About Us – BBTLAR History

Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams was founded on November 13, 2009 by Andrew Hogan, an Orange County native and then-student (now alumnus) at the University of California, Berkeley, made a bold step. Though he had only been a preschooler when the team had departed, he had grown up on stories about the great L.A. Rams teams and players. Inspired by those memories passed down to him, Hogan created Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams on Facebook: at first, the page was only a modest forum for Los Angeles Rams fans to get together and share memories as well as speculate about the team’s future, but it would soon grow into much more than that.

A Letter from the Founder

 

Joining in to help run the page came twin brothers Tom and Dennis Bateman, who had created the Twitter account @losangelesrams. Both Orange County natives who grew up in Anaheim in equal distance between the Rams’ training camp at Cal State Fullerton and playing field at The Big A, Tom, with expertise at organizing people and events and Dennis, who had spent years covering sports in Southern California, utilized social media to build up support. By February of 2010, Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams reached 1,000 fans. By May, there were 2,000.

But that same month, the fledgling Return to L.A. movement was almost cut down just as it had BBTLAR Logostarted: Shahid Khan, a wealthy auto parts businessman with strong roots in the Midwest, signed an agreement to purchase the Rams from Frontiere’s children, and signaled his intent to keep the Rams in St. Louis.

But fortunes shifted quickly in April, when minority owner Stan Kroenke exercised his right of first refusal and committed to purchasing the team. While Kroenke is a Missouri native, most of his ties are to Denver (his family owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and NHL’s Colorado Avalanche) and he has moved aggressively to expand his sports holdings with a clear intention of not only creating national, but worldwide brands. In 2011, Kroenke became majority shareholder in Arsenal Football Club, one of the most prestigious franchises in the English Premier League. A year later, Kroenke was one of three finalists in the bidding war for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In addition, he was one of the major investors in Major League Soccer, purchasing the expansion Colorado Rapids from MLS founder Phillip Anschutz.

The first Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams rally in Anaheim, Calif.

The first Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams rally in Anaheim, Calif.

A few months after Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams doubled in size to 2,000 in May 2010, Anschutz’s company, AEG, first announced plans to build an NFL-quality facility in downtown Los Angeles. Later dubbed Farmers Field, it seemed a tall order in the wake of many similar plans that had come and gone since the Rams had first moved out of the city following the 1979 season. But AEG, led by vice president Tim Leiweke, were aggressive in their push to get through the red tape which had stifled previous endeavors. The Farmers Field proposal joined another ambitious project, Los Angeles Stadium, to be developed in the City of Industry by billionaire Ed Roski as the first serious attempts at creating an NFL-quality stadium venue in Southern California.

It was at this time that Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams made its first public forays. Several supporters came to an open forum on Farmers Field in West L.A. There, a meeting with ESPN Radio host Steve Mason led to an appearance by Dennis Bateman on the Mason & Ireland Show in June 2011. New fans, who had not realized that the Rams could indeed be returning to Los Angeles, signed up in droves, pushing membership of BBTLAR past the 3,000 mark. Even more importantly, Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams began to work closely with the official Rams booster clubs that exist in the area, including the Southern California Rams Booster Club, Ram Central Orange County, and later Rams World Order. Together, they joined forces for a rally in August 2011 at J.T. Schmid’s in Anaheim to watch Ram greats Marshall Faulk and Les Richter be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Joining in the celebration were former Ram greats Mike Lansford, Ron Brown, Greg Bell, and Robert Delpino, as well as by St. Louis Ram Mike Horan, who was born and raised in Southern California. BBTLAR also co-hosted a pair of book signing events for Hall of Famer Jack Youngblood. By the end of 2011, Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams’ ranks had swelled beyond 4,000.

Writer? Volunteer to Join the Team

 

Steady growth continued up to 5,000 by May of 2012, as BBTLAR took its case to the Los Angeles sports fanbase. Whether cheering on the Lakers and Clippers during the NBA playoffs, making appearances at the L.A. Kings’ Stanley Cup celebration rally and the Anaheim Ducks, or seeing the Freeway Series clash between the Angels and Dodgers, reaction has been overwhelmingly positive both from older fans nostalgic about the great days of Rams teams past as well as the younger generation that has been deprived of NFL football in their hometown. Meanwhile, the Farmers Field project moved towards a final vote, and with dozens of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams supporters filling the L.A. City Council chambers on September 28, 2012, the council members (including current L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti) voted unanimously to approve the project, pending the signing of a long-term lease. Also, during the council meeting, BBTLAR surpassed 6,000 fans.

Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams in full force at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif.

Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams in full force at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif.

Fans of both USC and UCLA football may not agree on much, but both have been enthusiastic in backing a Rams return as BBTLAR made regular appearances at the Trojans’ and Bruins’ spring games, as well as flying the Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams’ banner high during ESPN College Gameday’s appearances outside the Rams’ former home at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. At the end of the 2012 NFL season, 8,000 had rallied to our cause. Even during the offseason, as Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams continued to inform its followers of the latest stadium-related developments in both L.A. and in St. Louis on Facebook and Twitter, and continuing its campaign at L.A. and Southern California sports events, the ranks continued to swell, with over 3,000 more joining up by the start of the 2013 football season. On September 17, BBTLAR added its 12,000th fan, and had in the process surpassed Farmers Field as the largest and most active Facebook page advocating the NFL’s return to Los Angeles. It would have been enough for some to simply rest on that laurel. But the movement to Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams could no longer be stopped, as it has continued to captivate the hearts of the Southern California sports scene. In just six days, BBTLAR added a thousand new fans to reach 13,000. Just five days later, it was 14,000. By the beginning of November, 2013, those numbers had improved to 17,000. The 20,000-fan mark was surpassed by mid-December, and on New Year’s Eve, 2,000 more were added to the Bring Back the L.A. Rams’ ranks.

Even in 2014, the Rams to Los Angeles movement continued to surge with its biggest month ever. More than 3,000 more had freely signed up by the end of January, when Rams owner Stan Kroenke sent shockwaves throughout the league when it was revealed that one of his holding companies had purchased a 60-acre plot of prime real estate in Inglewood between the historic Forum and the recently-closed Hollywood Park. That last surge carried us over 26,000 by Super Bowl XLVIII.

Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams rallying outside of the LA Coliseum before the NFL relocation vote.

Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams rallying outside of the LA Coliseum before the NFL relocation vote.

Just before Super Bowl XLIX the battle for the Rams will be reaching its breaking point: the Kroenke Group announced its intent to build an 80,000 seat stadium on the site of the former Hollywood Park Racetrack. Shortly after, the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders announced a plan of their own to build a stadium in nearby Carson. While the Carson site had a significant amount of media attention driven by Chargers frontman Mark Fabiani’s spin machine, those in Inglewood kept plugging away behind the scenes to put together a project that the NFL owners could not refuse. On February 24, 2015 the Inglewood City Council voted unanimously to approve the rezoning of the land at Hollywood Park for an NFL stadium and at that point, the countdown to the Los Angeles Rams began.

Throughout the year there was a great amount of spin and misinformation coming from the Carson camp, but the Los Angeles Ram faithful knew that the Inglewood site would prevail in the end. On January 4, 2016 the Rams announced that they had filed for relocation and shortly after that, on January 12, 2016—70 years after the Rams’ initial move to Los Angeles was approved—the NFL ownership gave their consent to the Mr. Kroenke’s relocation request and at that moment the Los Angeles Rams were reborn.

Fearsome Football exists because of the passion of Rams fans in Los Angeles and the strength of the Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams movement. It was that kind of love and support that made the Los Angeles Rams the NFL’s premier franchise. Now that the Rams have returned, the real work begins. We are dedicated to keeping you informed of all the comings and goings of the Rams organization and seeing the Los Angeles Rams regain its spot as the premier professional sports franchise in Southern California.