L.A. Rams to hold spring practice in Oxnard ahead of Cowboys’ camp in August

by Chris O’Neal
chris@vcreporter.com

Who would have thought that Oxnard would become a hub for NFL superstars, but here we are expecting not one, but two teams to hold functions in 2016.

The recently rebranded L.A. Rams and the Dallas Cowboys will make use of the Oxnard facilities at River Ridge at separate times this year, with the Rams appearing in late spring for a so-called “mini-camp” and the Cowboys returning for the second year of a three-year contract in July.

The Oxnard City Council approved the Rams’ usage of the field for $510 a day between April 18 and June 17, totaling $31,110, as well as leasing the site’s locker rooms for $680 a day between March 28 and June 24 for a total of $59,840. The city of Oxnard will provide utilities up to $1,500 a month while the Rams will be responsible for maintenance, staff and repair costs.

The Residence Inn by Marriott, the same hotel used by the Dallas Cowboys, will also be used, playing host to Rams players and team meetings.

Don’t get used to the Rams’ presence, however. Plans are already underway to create a permanent training facility elsewhere, ahead of the 2019 scheduled completion of a stadium in Inglewood. At a press conference in early March, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said that the team expects that the city of Thousand Oaks will host a temporary regular-season training facility and that players are encouraged to live in the city during that time.

Meanwhile, the team will hold its training camp at UC Irvine, where it practiced in 1991, 1992 and 1994, when it moved to St. Louis, Missouri. NFL team owners approved the team’s return to Los Angeles on Jan. 12.

Oxnard Assistant City Manager Scott Whitney says that this is a good opportunity for the city.

“The Rams recognized our professional facilities, our perfect weather and the city’s welcoming attitude,” said Whitney. “We were the Rams’ first choice and we’re excited to partner with another storied NFL franchise.”

As far as field conditions following a team practice affecting the Dallas Cowboys, the city says that the Rams’ practice will not affect the Cowboys’ plans, and the team says that there is no concern.

“We are aware of the Rams’ plans to use the fields this spring, and we are confident that the fields will be in good shape prior to our arrival in late July,” said Rich Dalrymple, senior vice president of public relations and communications for the Dallas Cowboys organization, via email.

The Rams’ mini-camp is expected not to be open to the public, unlike the Dallas Cowboys training camp, which promotes visitation with activities, themed days and a traveling history museum, though Whitney adds that there is “potential for an open practice or a fan appreciation day” and that the city will “be ready for it.”