Los Angeles Rams

5 Winners and Losers In The Rams' Return to Los Angeles

It is official. After a 20-year hiatus, the Los Angeles Rams are back. As with any move of this magnitude, the immediate and ongoing aftermath will produce many winners and losers.

So who’s sitting high and who spent the night crying themselves to sleep? Let’s examine below.

Winner: Stan Kroenke

In a world full of billionaire owners, Stan Kroenke just pulled off one of the biggest power moves in NFL history. A year ago, Kroenke announced that he was building an NFL stadium in Inglewood, Calif. He had the land, he gathered the permits and he even already had a football team in the St. Louis Rams. The problem? He didn’t have the permission of the NFL’s owners to relocate the team, nor did he have Inglewood City Council approval to build a stadium at the site.

He proceeded anyway.

Kroenke quickly worked with the Inglewood City Council to clear the stadium hurdle, with the group voting to unanimously approve the site for stadium use in February of last year. The NFL owners were a tougher sell, especially since both the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders put together their own plans to move to Los Angeles for fear that they be left out of the Los Angeles market.

A 30-2 vote later in favor of relocation, and Kroenke had done the impossible; he strong-armed the NFL into returning the Rams to Los Angeles.

Winner: City of Los Angeles/City of Inglewood

While the net economic impact of a sports team has been debated for years, at least at the onset, the move looks to provide an economic boost to the city of Inglewood. New jobs along with additional revenue streams from hotels, restaurants and transportation all look to increase the profile of the low-income, mostly minority-based city.

An economic impact evaluation completed by the city last year estimated that the Rams' move would help generate over a billion dollars a year for the local economy, along with 40,000 new jobs. Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. stated earlier in the year that the move could make Inglewood a “top-tier metropolis.” A win, indeed.

Winner: The NFL

The NFL has been trying to get its product back into the second-largest market in the country ever since it left two decades ago. Los Angeles is the second-largest media market in the country with over 5 million television-watching homes in the metropolitan area. The bargaining power in future television contracts is significant, as the L.A. market is four and a half times the size of the St. Louis market.

Outside of the new and increased revenue stream within the realm of television, the L.A. move also opens up additional marketing opportunities, in part due to the team’s proximity to Hollywood and the entertainment world.

More revenue and increased marketing potential? It is certainly a win for a league that lost two L.A.-based teams 20 years ago.

Winner: Todd Gurley

Rams running back Todd Gurley may wind up being the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. He is certainly the Rams’ most intriguing offensive player.

Gurley missed the first three games of the season due to injury, yet managed to run for 1,106 yards and 10 TDs in the 13 games when he was active. Due to an ineffective passing attack, Gurley served as the Rams’ offense for a majority of the season, and one can only expect him to improve next year.

Gurley has already begun to establish himself as a marketable brand, appearing in an NFL Play 60 commercial and securing a brand campaign and national commercial with Hershey’s Jolly Rancher brand. His marketing opportunities have increased exponentially now that he’ll be in the city of Los Angeles. He’ll also have easy access to other entertainment formats — TV, movies, etc. — if he should so choose.

Keep in mind that the shelf life for an NFL running back is extremely short, so as long as he continues to make the most of the time on the field, having increased potential for endorsement deals and opportunities in traditional media can be a boon for him off of it.

Winner: California Love

The Rams are back in Los Angeles. As such, they need a theme song. To the best of my knowledge, only one song references both the city of Los Angeles and the city of Inglewood. That song? The 1996 2Pac and Dr. Dre anthem about their love for the state, "California Love." Expect to fall in love with this song all over again as it seems like the most likely go-to song until a Rams-specific song comes along.

Inglewood always being up to no good? You can’t win much more that.

Of course, it's not all sunshine and rainbows now that the Rams are moving back to Los Angeles. Some people are experiencing a severe case of struggle face.

Loser: City of St. Louis/State of Missouri

St. Louis, as a city, is having a rough few weeks. Not only did the city lose its football team, but that team’s owner dragged St. Louis through the mud — via his relocation application — on the way out:

Kroenke argues, essentially, that St. Louis is a dead city and no one should ever play football there again. He says that San Diego and Oakland are “significantly more attractive markets than St. Louis” — this is sort of like a man trying to win a lover’s hand by claiming her other suitors should be happy with the girlfriends they already have — and that “compared to all other U.S. cities, St. Louis is struggling.” St. Louis “lags, and will continue to lag, far behind in the economic drivers that are necessary for sustained success of an NFL franchise.” — Will Leitch, Sports on Earth

Losing the Rams not enough? Don’t forget that the city of St. Louis, specifically the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, is defending itself in the Reggie Bush-Edward James Dome “concrete ring of death” lawsuit. That’s right, the government-owned entity still has to defend against Bush’s lawsuit that occurred at a stadium that will be vacant for the foreseeable future.

Should St. Louis lose the suit or settle? They’ll pass those costs on to …

Loser: The Citizens of St. Louis

Riddle me this: When is having to pay the settlement costs of Bush’s lawsuit not the worst loss for your taxpayer base? Answer: When those taxpayers lose their football team as well.

Years of unabashed fandom, the dedication of their time, their hearts and, most importantly, their dollars … all for naught. On top of all of that, the man who brought you the team you love, Mizzou’s son, Stan Kroenke? He essentially called you horrible fans on his way out the door.

Everything you’ve done since then — complain on message boards, blog posts, Twitter hashtags — has unfortunately only come off as petty. Not that your complaints are unjustified — attendance for Rams games would have probably been higher, but the Rams haven’t had a winning season since 2003. Rams fans? They just can’t catch a break.

Loser: Robert Quinn

Robert Quinn is the highest paid player on the team. The defensive end signed a four-year, $57 million extension with the team — $41M guaranteed — which will keep him with the Rams until 2020. Unfortunately, the big paycheck equates to more taxes with the move to Los Angeles. The state tax rate for the highest income bracket in Missouri? 6 percent. For California? 13.3 percent.

More money, more tax problems.

Loser: Oakland Raiders

Oh, Raiders. A few months ago, it seemed as if you had everything sewn up. You had teamed up with the Chargers on a $1.7 billion stadium project in Carson, and the city of St. Louis had a plan in place to keep the Rams. Your return to Los Angeles seemed imminent.

And then Kroenke went … well, Kroenke, and it all fell apart.

It was one of those rare instances when an NFL team threatened relocation in order to obtain a new stadium, and it failed. Sure, the NFL offered the Raiders $100 million to put toward new stadium costs, an option to join the Rams in Los Angeles — if the Chargers decline to relocate — but at the end of the day, you are currently in a 50-plus-year-old stadium that hasn’t been renovated since the '90s. With a stipend from the NFL that is 10 percent of your new stadium costs, and any hope of moving to L.A. — on what will certainly be unfavorable terms from Kroenke — is only open to you if the Chargers refuse to relocate.

It certainly wasn’t the scenario that team owner Mark Davis envisioned.

Loser: Twitter

It is 2016, and the proper Twitter handle can make or break your company. With the move to L.A., the handle, @LARams, would seemingly make sense for the returning franchise. The problem? Lara Sasken, a director of communications at GoPro, already owns the handle and has done so since 2008.

Even the @InglewoodRams Twitter handle has already been snatched up by a user following the Rams’ relocation progress. This all becomes an unwanted mess as the exchange of Twitter handles is prohibited per Twitter’s terms and conditions. The company itself will seemingly have to step in to help set things right between the parties, assuming the Rams ultimately decide to use @LARams.

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