The ongoing saga involving the St. Louis Rams and just where they will call home in the coming years has taken yet another turn in recent days. On Friday, three arbitrators ruled in favor of the team which submitted a plan to the independent panel when their initial negotiations with the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) fell through. The effect of this decision could have a big impact on where the Rams franchise is located in the coming years.
It’s no secret that the NFL would like to move a franchise back to Los Angeles. Likewise, the Rams owner, Stan Kroenke, is very familiar with the bright lights of LA and one would think that he would be in favor of taking the team there if the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis doesn’t undergo a serious overhaul.
Both the CVC and the Rams submitted plans to be reviewed by the independent panel quite some time ago and now that a decision has been made in favor of the Rams, the CVC has 30 days to enact the plan. If they decide not to do so (as expected), the team’s lease will go to a year-to-year basis starting in March 2015.
As stipulated by the current lease agreement, the Rams have the right to break the lease which runs through 2025 if the dome is not considered a “first tier” facility. The hearings which decided in favor of the Rams began in mid-January and lasted for nearly two weeks.
The sticking point between the two sides has obviously been a financial issue. The city wanted to take on a $124 million renovation of which the Rams would pay approximately half the cost. In rebuttal, the Rams offered a nearly $700 million plan that would include a sliding roof, reconfigured seating, two end zone party platforms, and larger entrances. Clearly the other option is building an entirely new stadium which has been brought into consideration. Three potential sites have been mapped out, but the main concern then would be the public financing of such an undertaking.
On the issue of eventually finding a resolution, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said: “I believe Stan Kroenke wants that outcome. They’re all working together to try and get there. I’m optimistic they will. If we can get to the point where we have the structure of a deal, I’m very confident that the league will support that and participate.”
Regardless of how this issue ends up, the Rams will be playing football somewhere in 2015 and the years thereafter. For the sake of the many fans in St. Louis, let’s just hope the team can find someway to remain in the city.