In a move that promises to bring pro football back to Los Angeles for the first time in more than 20 years, NFL team owners voted Tuesday to allow the St. Louis Rams to relocate to Los Angeles for the 2016 season.
The owners also voted 30-2 to give the San Diego Chargers the option to join the Rams at a new stadium in Inglewood to be built on the site of the Hollywood Park racetrack. The team will play in a temporary stadium, probably the Los Angeles Coliseum, until the Inglewood facility is ready in 2019.
The Chargers have until Jan. 16, 2017, to agree to stadium lease terms with the Rams, according to ESPN.
Tuesday’s vote comes after years of on-again, off-again efforts to bring football back to the nation’s second-largest media market, 21 years after the Rams exited for St. Louis. The Oakland Raiders had also been among the teams in the mix to relocate to Los Angeles, the city the team called home from 1982 through 1994.
The deal promises to impact the league’s TV ratings by giving fans in the sprawling Los Angeles market a rooting interest in at least one hometown team in the NFC conference.
“We would like to thank the National Football League, its owners, and the Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities for their diligence and dedication,” said Rams owner E. Stanley Kroenke. “We look forward to returning to Los Angeles and building a world-class NFL entertainment district in Inglewood.”