NFL owners reportedly approved the loan on Tuesday.
The Rams were reported last week to have requested the half-billion to help cover costs of the team’s stadium in Inglewood, which will be shared with the Los Angeles Chargers. The stadium is believed to hold a price tag in the neighborhood of $5 billion, by far the most expensive stadium in any sport in American history.
How is a stadium that expensive?
The eye-popping price tag is a result of a number of factors the Rams might not have foreseen when making the move for their massive stadium out west. The inevitable unexpected costs of projects this big, earthquake-proofing and other civil needs, construction of a surrounding entertainment district and lower seat license sales than expected have all played a part.
With the loan approved, the Rams will now owe the league a total of $900 million through its G-4 loan program. Rams owner Stan Kroenke has been reported to have $1.6 billion of his money invested in the project, along with more than $2 billion from various banks.
Requesting a half-billion dollars in loans isn’t the first eyebrow-raising financial news for the Rams this offseason, as two former players — Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews — aired out complaints of missed payments. The Rams general manager countered that the guaranteed money owed was not yet due.
Coronavirus hasn’t helped construction on Rams’ stadium
Like so many other projects and ventures, the Rams’ SoFi Stadium project hasn’t been helped by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Stadium builders were allowed by the California government to continue construction as most of the rest of the country closed its doors, but five workers have tested positive for the virus. SoFi Stadium was previously scheduled to open in July with a pair of Taylor Swift concerts, but those have already been postponed due to the pandemic.
The bigger issue for the Rams is that the coronavirus could hurt the team’s ability to pay the gargantuan loans they took on to build the stadium, as it would lose millions in income if fans aren’t allowed into games when the NFL season begins, which feels like a very real possibility. Perhaps foreseeing that issue, the Rams reportedly requested “massive” debt waivers and additional time to repay their most recent NFL loan.
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