St. Louis residents might get to vote on Rams stadium after all

Meant to report on this yesterday, but got sidetracked: In St. Louis, it turns out that that trick for getting around the requirement for a referendum on any new stadium spending — approved by voters after the Cardinals got a bunch of public money without a public ballot — by using the old stadium money to pay off the new stadium while using new money to pay off the old stadium (deep breath…) may not actually work, for the simple reason that so darn much new money will be needed. Speaks the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“If all they’re doing is taking longer to pay it off, that’s one thing. But I’m assuming they’re actually getting new money, which is what they want,” said Peter Salsich Jr., a retired St. Louis University law professor.

Salsich warned that no one will really know until the deal’s details are revealed.

Still, he said, “It’s going to be tough to argue that a vote is not required.”

The funding plan for the proposed new St. Louis stadium, in fact, remains beyond murky. Currently the public is paying $24 million a year ($12 million state, $6 million county, $6 million city) toward the bonds that were sold to pay for building the Edward Jones Dome 20 years ago to lure the Rams in the first place. There’s about $100 million in principal left to pay, which when interest costs are added is expected to be off the books by 2021.

To fund the new stadium, St. Louis Sports Commission chair Dave Peacock has proposed refinancing the bonds, and using the proceeds to somehow pay off not just the remaining $100 million on the Jones Dome, but around $400 million toward a new Rams stadium. They could do this by just extending the bonds, but even at a 3% interest rate over 30 years they’d still need almost $32 million a year to pay it off, which is significantly more than $24 million. So unless St. Louis officials know some bond buyers who’d be willing to take a 1.5% return on their investment, new taxes are going to be needed somewhere here, on top of extending the current ones.

Could St. Louis figure out a way of using any new city spending only to pay off the old stadium, while funneling the old taxes to the new one? Mmmmmaybe, though it’d take some pretty fancy financial and legal footwork. Jones Dome board chair Jim Shrewsbury told the P-D that the question would likely end up in court, which means St. Louis could be looking at months of legislative battles, followed by months of court battles, followed by months of a referendum campaign before knowing if its stadium plan would actually fly. All of which means that in addition to “Does Stan Kroenke really want to move to L.A.?” we should probably add “Can Stan Kroenke be patient for his $400 million check?” as questions for if and when Kroenke ever picks up the phone.

Secrets of the Inglewood stadium plan revealed! (Except for how much subsidy is worth, that’s still hazy)

I’ve finally gotten a peek at the documentation for St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s proposed Inglewood NFL stadium (thanks, masked stranger!), and I can now share the two paragraphs governing the $100 million in tax-increment financing he’s looking for. They’re long and filled with legalese, so if you prefer, skip to the end and I’ll try to explain them in plain English there:

15.3 Reimbursement for Public Improvements. The 2009 Fiscal Analysis provided that, at stabilization of the Original Development Project, the City would receive approximately $14 million per year in gross new revenue to the City’s general fund. In the event that the Landowner elects to proceed with the Stadium Alternative Project, then it is estimated that at stabilization of the Stadium Alternative Project, the City will receive significantly greater general fund gross revenues, estimated to be at least $44 million per year. At the same time, implementation of the Stadium Alternative Project requires a significant expenditure of private monies for Public Improvements, including public roads and infrastructure, park construction and maintenance, as well as event day public safety costs of retaining City police, EMT, and other services and operating public shuttles from off-site public parking lots. Accordingly, if the total sales taxes under the laws of California from (i) taxable construction materials sales on the Property that have the City and the Property designated as the point of sale, (ii) ticket taxes, (iii) parking taxes, (iv) transient occupancy taxes, (v) franchise fees, (vi) property taxes, (vii) utility users taxes, and (viii) business license taxes, in each case generated by the Stadium Alternative Project during any fiscal year of the City meet or exceed a threshold of Twenty-Five Million Dollars ($25,000,000), excluding any gaming and card club tax revenue from the casino, and to be adjusted annually by the CPI Factor beginning in the first fiscal year following the later to occur of City’s issuance of the final certificate of occupancy for the Stadium and the Stadium opening for business to the public (the “City Revenue Hurdle”), then the Retail Property Landowner shall be entitled to receive reimbursements (“PI Reimbursements”) of amounts advanced and spent for Public Improvements set forth on Exhibit C-1, as well as amounts advanced and spent for event day public safety costs of retaining City police, EMT, and other services and operating public shuttles from off-site public parking lots and other expenditures of a public nature, in each case together with interest accruing on such amounts from the date of expenditure at a rate equal to the then-applicable rate available to municipalities (“PI Expenditures”), not to exceed the amount in any one fiscal year by which such new general fund revenues exceed the City Revenue Hurdle (the “Maximum Reimbursement Amount”). Landowner acknowledges that the City will utilize tax revenues generated by the Stadium Alternative Project solely to measure the City Revenue Hurdle, and that no provision of this Agreement is intended to or shall be deemed to be a designation or set-aside of any tax revenues generated by the Stadium Alternative Project for any purpose other than the deposit of such tax revenues into the City’s general fund.

Within sixty (60) days following the end of each fiscal year of the City during the Term, Retail Parcel Landowner shall submit to City written evidence of all PI Expenditures advanced during the preceding fiscal year. Within fifteen (15) days after submission of such written evidence, City shall notify Retail Property Landowner of any deficiencies in the evidence submitted by Retail Property Landowner and/or any need for additional information. Retail Property Landowner shall provide such information as is reasonably requested by City in response to any request therefor. Within sixty (60) days after receipt of reasonable documentation of the PI Expenditures that were advanced, City shall remit to Retail Property Landowner PI Reimbursements in respect of said PI Expenditures, up to the Maximum Reimbursement Amount. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Agreement, Retail Property Landowner shall only be eligible for PI Reimbursements after it makes the election to proceed with the Stadium Alternative Project. In any given fiscal year, if PI Expenditures exceed the Maximum Reimbursement Amount, then such unreimbursed PI Expenditures shall accrue and be eligible for reimbursement in any subsequent fiscal year, provided that in no event shall the aggregate PI Reimbursements to Retail Property Landowner hereunder exceed the aggregate Maximum Reimbursement Amounts accruing over the Term of this Agreement. City and Retail Property Landowner expressly acknowledge and agree that the PI Reimbursements are not a subsidy, but rather a reimbursement of costs of a public character that, but for the Stadium Alternative Project, the City would not otherwise have the resources to fund and thus were advanced by a private party. PI Reimbursements may not be used to reimburse the construction costs for the Stadium or any other private improvements.

Translated: “As part of our development project, we’re going to build a bunch of things, like roads and shuttle buses for fans, that can be considered ‘public improvements.’ (Or at least we consider them as such.) So we’ll be wanting some of our tax money back to pay for those. Thanks!”

The big question isn’t whether these are things that would result from the development project — sure, there wouldn’t be new roads crossing the Hollywood Park site without new buildings there, but then, you also wouldn’t need any new roads then — but whether these are items that the city would normally pay for anyway, or if they’re something that would normally be on a developer’s tab but Kroenke’s group is looking to get out of paying for them.

That remains really hard to tell, unfortunately. The development plan includes a long laundry list of “public benefit” items, including job creation and “a minimum of 500,000 gross square feet of Hybrid Retail Center,” which are really more properly thought of as private business operations — the public might be happy that they’re there, but much as the IRS is no doubt happy when I earn a paycheck, it’s not about to pay me for it. Yes, city government is usually on the hook for infrastructure, but a lot of this would be built on and under the private land, and then there are the bits like shuttle buses that aren’t infrastructure at all, so … reply cloudy, ask again later.

If you want something we can say for sure, it’s that some of the kicked-back tax money would go for things that Kroenke and friends would normally be on the hook for. And, as covered here before, if the “public services” piece is calculated for 30 years instead of five — and it doesn’t appear that there’s a time limit on how long the developers could receive these TIF payments — then that could make the total tax break worth $180 million in present value.

So, Stan Kroenke is looking at somewhere between a few tens of millions of dollars and $180 million in public benefits. That is, as the Los Angeles Times’ Tim Logan and Angel Jennings write, “a relatively modest public tab in a world where upfront subsidies approaching $500 million are not unusual.” But it’s still a public tab, which isn’t quite what Kroenke and the mayor promised.

Missouri’s Rams stadium plan would raze 19th-century warehouses, because more where those came from, right?

I’m an unabashed fan of plain-language reporting that doesn’t beat around the bush, so I absolutely love this video caption from KSDK-TV in St. Louis:

In order to build the new stadium the way it’s proposed, a lot of things would have to be torn down.

KSDK’s news report includes footage of lots of those things, which includes lots of cool old brick warehouses, some of which are abandoned, but at least one of which is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been recently renovated as apartments. Which raises the question of whether others could be renovated for new uses as well in the absence of a stadium, especially since “brick buildings” and “waterfront” usually get developers’ salivary glands going in these return-to-urbanism times.

I’ve talked a lot so far about the direct fiscal costs of St. Louis’s Rams stadium plan — for some reason the St. Louis Business Journal decided to base an entire article today around my comments on this — but the opportunity cost of razing old buildings and dedicating riverfront land to an NFL stadium has to be considered as well. I’m hardly an expert on the Laclede’s Landing area (I’ve never even been to St. Louis), but those who are need to be investigating this to the fullest. So props to KDSK for looking into this, above and beyond their excellent caption-writing skills.

Rams seeking at least $100m in L.A. tax breaks; St. Louis offers $400m-plus in mystery money

The city of Inglewood still hasn’t posted details of St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s proposed stadium deal to its website, though there is a statement from Mayor James Butts promising that “no tax dollars have been requested or will be used for this project if approved.” The Associated Press, however, reports this morning that this isn’t true at all: Kroenke would be looking for at least $100 million in kickbacks of property taxes, ticket taxes, and other city revenues:

By the developers’ estimate, in its first 25 years the project will produce more than $1 billion in local taxes — on property, tickets, parking, utilities and other sources. The first $25 million each year would be guaranteed for Inglewood, and once developers are reimbursed for eligible costs, any surplus would stay with the city.

“Eligible costs,” according to AP, would include “sidewalks and road work, landscaping, water mains and utility lines,” as well as “costs on event days for police, emergency medical crews and shuttle bus services from off-site parking.” Kroenke’s proposal estimates that these would total about $100 million and would be paid back within five years, at which point the city would presumably get to keep all of its tax revenue. (Though police, EMTs and shuttle buses sound more like ongoing expenses, which if carried forward over 30 years would boost the tax subsidy to $300 million over time, or about $180 million in present value.)

Meanwhile, more information is coming out about St. Louis’s stadium offer as well, which was announced to the world on Friday afternoon. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch described it:

Peacock and Blitz outlined funding sources, including $200 million from the National Football League’s loan program, most of which would likely be paid back by the team; as much as $250 million from Rams owner Stan Kroenke; and as much as $55 million in state tax credits.

The funding includes two streams of money from the region’s residents:

• About $130 million in the sale of personal seat licenses, which reserve specific seats for fans and are often necessary to buy season tickets.

• As much as $350 million from the extension of the bonds at the Edward Jones Dome, where the Rams now play.

That $350 million is the big piece, obviously, but what exactly “extension of the Jones Dome bonds” means remains a bit of a mystery. The Post-Dispatch describes it as like refinancing your house: You go to the bank, take out a new loan, use it to pay off the old one, and sink whatever’s left over into a new project. (For you, maybe new cabinets for your kitchen; for St. Louis, a whole new stadium.)

The new loan still has to be paid off, though, which makes the claim by Gov. Jay Nixon’s stadium negotiator, David Peacock, that “the new stadium will impose no new tax burden on taxpayers in the local region and the state of Missouri” a bit of an untruth. Either the hotel taxes that fund the Dome would have to be extended longer than otherwise, or the money would have to be taken out of the Jones Dome fund and replenished by some other new taxes, each of which would mean a new tax burden. (Unless you don’t count taxes paid by hotel visitors as a local tax burden, in which case you’re crazy: Not only are many hotel stays by in-state residents, but money is fungible, so hotel tax revenue could be used to pay for other services or reduce other taxes if not used on a stadium.) The P-D estimates that it would cost $24 million a year to pay off the remaining Jones Dome debt while also paying $300 million toward a new stadium, and the Jones Dome bonds currently run $18 million a year — so in all likelihood this would require both extending existing taxes for another 20 years and adding $6 million a year in new ones.

That’s all an awful lot of who-the-hell-knows, in both St. Louis and L.A., but then, that’s the stage of the stadium game that we’re in: Announce the pretty pictures, and let the bothersome financing facts fall where they may later.

Another wild card in the Rams situation remains the NFL’s position — has the league okayed a Rams move, as some rumors have it, or is it seeking to block him because all his fellow owners hate him, as others have suggested? There’s an interesting tea leaf to read here in the position of NFL stadium consultant Marc Ganis, who invariably pushes the league line, and who is suddenly all over the press reports talking up the St. Louis plan (if it’s sweetened further) and bad-mouthing Inglewood’s:

Chicago-based sports finance consultant Marc Ganis said claiming no tax money would be used in the [Inglewood] project is “hyper-spin” and could damage the project’s credibility. “It’s not an outright lie … but there will be people who think it is,” Ganis said. “They might be prospective tax dollars, and it might make sense for Inglewood to contribute them to the project, but they are tax dollars.”


Ganis said St. Louis has a leg up. Leaders have done this before, when the Rams first arrived two decades ago from Los Angeles. And the region has “an outsized number of corporate headquarters relative to its size of market,” he said. Besides, he said, it’s a myth that the owners of big-market teams make far more money than those in smaller markets. “An NFL team can be very well supported in Green Bay, Wis., which has far fewer corporations and economic activity than St. Louis,” Ganis said. “The beauty of the NFL is the large markets end up subsidizing the small markets.”


“I see [the St. Louis proposal] as a plan that should be discussed. It’s not such a no-brainer that it should be accepted yesterday,” said Marc Ganis, a stadium consultant who sat on the negotiating teams that brought the Rams to St. Louis and sent the Raiders back to Oakland. “It’s a reasonable starting point for meaningful discussion.”

That sure sounds like “NFL to St. Louis: Put your money on the table, and we’ll see what we can do for you.” But at this point, there’s such a huge pile of known unknowns (the St. Louis stadium would require knocking down a good chunk of a warehouse district that may be protected by historic designation) that it’s tough to see very far into the future. Except that one way or another, Stan Kroenke is likely to be getting a nine-figure check from somebody’s public treasury

St. Louis stadium task force: Let’s throw $450m at Kroenke to get Rams to stay

Live from watching the St. Louis how-we’re-gonna-keep-the-Rams press conference on the interwebs:

That was a question to Gov. Jay Nixon’s stadium negotiator (and Anheuser-Busch exec) Dave Peacock, who presented his proposal for a new stadium to make Rams owner Stan Kroenke re-up his lease in St. Louis. And yes, that’s a $900 million price tag, with $450 million of it coming from the public. More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The facility would feature 64,000 seats, with 7,500 club seats. Financing the project, he said, would involve public and private money, as well as seat licenses paid by fans.

“There are ways to source public financing and do it with the same or less burden on the taxpayers,” Peacock said.


The current Edward Jones Dome would become “a competitive asset to use” to attract conventions, Peacock said.

I will endeavor to get Heywood Sanders in here to comment on that one, if he ever stops laughing.

Anyway: 450 million smackeroos. That is a hell of a lot of money to keep a team that you just spent $600 million to lure to town 20 years ago, so either Peacock knows something we don’t know about the seriousness of Stan Kroenke’s threat to go to L.A., or he’s ignoring my advice about not bidding against yourself. Or he just figured most new stadiums cost around $900 million and thought, “Enh, let’s offer to go halfsies and see what they say. That sounds fair, right?” Dumber things have been done for dumber reasons.

Rams owner now refusing to pick up the phone when St. Louis officials call

And the latest in the St. Louis Rams rumor mill: Rams owner Stan Kroenke is now refusing to talk to St. Louis city officials about stadium plans there.

City leaders are hedging their bets, saying the plan now is to work directly with the NFL, not the Rams. The change in philosophy is due in part to the fact that Kroenke won’t take calls from Mayor Francis Slay or other city leaders, said Maggie Crane, Slay’s spokeswoman.

“He hasn’t responded, he hasn’t called back, he hasn’t done anything,” Crane said of Kroenke.

“After a while, you sort of get the hint,” said Jeff Rainford, the mayor’s chief of staff.

Now, it’s actually the governor’s office that has taken the lead on the stadium plan, so don’t get too excited just yet. Though it is fun to speculate whether Kroenke is stonewalling St. Louis officials because he has one foot out the door already, or because he figures it’s the best way to make them think he has one foot out the door already, the better to plead with him to take their money. Isn’t brinkmanship fun?

The most interesting bit here, really, is the hint that St. Louis will now be taking its case directly to the NFL, which could mean a couple of different things. Either:

  1. St. Louis officials are hoping that the league will tell Kroenke, “Shut up and sit down, we’re not going to let you pass up public funding to go off on some crazy privately funded stadium goose chase.” (Unlikely, but possible.)
  2. St. Louis officials are hoping to lay the groundwork for the NFL to give them a new team, expansion or otherwise, if the Rams leave. (Hey, it worked before! At insane public cost, but still!)

Kroenke is already reportedly either ready to defy the NFL’s veto of any move of his team, and/or working together with approving league officials on his plan — it’s entirely possible that both are true, given that the league office may be thinking one thing and the individual owners who may have to vote on a relocation may be thinking another. Or neither could be true! This has all the makings of a multilateral battle at least as convoluted and entertaining as the Sacramento Kings saga of 2013. So long as you’re not a Rams fan, or a Missouri taxpayer facing the price tag Kroenke is asking for in order to stay put, or a sports fans or taxpayer anywhere concerned about the implications that this situation will have on future relocation plans and stadium funding battles, it should all be great fun.

Kroenke: Crazy enough to move Rams to L.A. over NFL’s dead body, or just crazy enough to make you think he is?

You know, maybe I’ve been looking at this whole Stan Kroenke moving the St. Louis Rams thing to Los Angeles the wrong way. I’ve been figuring that since building a billion-dollar-or-more stadium on his own dime in Inglewood seems crazy, when the benefits of playing in L.A. are limited by the NFL’s everybody-gets-an-equal-cut-regardless TV deal, Kroenke is more likely using this as leverage to try to extract a better stadium offer from St. Louis. But what if this is a sign that Kroenke is actually crazy, one of those billionaires who decides that he wants to own a team where he wants to own one, dad-gum it, and nobody is going to tell him he can’t, not even his own accountants?

We’ve seen it before, certainly. And as an additional data point in favor of the madman theory, we have yesterday’s report by NBC Sports’ Mike Florio that, according to “a source with knowledge of the current dynamics in Southern California,” Kroenke plans on moving to L.A. even if he can’t get the approval of the NFL:

According to the source, Kroenke has informed the mayor of Inglewood on multiple occasions that he’ll move the team with or without the approval of the other clubs.

That would be an aggressive, risky move. If Kroenke moves without approval, he’d be entitled to no financial assistance from the league, and his stadium would be blocked from hosting Super Bowls.  He also would avoid paying the relocation fee.

The matter could end up in court, as a sequel to the barrister’s brouhaha between the Raiders and the NFL in the 1980s, arising from the league’s efforts to keep the Raiders from moving to Los Angeles.  The Raiders eventually won a $34.6-million judgment, which reportedly was settled for a payment of $18 million in 1989.

Obviously, we need to consider the source: Florio has a bit of a record of passing along wild rumors, and by his own description this isn’t much more than hearsay — a guy who knows people says he heard that the mayor of Inglewood says Kroenke told him this. Still, it’s a scenario that we haven’t considered before, and just maybe the lure of getting out of paying the NFL a relocation fee would be enough to risk a lawsuit and having everyone else in the room hate him at owners meetings. If you’re, you know, crazy.

The counterargument is that all signs are that Kroenke isn’t actually a lone nut type of billionaire, but a pretty buttoned-down kind of guy who also owns the Denver Nuggets and a majority share of Arsenal. (Where he was interested enough in making money that he paid himself a $4.5 million dividend even when he knew it would anger fans.) And none other than Marc Ganis, the NFL consultant and consummate league insider, tells USA Today that Kroenke isn’t the kind of guy to go wildly into an L.A. stadium deal before he gets league approval of a team being allowed to play there:

“I’ve known Stan for years, and Stan is a measured, deliberate person who makes very good business decisions, often using patience to do so,” Ganis said. “If he says he’s just going to build it himself and take the league on in court, what have you done? You’ve built a stadium, and you possibly lose in court and you’re out a billion and a half dollars? That’s not a rational way to go about it, and Stan is very rational man.”

Of course, because Ganis is so tight with the league, it’s always possible this is a league talking point: No way Stan does this without asking us first, he’s always been a good boy. It’s a world of unreliable narrators right now, which is enough to drive you … crazy.

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.


Rams owner gets more stadium land in L.A., team either set to move or to extract more cash from St. Louis

Hold onto your hats, because we have an actual Los Angeles NFL stadium plan, people! According to today’s Los Angeles Times:

Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who bought 60 acres adjacent to the Forum a year ago, has joined forces with the owners of the 238-acre Hollywood Park site, Stockbridge Capital Group. They plan to add an 80,000-seat NFL stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue to the already-massive development of retail, office, hotel and residential space, Stockbridge and the Kroenke Group told The Times.

This is indeed actual news, though if you’re hoping for specifics — how much it would cost, how it would be paid for — you’re going to be disappointed, because Kroenke isn’t telling you that. Stockbridge did say that “no tax dollars would be used for the construction project, including the stadium,” but we’ve heard that before for a lot of projects that end up involving tax dollars for things that aren’t strictly stadium construction; yes, this is California where that kind of thing is usually a non-starter (or at least much harder to get approved), but I’ll be withholding judgment on that until the financial story is actually released in full.

What we do have, then, is an announcement by Stockbridge that they’ll let Kroenke use part of their land, which is important because the land Kroenke owns in Inglewood isn’t enough for a stadium, parking, etc. So, does this actually mean that this stadium will actually be built?

That’s the big question, and right now I don’t think we can do better than “future cloudy, ask again later.” Kroenke, of course, is in the midst of negotiating a new Rams stadium in St. Louis, and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has said he’s determined to get one built, with his two-man stadium task force set to deliver a plan by the end of the month. And significantly, Nixon hasn’t ruled out using taxpayer dollars — just “no new tax burden,” which could mean redirecting existing taxes. In fact, St. Louis magazine reports that in order to get around the city’s voter-approved law banning public spending on a new stadium without a referendum, the state would have the city take over debt payments on the old stadium, which would free up state money to be used for a new one.

That would still only amount to about $200 million in public money, which might not be enough to entice Kroenke to keep the Rams in St. Louis. Or it might just not be as much as Kroenke things he can get by leveraging his threat to leave. In which case, making a vague pronouncement about his L.A. site — we found some more land, we’re gonna pay for it all somehow! — makes total sense as a way to turn up the heat on Nixon to up his ante, because Los Angeles would take us back in a second, don’t you know it, so you better step up your game, mister!

Or maybe Kroenke really does know how to finance an L.A. stadium out of his own pocket, while also paying any territorial fees that the NFL requires for a team moving to L.A. (which ain’t gonna be no $2 billion, but could well be something), and turn a bigger profit than getting $200 million or more in subsidies for a new building in St. Louis. It’s all gamesmanship here, and the whole point of it is for no one to know whether he’s bluffing or not, so we shouldn’t feel bad having to say that we don’t know whether this is a serious threat. Not that I wouldn’t be thrilled for North Korea to hack into Kroenke’s emails so we can find out what he really thinks, but I’m not holding my breath. (And also that would be illegal, so if you’re a North Korean hacker reading this for some reason, I’m not actually asking you do this, okay? Sheesh, imaginary North Korean hackers have no sense of hyperbole.)

Nobody’s moving to L.A., so now can we talk about that Raiders lease extension?

This week in “Which NFL teams are moving to L.A. in 2015?” rumors, we have … nobody!

Per “sources,” yes, but Schefter is reporting it as fact, and the NFL isn’t denying it, so this certainly has the whiff at least of official leak. And the San Diego Chargers did already announce that they’re staying put for 2015, which they likely wouldn’t have done if there were any chance of teams going to L.A., and besides there’s just about zero chance of an L.A. stadium deal getting done in time for a relocation announcement by February. So, really, I’m confident we can stick a fork in this for now, and stop with all the rumor-mongering about who’s headed to—

Fox Sports 1 Insider Jay Glazer reports the NFL is waiting to get better offers for stadium sites around Los Angeles, with St. Louis Rams clear front-runner to come to city.

Yo! Jay! Stand down, already!

In related news, the Oakland Raiders are apparently set to announce a one-year extension of their lease at the Oakland Coliseum, which is a bit weird, as I’m pretty sure that the Coliseum Authority would have to sign off on that as well — and would be perfectly within their rights to tell Mark Davis to take his team and go play in the street if he doesn’t agree to a multiyear extension. This one is worth watching closely, or would be if everyone could stop playing “Who’s moving to the imaginary L.A. stadium first?”