Rams stadium to cost staggering $5B (or not)

Among the many, many things I don’t like about the 21st century is the way that the rise of Twitter as a reporting medium, while great for getting news out quickly, is decidedly less good at getting news out accurately or in any kind of detail. Which brings us to this tweet yesterday by ESPN’s Seth Wickersham:

That would be amazing, yes! Especially since the old record for a stadium cost is the new New York Yankees stadium (around $2 billion), and the last previous estimate for the Los Angeles Rams stadium (which will also be home to the Chargers) was $2.6 billion. What gives?

Wickersham later tweeted a single followup:

“Part of”? Which part of? And why is the NFL concerning itself with debt limits for an ancillary real-estate project that isn’t about football?

Okay, so fine, Wickersham is just writing the notes for the first draft of history, so let’s cut him some slack. Except that nobody seems to be editing that first draft — since then Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports and Bleacher Report and one of the unpaid bloggers that Forbes calls “contributors” have all repeated Wickersham’s assertion, with no context or further reporting. (And before you ask: I would make a call now, but it’s 5:43 am in Los Angeles, so I sincerely doubt anyone at the Rams office is going to be picking up. But I’ll try later.)

For now, all we know is that Stan Kroenke’s Inglewood stadium complex is going to cost him a buttload of money, and we still don’t know how he plans to make it all pay off. Which is his problem, since he’s not asking for public money, but still, inquiring minds would like to know.


24 comments on “Rams stadium to cost staggering $5B (or not)

  1. I think having the Olympics in LA in 2028 will help pay for it, but if the price is anything near $5b, it may be the best argument against building and ( especially) funding sports facilities ( even privately paid for).

    • The Olympics are lucky to break even, let alone make a profit. The chances any potential profit trickles down to a stadium in Inglewood are remote. Because of the fixed roof, limited Olympic events can be held in the new stadium.

      The Rams are going big on acquiring talent this season. By winning now, they hope to build fan support and sell more PSLs for Inglewood.

      • The big costs with the Olympics is the cost of stadium construction. Los Angeles (and Paris in 2024 as well) are basically building some temporary structures for certain events and calling it a day. As such they’ll likely make a profit overall, it’s how they made money in 1984 as well.

        Also the Inglewood stadium is only hosting the Football finals, Opening/Closing ceremonies and archery. The intent wasn’t to use it for things like Athletics, which will once again be held in Memorial Colosseum.

    • “but if the price is anything near $5b, it may be the best argument against building and ( especially) funding sports facilities ( even privately paid for).”
      ______________

      How are we supposed to argue if some rich guy wants to spend a heap of money on anything? We don’t have any of the numbers nor any stake in the deal. It almost certainly won’t cost $5 billion for the stadium by itself so we’re already hopelessly behind in terms of knowing what is going on.

  2. “Posted on March 28, 2018 by Neil deMause
    Among the many, many things I don’t like about the 21st century is the way that the rise of Twitter as a reporting medium”

    So stop using it. It provides no value. I love all the journalists who complain about it vociferously, and yet journalists are the most addicted people. Journalists generally, and you in particular do not need “scoops”. Finding out about something 18 hours, or 48 hours before it appear sin some other medium is of no tangible benefit. So just give it up. I stopped using Twitter after the first few months, and ditto Facebook, and it is a huge benefit to my life.

    • Should I also stop reading SI, CBS Sports, and the other sites that cite tweets? Because that’s where I learned about this one.

      • Collectively you would all be better off if you did. And we wouldn’t need to have every conversation with a journalist involve 30 minutes of kvetching about twitter and how much they hate it (while they check it).

        • I’m not actually sure that ignoring bad media behavior is effective at countering it, given that SI still has a way bigger readership than this site.

          And I pretty much never check Twitter, as anybody who’s tried to get my attention by tweeting at me can verify. But a growing number of journalists post things there that they never bother to turn into articles.

  3. 5 billion? And it will be empty. When will owners realize nobody cares about the Rams or Chargers in L.A,

    NOBODY.

  4. I almost forgot.

    49er fans fill Los Angeles venues. So I guess the money is not a total waste. BTW Thank you Rams for returning, The 49ers enjoy the extra home game in So. Ca.

    • There is no logic to this assertion.

      The Rams averaged just under 62k last season if you EXEMPT the game played in London. The highest attendance at the coliseum was the Eagles game at about 68k. The 49ers game saw just a shade over 66k turn up.

      So, no, 49er fans do not “fill” LA venues. At best, it is just a 4k bump when the 9ers are in town (and almost certainly lower than that, since the London game featured the Cardinals, a relatively “local” team, so this game should have been an above avg draw if it were held in the LAC).

      Your SF based trolling will need better research than that to work, Rab.

      That said, there are certainly LA attendance problems… as this snapshot of the September 26th/27th weekend shows:

      Chargers – 25,381
      Rams – 56,612
      NFL combined – 81,993

      USC v. Texas – 84,714

      This was the Rams lowest attendance of the year (v Washington), but still….

      • Right.

        Philly game had 66k?

        Only because 65,000 Eagle fans showed up, you prove my point. Look it up. This was a home game for Philly.

        Last time I checked, Philly was 2500 miles from L.A.

        OK.

        I will add to my statement.

        49er and Eagle fans fill up L.A. football venues.

        BTW

        Sure, the USC -Texas game fills up at the Coliseum. 95 percent of the persons in the stands are Texas fans.

        This does not happen at any San Francisco games. Which are sold out to capacity with local team fans.

        • Get your real facts straight, there’s no way 95% of the crowd at the Coliseum were Texas fans. USC has a large fan base and season ticket holders.

          Also, there seems to be attendance issues in Santa Clara.

          • Just as the Rams – this edition or the 1970s-90s version – had a solid fan base of 45-55k. That doesn’t seem to have changed (though I assume it will once the new palace is ready and open for business) over the ensuing years.

            The Chargers will likely be a harder sell, but the Rams will continue to have a good base level of support – even if that annoys 49ers fans…

          • Levi stadium has a thirty year waiting list. After a bad season a few fans didn’t show. The 49ers didn’t go to the playoffs. Nobody has ever seen a L.A. fan at Levi stadium.

            We have the greatest fans in the league. Loyal and supportive. L.A doesnt even have a fan base. 5 billion for a stadium and team that has 5 fans.

            L.A. is the worst sports city on the planet. SF is the best period.

        • Here are the home attendances for the Rams last season:

          v Indy 60,128
          v Wash 56,612
          v Sea 60,745
          v Ariz 73,730 (at Twickenham)
          v Hou 60,032
          v NO 62,006
          v Phila 67,752
          v S.F. 66,125

          Facts hurt, don’t they?

          • Not really.

            Saint and Seahawk fans filled up the Coliseum as well.

            You are hiding. The majority of fans attending a L.A. game are for the road team.

            Not so in San Francisco. They venues are always full or very close with home team fans.

            Road team fans never show up. SF has a home field advantage,they also fill up L.A. s venue with Giants, 49ers and Dub fans.

            What is your comment to that?

            The PSL’s that are being enforced for Inglewood stadium will never sale.

            There are no local Ram and Charger fans.

            Ok?

            L.A. has to rely on road team fans filling their venues on a constant basis.

            Which is impossible.

            The Chargers? They have zero fans locally.

            The venue is around 28 k. and 99 percent of those that attend are for the road team.

            THE PSL’s at Inglewood are a joke. There is a little fan base for the Rams and Chargers.

            In a region of 13 million.

            Sad.

            Pee wee football games in SF have a higher local attendance.

          • Hey Rab:

            How come all the Giants fans that are “filling up” Dodger stadium this afternoon are wearing Dodgers gear?

            Is your claim utterly unfounded? Or is there some reason why Giants fans ALL purchased Dodgers merch on their way into the stadium?

  5. Well…. Mr. DaSilva of USA today is the author of both “4 reasons why the Rams should trade for Odell Beckham Jr.” and “4 reasons why the Rams shouldn’t trade for Odell Beckham Jr.”.

    So, really, isn’t anything possible?

    I sense a niche for another article… “Why the Rams new stadium shouldn’t cost $5Bn” Or maybe, “Why the Rams new stadium should cost more than $5Bn”

    It’s the sportswriter (or blogger?) version of the mill show, isn’t it?

  6. If the entire project ends up costing around $5 billion, then the bet isn’t just about whether LA will fill the stadium 20 times per year for the NFL, and maybe another 20 for concerts, one-or-two-off sporting events, and the like. It is betting on the hotels filling up regardless as to whether the stadium is in use, which might be the safest of the supplemental developments. It is also thinking people will buy luxury condos with a stadium on one side and an airport on the other, the casinos will bring in big money gamblers regardless of the events at the stadium, and locals to come shop and eat in the retail section of the complex on a regular basis. I know Kroenke made his money building around Wal-Marts, I’m sure it helped to be married to a Walton heir, but I don’t think people hop on over to the local football stadium to gamble, shop, and have lunch in the same way people go to a big box to get toilet paper and extension cords on a semi-regular basis.

    • Well said, BW. The more money Kroenke spends on his development the less dependent it is on the sports tenant. As most property developers know, if you can make a development big enough, it often creates it’s own weather.

      Of course, some run out of money before that weather arrives… but that is unlikely to be a problem for Kroenke given his (and his family) wealth.

      • I don’t think he will run out of money, but I do have doubts about him being able to make it a destination. I get the appeal to the hotels and area for those flying out of LAX in the next morning, but given the price for the complex as a whole that audience is a little like building a $2 billion football stadium that will be empty more than 300 days per year. Does anyone know how the casino there is doing?