L.A. stadium to create 40,000 jobs, says pro-stadium ballot measure that probably doesn’t actually say that

Yesterday’s Los Angeles Times headline may have been a bit overexcited, but it was basically grounded in fact: St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke does indeed have “plans” to build an NFL stadium in Inglewood, though you know what they say about plans.

Today’s Los Angeles Times headline: oy.

NFL stadium in Inglewood could mean a billion dollars, 40,000 jobs
If Rams owner Stan Kroenke has his way, an NFL stadium will be built in Inglewood.

What would that mean for this L.A. County city, a mostly low-income area where the majority of residents are African American and Latino?

A billion dollars per year for the local economy plus 40,000 new jobs — many of those in Inglewood — are just two of the benefits, according to the text of a ballot initiative.

So a new stadium in Inglewood would create 40,000 new jobs — “many” in Inglewood! According to the text of a ballot initiative presumably written by the project’s sponsors. (“Presumably” because the Times doesn’t provide a link, and though the initiative was filed on Friday, Inglewood hasn’t posted it on its website.)

That’s massively out of scale with the typical job creation figures for sports stadiums, which is more typically a couple thousand. Presumably again, the initiative (though not the headline) includes jobs that would be created by the rest of the “retail, office, hotel and residential space” planned for the adjacent Hollywood Park racetrack site, which was already in the works before Kroenke’s stadium plan. And does this number include some jobs that would be merely siphoned off from neighboring areas? Presumably.

In any case, this is the kind of claim that we rely on journalists to try to evaluate, by speaking to experts in the field and advocates on various sides of the issue. The Times talks to, let’s see: There’s the mayor of Inglewood, who says this is an indication of how “we’re a good place to be”; there’s a paraphrase from Kroenke and his real estate partner Stockbridge; there’s another quote from the initiative; there’s Curbed LA naming Inglewood its “Neighborhood of the Year”; and that’s the end of the article. Oy.

Not that things are a whole lot better today elsewhere in the sportsbusinesswriterverse: Everyone’s favorite San Antonio Business Journal project coordinator W. Scott Bailey not only spends an entire article speculating on what the Rams’ possible move to L.A. would mean for the Oakland Raiders‘ imaginary move to San Antonio, he manages to spell Kroenke’s name wrong. Four times. The St. Louis Business Journal, at least, has actual news, albeit without much in the way of specifics: The two-man task force assigned by Gov. Jay Nixon to come up with a Rams stadium plan will deliver its report on Friday, though no details are yet available.

If someone wants to bring the not-as-mighty-as-once-but-still-substantial resources of the mainstream media to bear on this story, there are tons of angles to be explored: What is the actual scope of the Inglewood project, and what would it mean for the city? How much would get built even without the stadium? And, most important, can Kroenke really pull off building it as promised with no public money (not even tax breaks or free development rights) without taking a massive bath on the construction costs?

All this is vital not just for readers and political leaders in southern California, but for those in St. Louis, which needs to know just what they’re bidding against in the attempt to keep the Rams. Not that that’s the only criterion, mind you — if L.A. is really such an amazing NFL market that it’s worth Kroenke’s while to build a stadium there on his own dime, then it’d be foolish for Missouri officials to try to outbid it, unless they think keeping the Rams is so important that it’s worth risking a repeat of the worst lease in sports history. But to go into a bidding war without some intelligence about who else is involved is a recipe for bidding against yourself, and nothing good has ever come of that.


26 comments on “L.A. stadium to create 40,000 jobs, says pro-stadium ballot measure that probably doesn’t actually say that

  1. I am going to build a new garage this summer and this project will create…one…millllllllllllllllllllion! jobs. Can I have some subsidy now?

  2. “Presumably again, the initiative (though not the headline) includes jobs that would be created by the rest of the “retail, office, hotel and residential space” planned for the adjacent Hollywood Park racetrack site, which was already in the works before Kroenke’s stadium plan.”

    And it’s probably safe to assume that building the stadium on the site will actually result in fewer post-construction jobs created than if they just built more of that “retail, office, hotel and residential space”.

  3. Juvenal, I would rather see city/state/federal government contribute our tax dollars to your garage than a stadium. You presumably will use your garage more than people would use the stadium. You have my support – especially if you drive in and out of your garage to do much needed public services through your job – fireman, policeman, engineer, doctor, nurse, teacher. Why should we be financing playpens for milllionaire athletes and billionaire owners rather than garages for everyday people.

  4. LA should be using the money to earthquake/mudslide proof LA homes or provide better mass escape routes or acquire /conserve for better water.

  5. As Neil and others have noted, this is probably a more lucrative project without the stadium, so it’s most likely a negotiating/scare tactic aimed at the pols in St Louis. Expect them to jump up and bark like trained seals any day now.

  6. Mary, LA isn’t using any money as of yet. So far they’re talking purely a private stadium.

  7. “this is probably a more lucrative project without the stadium”

    That’s true of every sports venue site in America. Residential/commercial development is always going to be more profitable. But that’s not really the point and is never going to be the point. Based on what we know so far, this is going to be privately funded. Really complaining about that usually falls within the realm of ‘complaining for the sake of complaining’.

  8. The part I liked best was when he said he “would move with or without NFL approval”.

    And lazy journalism grads (or maybe…non-grads) all over America frothed at the mouth at the prospect of such a fight, just like Al Davis had mounted so many years ago.

    Too bad they didn’t look up the changes the NFL (and other leagues) made in the mid-90s just to prevent a repeat. Much of the evidence Davis relied on to demonstrate the “individuality” of his business has been undermined.

    It would be an interesting fight, to be sure. But I’m not sure even this billionaire has the stones to fight all the other billionaires in his fraternity. We’ll see.

    And if it does come to that, will the NFL actually fight this fight or take a powder like they did when Modell and co wanted to move in the 1990s?

  9. Liked Waldron’s tweet… but why would you take hundreds of millions of dollars a week and deny yourself a pony made of solid gold????

    To an NFL owner, that’s just leaving money on the table… right Piggy?

  10. “NFL stadium in Inglewood could mean a billion dollars, 40,000 jobs”
    That translates to $25,000 per job. Whoopee.

  11. Believe me, this has been in the works the minute Mr Kroenke purchased that parcel of land in Inglewood last year! The wheels have been in motion since then….. Honestly, I don’t understand how anyone can be surprised. 1+1=2

  12. Anonymous: It’s not complaining so much as disbelief. The economics of stadium funding are very hard to make work (without having someone else pay for part of the share). It’s possible Kroenke has happened on a way to work it that no one else has yet discovered. But given that most promised “privately funded” stadiums turn out not to be, I’ll still believe it when I see it.

  13. It is privately funded except for the hotel tax and rental car tax monies diverted from local coffers to pay for it!

    It is privately funded except for the interest on the loans the government is taking out. We will pay them back the whole principle.

    It is privately funded except for the $40,000,000/year tax exemption we get.

    et cetera. Often all “it is privately funded” means is that there is no budget line item that says “Stadium” in some government budget. Sometimes there even still is in a mostly government funded stadium management authority budget.

  14. Ahh, the smell of public stadium cash is in the air once more! No, not in SoCal where those cheap pikers won’t cough up a nickel for us NFL billionaires. Rather, it’s in Missouri, the Show Me state. And I say, “Show me the public stadium dough, Missourians!” Err, show it to Stan the man..

    I love my fellow owner’s chutzpah. Buy land here, demand subsidies there… it’s like a magician’s misdirection. Keep the balls in the air Stan, like I always say, keep them afloat. Public stadium financing is and always will be an act of pure presdigitation. “40,000 jobs!” “Our 20 year old Jones dome is outdated!” “Give us money or we’ll move to L.A!” Why there are 3 or 4 imaginary L.A. stadium plans on the drawing board already. Some have been there for YEARS… Chavez Ravine, Hollywood park, AEG downtown, Ed Roski’s municipal waste dump,…and ol’ Stan’s got the governor of Missouri dancing on a string already, yeehaw!

    Man, it makes me long for the days when I was bushwhacking the citizens of Minnesota to fund my billion dollar palace. Solid gold pony, you say? Now that you mention it I’m gonna have one in my suite, taxpayer funded, naturally! I’m just giddy with excitement at this news. The old L.A. scam, alive and well in 2014. Go Stan, go!!!

  15. @John Bladen
    My favorite part is that Kroenke never said he “would move with or without NFL approval”. Pure fabrication, sports writers are the worst.

  16. @Neil

    I already showed you how 2 teams can privately finance a stadium in LA. Remember when I proved that the NFL considers PSLs sold by a stadium authority to be part of the team’s private contribution?

    Supposedly there will be a vote on this in Nov., expect the city to create a stadium authority and own the stadium. Sure Inglewood will get hit on infrastructure spending but that doesn’t require a public vote. There will be tax breaks as well.

  17. John: Yes, and I didn’t entirely buy your numbers then, either. Especially since they’d require naming-rights money for a different stadium site (Farmers Field), an optimistic amount of PSL sales, and NFL loan money from a program that doesn’t actually exist.

    With public infrastructure money and tax breaks, it would maybe be more doable, but then we’re not talking about a 100% privately funded stadium anymore. What’s your source on the infrastructure/tax breaks, or are you just speculating?

  18. All I am going to say is that the NFL likely wishes that Rush Limbaugh would have been the new Rams owner. What are the odds that Stan Kroenke loses the right to own the team. Pretty good I should say.

    For the record, the only reason why there wasn’t a battle in the Browns moving to Baltimore case is because Cleveland reached an agreement to let the team go in exchange for keeping the Browns name in the city. The Ravens were actually an expansion team with Browns players. With that said, the NFL should amend their records to show that three teams actually won their first game because the Ravens did so vs Oakland to open the 1996 season.

  19. Will there be a vote in Inglewood? People there should pay close attention to what happened with Santa Clara’s stadium ballot measure, and how misleading it was. City wide ballot measures in CA are not required to disclose costs. So any costs to a city-owned Stadium Authority don’t have to be disclosed on the ballot.

    At least redevelopment agencies are dead in CA, so they can’t give property tax dollars away to a team owner via an RDA anymore.

  20. @Neil

    “With public infrastructure money and tax breaks, it would maybe be more doable, but then we’re not talking about a 100% privately funded stadium anymore”

    Too bad for you that the rest of the world DOES consider Metlife stadium “a 100% privately funded stadium”.

    My PSL revenue estimates for two teams was less than the 49ers raised on their own and far less than the Jets, Giants, and Cowboys raised.

    Inglewood is in LA, it’s the same market. Using the Farmers Insurance naming rights figures as an example is what’s called comparing apples to apples.

    The NFL had the G-3 program, they have the G-4 program, and they will have a G-5 program. At the time you called the future G-4 program the “son of G-3”.

    I know reality doesn’t fit your agenda and I busted you on your “PSL public contribution” claim but dude, you’re damaging your own cause by being disingenuous. Keep tilting at windmills and less and less people will take your message seriously. Public spending on stadiums is an important topic and you are making a mockery of a real problem. That’s really disappointing.

  21. @Jessy

    The NFL is well aware of Kroenke’s intentions and support him moving to LA. Everything that’s going on now is smoke and mirrors to salvage a lame-duck 2015 season in STL.

  22. Thanks for the concern trolling, JohnOgre, but I can handle my reputation myself.

    If I have a “message,” it’s that one should question all numbers carefully, and verify whether they’re realistic. You’ve spun a scenario that assumes that Farmers Insurance (or someone like them) will pay the same naming rights in Inglewood as in downtown L.A.; that PSL sales will be strong; and that the NFL will give more to teams moving to a stadium with no direct public construction subsidy in a new market than it’s ever given to teams staying put, though that’s the ostensible purpose of its stadium fund. (And also assumes two teams moving in, which has yet to be arranged.) Could all this happen? Sure. Is it fair to assume that all of this will definitely happen? No way. So until we see what Kroenke’s actual financial plan is, it’s fair to be skeptical — especially given the fact that nobody else has found a way to make an L.A. stadium pencil out the last 10-15 years, so you have to wonder why suddenly it would work for Kroenke.

    The successful fundraising for the 49ers and Jets/Giants stadiums are important data points, and absolutely make the notion of a (mostly) privately funded NFL stadium less crazy. But it’s still *hard*, and right now all we have is Kroenke saying, “I’ve got the land, I’ll explain the rest later.” Show me the money, and then we can start taking it seriously.

  23. @Neil, you’re whole site is an agenda ridden troll. I already showed you the money but that doesn’t fit your agenda.

    It’s either naive or disingenuous to claim that naming rights are any less attractive in Inglewood than downtown LA. It’s all LA to everyone who’s watching on TV or those of us that actually live out here on the left coast. They both have their own share of homeless, junkies, and whores that patrons have to avoid on the way to the venue. I’ve actually been to the forum many times and was just at a kings game last month and Club Nokia in Nov. Yes the obstacle course sucks but the NHL and my favorite bands don’t play San Diego.

    My PSL revenue estimates for each team are way below what the Cowboys, Jets, Giants, and 49ers raised. You ignore this fact like the plague. My PSL estimates for 2 LA teams combined is less than the 49ers raised on their own.

    You must not know the NFL doesn’t consider a team returning to it’s previous market to be a relocation. No relocation fee was charged to the Raiders when they moved back to Oakland. Nice precedent for Kroenke.

    The G-3 resolution fund was created primarily because Kraft convinced the other owners it was a good idea after failing to find public money all over NE. Either the NFL wants to be back in LA or it doesn’t. If the NFL really wants LA, they will rewrite the G-4 resolution.

    St. Louis is a terrible NFL market, second to last in attendance year in and year out while garnering terrible TV ratings for the home team. The NFL skipped over St. Louis when it gave Jacksonville an expansion franchise. Jacksonville the city writers love to bash while the Jags have better attendance and TV ratings than STL.

    Everyone paying attention realizes that LA will NOT work without 2 teams sharing 1 privately financed stadium. That’s why the NFL has not returned to LA and why this time is different. The Chargers are literally pushing a ballot proposal that is destined to fail in San Diego. Those of us against public spending on stadia have never been more thrilled. Even the Chargers forum has stopped banning people who claim the Spanoses are trying to move to LA, that used to be an IP ban.

    I’m actually against public spending on stadia, I wish your site was more than a place for links to useful info but sadly it’s not. It’s like someone linking to the CATO institute and think that is a credible source.

    Oh well continue on with the tilting at windmills. I’m sure you will delete this.

  24. I thought about it, but technically “your whole site is an agenda ridden troll” is an attack on my writing, not on me personally, so you’re in under the wire.

    I’m still not clear what you think my “agenda” is that has me disagreeing with your funding projections, though. I hate … L.A.? Stadiums? Stan Kroenke? Football? (I’ll cop to the last one.)