Stan Kroenke buys 60 acres in L.A.

Updated: February 1, 2014, 2:45 AM ET
By Nick Wagoner | ESPN.com

ST. LOUIS –- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed Friday that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke informed the league of a recent purchase of a 60-acre tract of land in Inglewood, Calif.

According to Goodell, that knowledge didn't come with any discussion of building or developing a plan to make the location the future home of a football stadium.

"Our policy is they do have to keep us informed of any developments or anything that is going on in the Los Angeles market," Goodell said. "Stan is a very large developer on a global basis. He has land throughout the country and throughout the world. He has kept us informed of it. We're aware of it.

"There are no plans to my knowledge of a stadium development. Anything that would require any kind of stadium development requires multiple votes of the membership."

Reports Thursday night cited sources saying Kroenke had purchased the land. Goodell's confirmation was buoyed Friday afternoon by an email statement from the Kroenke group.

"While we can confirm media reports that we recently purchased land in Inglewood, as a private company we don't typically discuss our plans for commercial or residential investments," the statement said. "We have yet to decide what we are going to do with the property but we will look at all options, as we do with all our properties."

The news that Kroenke has purchased the land has fueled plenty of speculation about the future of the Rams, who played in Southern California from 1946 to 1994. That speculation has been lingering around the franchise for the better part of the past two seasons.

Goodell cautioned those jumping to conclusions to take a deeper look at Kroenke's history of land development.

"Stan is a very successful developer," Goodell said. "He has billions of dollars of projects that are going on around the country of real estate development. I think instead of overreacting we should make sure we do what's necessary to continue to support the team locally, which the fans have done in St. Louis, and make sure we can do whatever we can to make sure that team is successful in the St. Louis market."

[+] EnlargeKroenke
AP Photo/Tom GannamRams owner Stan Kroenke has bought a 60-acre tract of land that could serve as a possible stadium site in L.A., according to the Los Angeles Times.

Goodell also reiterated that any team looking to move to Los Angeles or any other city would still have substantial hurdles to clear, including the blessing of at least 24 NFL owners. The league has a strict and expensive set of guidelines for a team to meet before relocation would even be put to a vote before the league's 32 owners.

The Rams' lease with the Edward Jones Dome contains an escape clause that is set to kick in at the end of the 2014 season. If the stadium hasn't been upgraded to one of the eight best venues in the NFL before that time, the Rams' lease will then become a year-to-year proposition beginning in 2015.

Discussions about how to bring the stadium up to that standard have been ongoing for the past couple of years.

In 2012, the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission proposed a $124 million upgrade to help the Edward Jones Dome reach the "first tier" standard.

The Rams countered with a more elaborate proposal that was estimated to cost close to $700 million.

In February of last year, an arbitrator heard both proposals and ruled in favor of the Rams. Soon after, the commission made it clear it does not intend to follow through with the plan, meaning the lease will almost certainly expire after next season.

When asked whether he believes the Rams and St. Louis have had ongoing dialogue, Goodell indicated that he wouldn't categorize the discussions as "active negotiations" but there have been "a lot of discussions."

Los Angeles has been without a professional football franchise since the Rams and Raiders departed for St. Louis and Oakland, respectively, in 1995.

Following those departures, Los Angeles has often been bandied about as a possible relocation site for a number of franchises, but in each case, the city has been used as leverage more than anything.

Kroenke has not publicly discussed the stadium situation.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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