field may be a little easier. For one, the Rams previously resided in Los Angeles and have a few left over followers spread out throughout Southern California. Orange County currently has two official chapters and Los Angeles has one.
If the Rams come in or become a playoff contending team soon after their arrival, winning over the city will not take long. If Los Angeles stands behind one thing it is a winner. Even with the Los Angeles Lakers doing badly this season, they still seem to fill Staples Center most games. When the L.A. Kings went on their Stanley Cup run, they picked up hundreds if not thousands of new fans and kept them around as they have over 100 consecutive sellouts since. Even the L.A. Galaxy, the city’s Major League Soccer team, has a strong following.
The one common thread the three previously mentioned teams have in common that could also be a huge factor in the Rams having success in Los Angeles would be Philip Anschutz. Anschutz is the current owner of the AEG company that is behind the development of Farmers Field. If the Rams were to move to L.A., he would certainly want to purchase a stake in the team. Anschutz has proven he knows how to succeed in the L.A. market. It would be beneficial for St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke to allow AEG to purchase a stake in the team.
Although a move to Los Angeles for the Rams is a no-brainer, getting past all the obstacles NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell has put before any team trying to move to Hollywood is a daunting task. Kroenke has made all the moves in that direction to try and make it happen, but it is also possible he is using it as a bargain chip against St. Louis like all the other previous owners have done to get a new stadium built. We won’t know if this will be the biggest offseason move until next year.