The Rams received thousands of deposits Monday morning when the team launched a site that offered fans a chance to put their names on a waiting list for season tickets.
Beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, fans could put down a $100 refundable deposit by visiting the team's website — WelcomeHomeRams.com. The deposit placed fans on a waiting list, allowing them to buy tickets this spring before the general public.
The team reported more than 5,000 deposits in the first five minutes that the site was live. Within about 45 minutes, more than 8,000 had been sold.
Tickets will be sold to account holders in the order in which they signed up on the waiting list. Each account holder can buy up to eight season tickets for the Rams return to Los Angeles after more than two decades in St. Louis.
The team will play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving into a new stadium in Inglewood at the start of the 2019 season. The move was announced last week after an owners meeting in Houston.
The plan gives the San Diego Chargers a year to decide whether they want to join the Rams in the Los Angeles area. The two teams held their first meeting Monday, according to a joint statement issued by the two teams.
"We mutually have agreed not to publicly discuss details of this or any future meeting," the two-sentence statement concluded.
The Rams finished 7-9 under coach Jeff Fisher, third in the NFC West and had a troubled attendance history in St. Louis, where a team that once produced the Super Bowl winning "Greatest Show on Turf" later struggled through a series of losing seasons. The team was consistently at the bottom of the NFL in attendance over the past decade.
Season ticket prices have not been announced, but are expected to be comparable to what was charged in St. Louis, where seat prices per game ranged from $50 to $250, according to Kevin Demoff, Rams senior vice president and chief operating officer.
The average resale price of a Rams ticket this season was near the least expensive in the league, at one point dropping to $64, according to SeatGeek.
The stampede to put down deposits underscored the pent-up demand in Southern California.
"I believe every regular season game will sell out," said Barry Rudin, chief executive of the ticket broker Barry's Tickets.
Demoff acknowledged that the Rams likely will revise pricing for games in the new Inglewood stadium, projected to cost nearly $2 billion and be ready for the 2019 season.
When the 49ers left San Francisco to play in the newly built Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, the price of end zone seats jumped from the $50 range to $100 and up, Rudin recalled.
Some have expressed concern that working class fans will be priced out of being able to attend Rams games in Inglewood with its largely working class demographic.
"I hope the Rams will be sensitive to that," said Najee Ali, an activist with the group Project Islamic Hope and a columnist for the Wave newspaper.
When Ali raised the issue Friday at the kickoff news conference for the Rams, Demoff pledged to keep the community involved.
The new stadium, yet to be named, will be at the former site of Hollywood Park racetrack. But Kroenke, a billionaire land developer married to a Walmart heir, is building more than a football stadium with the reported $1.86 billion Inglewood project, which also includes office space, shops, a concert venue and innumerable other enticements.
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 18, 2016
Kroenke said his new stadium will host Super Bowls and Final Fours, which he has already discussed with the NCAA. The Los Angeles area hasn't hosted the Final Four since 1972, lacking an appropriately huge-roofed venue. Inglewood Mayor James Butts said he already has expressed interest to the NFL in hosting the Super Bowl in February 2021.