As news surfaced earlier this week that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke was interested in placing a bid with Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers, most believed that this was just his attempt to add another professional sports franchise to his portfolio. Now that another story has developed concerning the Rams’ future in St. Louis, perhaps some dots can begin to be connected.
Wednesday, February 1 is the deadline for the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission to provide a plan as to how it the Edward Jones Dome can be transformed into a top-tier stadium by 2015. If the commission cannot come up with such an outline, the Rams are free to break their lease and possibly move the franchise following the 2014 season.
Reports linking the Rams to Los Angeles have already been en vogue even prior to Kroenke’s connections to the Dodgers, but now the decibel level will likely get a bit higher. Kroenke has been very evasive when it comes to questions about moving the team in the past and these less than forthcoming responses begin to hint at what fans in St. Louis have feared.
Once upon a time, the thought of moving the Rams from St. Louis was far from anyone’s mind during the days of the Greatest Show on Turf when the team won a Super Bowl and appeared in another. Since then the decline has been well documented with a 15-65 record over the past five years and one of those seasons was a 7-9 campaign.
A multi-million dollar renovation is needed to get the dome back into the upper echelon of NFL stadiums and if the city of St. Louis fails to do so, the Rams will be free to bolt town. Given the current economic climate, it seems highly unlikely that a taxpayer funded renovation would be financed.
After the commission reveals its plan, the franchise will have until March 1 to come to a decision. If no agreement can be reached, the arbitration process would begin June 15 and could last through the end of the year.