Yesterday, Los Angeles Rams Owner Stan Kroenke, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Inglewood Mayor James Butts, Rams DT Aaron Donald and P Johnny Hekker, and other local dignitaries were on hand for a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of the Rams’ future home stadium in Inglewood.
The ceremony kickstarts a process that began in 2013 when Kroenke drove around the site on an early summer morning fascinated with the location. That fascination ultimately surfaced in league meetings before ultimately receiving approval to relocate the franchise from St. Louis to Los Angeles largely on the back of the proposed stadium.
The $2.6 billion stadium is expected to open for the 2019 season as what Kroenke suggested he hopes will be “the most unique and fan friendly stadium in the world."
Here's a rendering of the Rams' stadium and the entertainment district. pic.twitter.com/BPR9Bbm0Vs— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) November 17, 2016
The venue is part of a massive complex that will host Super Bowl LV in February 2021 and stadium officials are already in discussions with other major sporting events such as the NCAA Basketball Final Four, the College Football Playoffs and even LA’s developing bid for the 2024 Olympics.
Said this before but it bears repeating: the Los Angeles stadium site is 3.5x the size of Disneyland proper.— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) November 18, 2016
Mark Williams, the principal architect for the site from HKS, said the intent has been clear from the start:
From day one, Mr. Kroenke talked to us about his vision to elevate the fan experience. He challenged us to create a venue unlike any other in sports that celebrated the NFL’s return to Los Angeles.
There’s no understating the impact of this project. It was the catalyst for uprooting the franchise out of Kroenke’s home state of Missouri and returning them to the country’s second-largest media market and home to the largest entertainment industry market at large. It won’t just re-shape Rams football. It won’t just re-shape the NFL. This project is going to set the bar for sports in the United States in the 21st century.
Now it would be unfair to suggest that that bar is what other markets and other franchises are going to be expected to meet. You rarely get a chance to see the biggest entertainment property in the US (the NFL) collide with a market as big as Los Angeles (estimated at more than 13 million in the Metropolitan Statistical Area in 2014).
That being said, it’s fair to question how much the franchise values the football product until the Rams’ new home opens. The scale of the project is so massive, it’s shadow extends even beyond these preceding seasons.
Nonetheless, it’s a marker on the horizon that fans will no doubt be anticipating for the next two and a half years as the site begins to take shape.
Rams COO Kevin Demoff, on the process ... pic.twitter.com/FR8SrdkQnG— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) November 18, 2016
Rams P Johnny Hekker, on the Inglewood project; "It's such a wild dream, such an incredible moment." pic.twitter.com/qnePVqamCi— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) November 18, 2016