Rams franchise pushing for return to Los Angeles

Mon Jan 11, 2016 1:16pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - Rams owner Stan Kroenke wants out of St. Louis, yearning to escape what he considers a poor economic climate with a return to the team's former longtime home of Los Angeles.

Kroenke, who made a fortune in real estate, married into Wal-Mart family wealth, built a sports empire and took control of the club in 2010, has declared St. Louis unfit to support an NFL franchise after 21 seasons in the Gateway City.

The Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are vying to fill the void in the City of Angels left by the twin exits of the Rams and Raiders ahead of the 1995 season, with a decision expected at this week's NFL owners meeting in Houston.

Prior to the move to St. Louis, the Rams were rooted in the Los Angeles area for 49 years.

Native Missourian Kroenke, in making his case to the NFL, pointed to poor attendance, dwindling local population and slow economic growth and has trashed the city's proposed $1.1 billion new downtown stadium along the Mississippi River.

"Any NFL Club that signs on to this proposal in St. Louis will be well on the road to financial ruin, and the League will be harmed," according to Kroenke's bid, which was made available to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The city countered that bad football was to blame for falling attendance.

The Rams, who play in the aged Edwards Jones Dome, have not made the playoffs since the 2004 campaign and are fresh off their ninth consecutive losing season.   Continued...

Dec 17, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (11) celebrates with quarterback Case Keenum (17) after scoring a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports