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NFL owners to vote on whether to allow Rams to borrow $500 million more for SoFi Stadium

Aerial view of the still-under-construction SoFi Stadium, future home of the Rams and Chargers, in Inglewood, on Feb. 6, 2020.
An aerial view of the still-under-construction SoFi Stadium, future home of the Rams and Chargers, on Feb. 6, 2020.
(Daniel Slim / AFP via Getty Images)

NFL owners will vote Tuesday on whether to allow the Rams the ability to borrow $500 million more than previously approved for the construction of SoFi Stadium.

The request, first reported by the Athletic and later confirmed by The Times, comes two years after owners passed a record debt waiver of $2.25 billion for the $5-billion venue, scheduled to open this season as the new home of the Rams and Chargers.

The additional $500 million in stadium financing is believed to be a combination of a private loan to Rams owner Stan Kroenke, and an increased debt limit on the team. Pending approval from fellow owners, Kroenke also would have more time to pay back the loan.

The Rams referred all questions about the situation to the NFL, which declined to comment. The league will conduct its annual May meetings virtually next week, having canceled the event slated to be held in Laguna Beach because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Draft pick Van Jefferson was chosen to help fill a void that was created after the Rams traded speedy veteran receiver Brandin Cooks.

The cost of the stadium, which sits on 298 acres in Inglewood, has roughly doubled since the early projections of roughly $2.5 billion, and both the Rams and Chargers have fallen short on anticipated seat-license sales that offset construction costs. What’s more, if the NFL further increases the debt limit, Kroenke can take advantage of lower interest rates.

“With cost overruns, less revenue coming from seat licenses, and a one-year [rain] delay in opening, there’s significant extra cost to Stan Kroenke,” said financing expert Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp. “He did not reduce the scope of the project to save money, which he could have done. He’s building the magnificent stadium that was originally envisioned.

The NFL will allow teams to reopen their facilities as soon as Tuesday if certain conditions can be met during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“So it’s only fair, since this stadium has great benefit to the league as a whole, that the league help him finance some of the difference.”

Original projections were that both the Rams and Chargers would sell about $400 million in seat licenses. Both clubs have fallen short of that, with the Chargers selling closer to $100 million, according to individuals with knowledge of the situation.

Joe Reed developed a reputation for being a utility chess piece on offense and special teams at Virginia. The Chargers are hoping for more of the same.

“Sales were trending positively towards our goal as we turned the calendar and approached the new league year,” the Chargers said in a written release, “but the pandemic has had a quieting effect on what is traditionally the biggest sales period of the year — the lead-up to the NFL draft through the schedule release.

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“Due to the positive momentum, however, created by our free-agent signings, draft picks and uniform unveil, we are still seeing significant fan interest in season tickets and continue to onboard new Season Ticket Members.”


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