(Reuters) - The owner of the St. Louis Rams reportedly plans to build a stadium in suburban Los Angeles, which could signal the team’s return to Southern California, but the NFL said on Monday it wants franchises that are strong in their current market to stay put.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that Rams owner Stan Kroenke has teamed up with Stockbridge Capital Group, which owns the proposed 238-acre (96-hectare) Hollywood Park site in Inglewood, with plans to build an 80,000-seat football stadium.
The plan is the latest of more than a dozen stadium proposals to have emerged since the National Football League abandoned the nation’s second-largest market. The Rams played in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994 before moving to St. Louis.
The Times reported that Kroenke’s plan marks the first time an existing team owner has controlled a local site large enough for a stadium and parking.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Reuters “no team has applied for relocation and there will be no team relocations for the 2015 season.”
“We are committed to working towards having franchises that are strong and successful in their existing markets,” he said.
Twenty-four of the league’s 32 teams would need to approve any franchise relocation.
The threat of relocating to Los Angeles has been used as a bargaining chip by several NFL teams looking to get stadium deals done in their current cities.
No tax dollars would be used for the Inglewood construction project. The use of public money has long been a stumbling block to stadium development for an NFL team in Southern California.
The project would include a 6,000-seat performance venue in addition to retail, office, hotel and residential space, Stockbridge and the Kroenke Group told The Times.
Stockbridge Capital plans to begin gathering signatures soon for an initiative that would place the project on the Inglewood municipal ballot this year, the Times reported.
The Rams refused comment on any relocation plans but the team is displeased with their current stadium, the 20-year-old Edward Jones Dome.
The Rams can choose later this month to convert their lease at the Edward Jones Dome to year-to-year. Kroenke’s Ingelwood plan puts the heat on St. Louis either to come up with a deal for a new stadium or potentially see the team leave town.
The Rams were one of two NFL teams to depart Los Angeles in the 1990s. The Raiders returned to Oakland from Los Angeles after the 1994 season.
Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Will Dunham