Here’s a video of quick glimpses of new Rams, Chargers stadium renderings, excited yet?

Awright, new stadium rendering porn from the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers! And like all the cool media kids today, they’re pivoting to video:

That’s not all that different from the last renderings we saw, but has the advantage of zipping by really quickly and being set to music that sounds like a 1980s video game developer trying to emulate Grandmaster Flash. From this we can tell that the new Inglewood stadium will definitely contain people. and a latticework roof, and some kind of weirdly shaped scoreboard ring suspended over the field. You can get a better (sort of?) look at that last element in this tweeted still image:

And finally, here’s what the site looks like now, courtesy of the Associated Press:

Stay tuned for more exciting images! We have three years of this left to go, people, before anyone can see this with their own eyes, hopefully set to their own hip-hop-lite soundtrack.

New L.A. stadium won’t host Super Bowl until 2022, we know you’re broken up about this

Now that the new Los Angeles Rams and Chargers stadium has been delayed until 2020 thanks to rain, the NFL has moved the 2021 Super Bowl to Tampa and given the 2022 Super Bowl to L.A., because of a league rule that says stadiums can’t host Super Bowls in their first seasons, or because the league was afraid the stadium wouldn’t be ready by 2021, or because the rule is there because of fears stadiums won’t be ready on time or — wait, what the heck is this?

Somehow I’d missed this particular Inglewood stadium rendering, which makes it look kind of like a space-age tennis racket suspended on pillars over an open pit. It almost certainly won’t look much like this — for one thing, everything used to build it won’t be blazing white, and neither will all the surrounding buildings and parking lots — but that appears to be somebody’s best attempt to depict a translucent (?) roof with some kind of video boards suspended from it, and … you know what, we should probably just wait to see this thing. I get why it’s going to cost $2 billion now, though, even if I still don’t quite get why Stan Kroenke wants to spend that much.

New stadium for Rams, Chargers delayed till 2020 because it rained

And in today’s comedy news, the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers will be delayed a year in moving into their new stadium because it rained:

Historically heavy rainfall in Los Angeles has delayed the highly anticipated, $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood, California, by a year.

The new facility, to be shared by the Rams and Chargers, will now open in 2020 instead of 2019, the teams said Thursday. In the meantime, the Rams will play at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for an additional year and the Chargers will have one more season at StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Color me marginally skeptical — stadium manager Dale Koger acknowledged that the original timetable was “very aggressive,” so this could just be a matter of realizing they weren’t going to be done on time and blaming it on the rain. But whatever; anything else hilarious about this? Like, how will this mess with any important plans that the teams will now have to put on hold?

Fourteen months ago, [Rams COO Kevin] Demoff told The Times, “Our focus has always been on introducing new uniforms the year we open a new stadium. That’s the opportune time to shape your brand.”…

But it might not happen until 2020.

“That’s a decision we’ll make in the coming months as we look at the uniforms,” Demoff said during a teleconference with a reporters. “But we will have the option of beginning a rebrand in 2019 or with the stadium in 2020.”

Man, there is nothing as funny as people unironically saying things like “shape your brand.” Still not quite as good as when a masked superhero does it, but I’ll just picture Demoff wearing a purple unitard, and it’s almost as good.

L.A. Rams stadium could cost county extra $150 million for train bridge, oopsie

So this isn’t good: A subway line under construction in Los Angeles had planned to have trains cross Centinela Avenue in Inglewood at street level — but planners are now worried that this could cause too many traffic tie-ups with crowds headed to and from the new Rams stadium. So they’re instead looking at building a bridge to take trains over the road, which would cost $100-150 million. Also, building a bridge could delay the opening of the line, unless the county-owned Metro Rail builds temporary tracks or puts in a temporary shuttle bus to get past the bridge site, of which Los Angeles Magazine notes, “It’s hard to imagine the transit agency opening a rail line that requires a bus to travel from end-to-end.”

This is more than a little reminiscent of the Atlanta Braves bridge fiasco, which resulted when Cobb County approved the stadium before putting together a transportation plan. Whereas when Inglewood okayed the Rams stadium:

The vote adopts a new redevelopment plan without calling a public vote, effectively kick-starting construction and sidestepping lengthy environmental review of issues such as noise, traffic and air pollution.

You know, sometimes red tape is there for a reason. Just sayin’.

Clippers mulling new Inglewood arena, this likely ends with Google owning all of sports, right?

And speaking of data points for an arena arms race, now Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is reportedly interested in building a new arena adjacent to the Los Angeles Rams‘ new Inglewood stadium, because they want their own L.A. Live or something:

Representatives of Steve Ballmer and Stan Kroenke, two of the richest owners in professional sports, have had multiple discussions about the Clippers joining the Rams and Chargers in the sports and entertainment district Kroenke is building in Inglewood…

“It’s too soon to say it would be L.A. Live lite, but if an arena were to bring 200 nights a year, that’s a tremendous amount of foot traffic that would benefit all the ancillary properties,” said a person familiar with the discussions who asked not to be identified in order to speak frankly about the situation.

To reiterate what I just wrote about a fifth arena in the New York City metro area: Building more arenas in an already well-served arena market doesn’t really make much sense, since you’re just squabbling over how to divide up the existing pie. (An L.A. Live Lite is only likely to get customers by drawing them off from the original L.A. Live district by the Staples Center, or maybe from other entertainment options elsewhere in the L.A. area.) And Ballmer making eyes at Inglewood could still very easily be a leverage tactic toward when his Staples lease is up for renewal in 2024. But then, this is after all how capitalism is supposed to work: Investors are so desperate to grab a slice of the market that they throw around whatever money it takes to enter the game, which ends up driving down windfall profits for everyone and benefiting consumers. It seldom works that way, sure, but it still can, on occasion, when corporations are more interested in fighting over the spoils than in colluding.

If there’s one thing that watching American capitalism has taught me, it’s that the likely outcome here is for one side to buy the other — Philip Anschutz couldn’t literally buy the Clippers since he already owns the Lakers, but some kind of Anschutz-Ballmer-Kroenke sports management consortium isn’t impossible, if you could get everyone’s egos out of the way. Now there’s a thought: The only thing stopping us from entering a complete monopolistic hellscape, now that the federal government has all but declared corporate consolidation a national priority, is the inability of the super-rich to get along. Strange days, indeed.

Rams attendance continues not to knock anyone’s socks off, despite huge L.A. market

How soon is too soon to point and laugh at the Los Angeles Rams for low attendance in their return to the nation’s second-largest city? Not now, anyway:

On Sunday, the Rams faced the Atlanta Falcons at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and, based on the game’s attendance, the honeymoon is already over for the NFL in Hollywood. Either that or a lot of Rams fans came dressed as empty seats.

Which, you know, yes, it’s embarrassing. But it’s also the tail end of a lousy season for the Rams, in a sport where fans would just as well rather stay home and watch games on TV. And some of those fans might have just been stuck on line for hot dogs or something.

On the other hand, both Rams attendance and TV ratings have been pretty mediocre all season. Maybe things change once their new stadium opens in 2019, but history shows that new stadium attendance figures typically return to background levels pretty quickly once the new-car smell has worn off, so it has to be at least mildly worrisome for Rams owner Stan Kroenke. Not to mention for San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos, who right now has to decide on whether to become the second-fiddle team in the L.A. market. Some lousy attendance figures for a lousy team probably won’t change his mind by itself, but it should at least give him pause — or maybe get him to try to negotiate an out clause in an L.A. lease to let him jump back to San Diego if things go south once he moves north. That’d be what a savvy negotiator would do.

Court rules St. Louis Rams PSL contracts still valid, could cost Kroenke $150m+ in payouts (UPDATE: probably not that much)

Well, ain’t that a kick in the head:

A federal judge in St. Louis ruled Wednesday that the Rams must refund deposits to some fans who purchased personal seat licenses during the franchise’s two decades in that city and offer others the opportunity to buy season tickets to games in Los Angeles.

I was dimly aware that St. Louis Rams PSL holders were suing over the season-ticket rights they’d purchased in perpetuity suddenly being worth nothing since there were no St. Louis Rams season tickets to buy anymore (see my brief note here), but I never thought they’d actually win. Nor, presumably, did Rams owner Stan Kroenke, because he is now seriously hosed, to a degree that we’ll attempt to figure out in a second.

First, a primer on PSLs: Initially created as a bonus for fans who bought inaugural Charlotte Hornets season tickets (not only do you get the tickets, but if you don’t want them anymore you can sell your spot on line to someone who does!), they quickly turned into a lucrative way for team owners to raise cash: Instead of first-come-first-serve tickets, offer fans the chance to buy the right to first dibs, with the carrot that they can then re-sell that right down the road to recoup at least some of what they laid out. In some cases with popular teams in cities with lots of fans with money to burn, it’s been lucrative indeed: The San Francisco 49ers managed to bring in more than $500 million from their PSL sales, which is a sizable chunk of change. And Kroenke has been hoping for similar revenue from PSL sales to help pay for his new $2.5-billion-ish stadium in L.A., though he can’t start selling them until next February as part of his relocation deal with the NFL.

So how much will this court decision, assuming it holds up on appeal, cost Kroenke? Of the 46,000 Rams PSL holders, there were two classes being represented — those whose PSLs were initially bought through a broker and those whose PSLs were bought directly from the team — and thanks to differences in the two contracts (whee lawyers!), each group now gets a slightly windfall: Broker purchasers get a refund of their PSL “deposit” (the judge declined to define what that means for now), while direct buyers get to actually transfer their PSL rights to the Rams’ new stadium. And while that may not sound so great — do any St. Louis Rams fans really want to fly to L.A. to see their former team play? — remember, the whole point of PSL rights is that they’re transferrable, so this is now a hugely valuable asset that they can sell, and more important, that Kroenke now can’t.

How much actual money would that cost Kroenke? Now we’re deep into speculation, since we don’t know how many direct vs. broker buyers there were, nor how much Kroenke was planning on selling L.A. PSLs for. Deadspin reported that the ruling will “likely cost the team millions of dollars in returned deposits and foregone profit,” but that’s almost certainly way too low: If there are 23,000 direct buyers and 23,000 broker buyers, say, then refunding 23,000 fans for their St. Louis purchases at $250 each would cost $5 million, while handing over free L.A. PSLs to another 23,000 fans could cost — let’s see, it’s a 70,000-seat stadium, so if Kroenke was shooting for $500 million in PSL sales, then scrapping 23,000 of those would lose him … $160 million, something like that, depending on which seats the judge says he has to set aside for St. Louis PSL holders?

It’s hardly a deal-breaker when you’re spending over $2 billion on a new facility, sure, but still, unexpected nine-digit losses are never fun. However all this turns out, it’s likely to be at least a moderate-sized headache for Kroenke and his accountants, as well as a cautionary tale for both teams writing up PSL contracts and fans buying them: Read the damn fine print, because it could end up being worth a hell of a lot of money.

UPDATES: As a couple of commenters have pointed out, the cost to Kroenke probably won’t be as much as I’d guesstimated: First off, more than 90% of the PSLs were sold by the broker, not the Rams, so that pushes most of the PSL holders into the less-lucrative “you get your deposit back” category. Second, the St. Louis PSLs were set to expire after the 2024 season (the Rams lawyers did something smart, anyway), so even for the L.A. PSLs Kroenke has to now pull off the market, he’ll get to resell them again in a few years. So we’re down in the $15-25 million cost range for Kroenke, which while it’s going to sting, is more of a rounding error for a guy playing in this spending stratosphere.

Rams celebrate return to L.A. by making fans sit in sun, running out of water by halftime

The Los Angeles Rams will play at the Los Angeles Coliseum for the next three seasons while their new stadium in Inglewood is being built, and they got off to a terrible start in Sunday’s home opener. This had very little to do with the Coliseum being 84 years old, and everything to do with it being so hot that 160 fans were treated for the heat including 14 who had to go to the hospital (it doesn’t help that the Coliseum lacks even a partial roof), and to the Rams management not doing proper crowd control and not thinking to order any jumbo cases of bottled water. From Deadspin, which has been diligently compiling all the horror stories:

Here are your best stories from the game. From Ian, a success story:

I went to the game with a couple buddies yesterday and the concession stand debacle was as big of an abortion as advertised. Left with 4:20 left in the 2nd quarter to grab waters for our group and ended up having to wait in 3 different lines since the first two I was in ran out. Continued to wait through the entirety of halftime and returned to my seat with about 7 minutes left in the 3rd… BUT I GOT THAT DAMN WATER!

Matt tells us that concessions were woefully understocked in St. Louis too:

My wife volunteered regularly for charity concession booths at all of the pro sporting events in St. Louis, including the Rams games. She always said that the Rams ran out of everything before half time. The Cardinals and Blues never had all of the problems she saw at the Rams games.

The whole organization is obviously run by amateurs. The product on the field, marketing blunders, concessions, drafting players. They fail in literally every way they can. Not any different than the other teams that asshole owns.

Another tipster describes the traffic, both human and motor:

Traffic, gridlock. Entry, chaotic and overcrowded. Concessions, sorry we’re out by halftime!? Protection from elements, nada! Rams fans, smack talking and booing their own team with chants to kill the Seahawks kicker! People smoking. Security, what security? Leaving the stadium, dangerously crowded in all walkways. Gridlock at the trains/busses. Complete hell! The NFL should not allow that stadium to host ANY games until they can provide safety and security for the fans!

At least fans only had to pay between $50 and $1,000 for parking. Welcome back to the NFL, Los Angeles!

 

NFL gives three Super Bowls to cities with new stadiums, implies, “Keep ’em coming”

The NFL awarded the 2019, 2020, and 2021 Super Bowls to Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles yesterday, continuing its policy of using the big game as a reward to cities and teams with new or significantly renovated stadiums. Or as Rams owner Stan Kroenke said following the decision, “I think they are telling the communities and the owners who stick their necks out that it’s worthwhile.”

The most important target of the announcement, then, isn’t the three cities that will now get the questionable benefit of hosting the NFL’s annual week-long road show, but those that are being wooed with that dubious carrot. Right now most of the reporting is on how New Orleans and Tampa Bay were snubbed because their stadiums aren’t as shiny as the cities that got the nod, but it’ll be interesting to see how this plays into future coverage of stadium campaigns — already, San Diego Union Tribune chief Chargers stadium cheerleader Kevin Acee has written that the possibility of getting a Super Bowl shouldn’t be the reason to vote for a new stadium, but really he means that you should vote for a new stadium regardless, so all remains right with the world.

Interestingly, there’s no reporting yet that I can see out of Las Vegas on the Super Bowl decision, but that may be because they’re too busy covering yesterday’s conflicting comments on a potential Oakland Raiders move from owner Mark Davis (“This is the real deal. If Las Vegas can come through, we’re going to be there”) and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (“It’s very premature at this point. Until we have more information, it’s pure speculation”). This could be just everyone playing their role — in terms of using Vegas as leverage in hopes of drumming up stadium subsidies from Oakland, Davis is bad cop, Goodell is good cop — or it could be a sign of deeper rifts among league owners over whether Davis should get to bolt from a bigger market to a smaller one in exchange for a lucrative (to him) stadium deal, and on what terms. We won’t know for sure until the next ESPN postmortem, I expect.

Kroenke trying to force L.A. Rams players to file workers comp claims in Missouri to save him a few bucks

And finally this morning, you can take the Los Angeles Rams out of Missouri, but you apparently can’t take the Missouri out of the Rams’ workers compensation contract language:

Per a league source, contracts being offered to new players state that the laws of Missouri, not California, control the relationship. The NFL Players Association has in turn instructed all certified contract agents to reject that term as “inappropriate.”

Why does the Rams ownership care what state workers comp claims are filed in? Because, as Deadspin reports, California workers are entitled to about 25% more in workers comp claims, so with NFL players having a distressing tendency for getting hurt on the job, the Rams could save some money here — probably on the order of thousands of dollars rather than millions, sure, but when you’re trying to finance a nearly $3 billion stadium out of your own pocket, you can’t pass up any opportunity to screw over both your employees and the state you left behind.