Rams headed to L.A.? Sports world eyes billionaire's parking lot purchase

Sam Bradford, #8 of the St. Louis Rams, huddles up against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Edward Jones Dome Sept. 11, 2011, in St. Louis.
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The owner of the St. Louis Rams may be thinking of moving his team back to Los Angeles - or maybe not.

It's been almost 20 years since St. Louis celebrated its new team, and Los Angeles mourned its loss. Now, the tables may be turning.

On Friday, Stan Kroenke, the billionaire owner of the St. Louis Rams, confirmed that he just bought a 60-acre parking lot in Inglewood, Calif., just south of Los Angeles.

Resident Tony Scott said, "I'm dying for a football team to come back here, and I'm hoping it's the Rams."

The sale is fueling speculation that Kroenke plans to move the team back to Los Angeles. His team confirms the purchase but isn't revealing much more, saying in a statement, "We have yet to decide what we are going to do with the property, but we will look at all options."  

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seemed to dampen the hype. He said, "Instead of overreacting, we should make sure we do what's necessary to continue to support the team locally, which the fans have done in St. Louis, and make sure we can do whatever we can to make sure that team is successful in the St. Louis market."

­­But lately, it hasn't been. For the past six years, the Rams have ranked near the bottom of NFL teams  in attendance figures, and the team is asking for $700 million worth of upgrades to its current stadium, which the city isn't willing to pay.

Writer Dennis Romero with the LA Weekly has been following proposals to bring football back to Los Angeles for the past four years. He said, "It seems to me that the owner of the Rams is making a play to get concessions in St. Louis because he wants to upgrade the stadium there. He wants the taxpayers to pay for it."

CBS News' Bill Whitaker asked, "So use L.A. as leverage?"

Romero said, "Yeah. I mean, L.A. is the perpetual city of leverage for NFL teams, and that's one of the reasons that it's valuable as a place without a team for the league."

If Friday's reaction by St. Louis' mayor is any indication - Mayor Francis Slay said, "At this point, got our attention" - the strategy might be working.