Serenaded by chants of "We love Stan," Rams owner Stan Kroenke greeted fans at a boisterous rally and news conference today near the site of the team's future home in Inglewood, promising them, "We're gonna have some fun."
"We're going to bring Super Bowls here," Kroenke told media and fans gathered at the Forum, across the street from the former Hollywood Park site that will eventually house a $1.86 billion stadium that will house the Los Angeles Rams.
"We're gonna bring events like the Final Four," he said. "The Final Four hasn't been here in decades. They've already talked to us."
Kroenke said the opportunity to be part of a 300-acre development featuring sports inter-mingled with retail, parks and residential projects was hard to pass up, and presented the chance to create a signature location for the region. He said it took 2 1/2 years of work on the Hollywood Park project to bring the plans to fruition and then earn NFL support for his team's move back to the Los Angeles area, but it was worth the effort.
"The fun part for us really starts, coming in here today and being received like this is wonderful," Kroenke said. "It's been a long road. It's been a long road but we made it. We're gonna have some fun."
Inglewood Mayor James Butts welcomed Kroenke, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and the fans to the event, saying the team's move means Inglewood "will be the City of Champions once again."
He said he was so confident the project would win out over a competing stadium proposal in Carson that "eight months ago I wrote a letter to (NFL Commissioner) Roger Goodell asking that Inglewood be the site of the 2020 Super Bowl."
Butts also took a shot at sports network ESPN and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, noting that despite the team's new name of "Los Angeles Rams," the team will be playing in Inglewood.
"I wanted ESPN to know we have our own city and we have our own mayor," Butts said, drawing cheers from the fans.
NFL owners voted Tuesday to approve the Rams' move from St. Louis to Inglewood, rejecting the Carson proposal that would have included a joint stadium for the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. Instead, the owners gave the Chargers a one-year window to join the Rams at the planned Inglewood
stadium. If the Chargers choose not to move to Inglewood, the Raiders would then be given a one-year option.
The Inglewood stadium is scheduled to be ready by the 2019 season. Until then, the Rams will play at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.