No one in the St. Louis area, or the state of Missouri for that matter, should be impartial about the Rams leaving town, whether you’re a fan or not.
The NFL is by far, the most popular professional sport in the United States. The television ratings prove that every year. The league generates $9 billion in revenue per year.
There are only 32 teams in the NFL, and St. Louis has one of them. We have one of only 32 pieces of gold that exist. Shouldn’t we cherish that?
The Rams organization does a ton of community work not only in St. Louis, but throughout the state.
During the fall and winter seasons, when the Cardinals are in the offseason, Downtown St. Louis relies on the Rams to keep businesses going with the fans they bring in.
If the Rams leave town, those businesses will be crushed and may not survive.
Many people have full-time and part-time employment with the Rams, not to mention internship opportunities, whether it’s at Rams Park or the Edward Jones Dome.
What about the folks who run the parking facilities or sell you popcorn and soda at the game?
Having said all of that, I don’t think the Rams will move to Los Angeles.
As a matter of fact, I think 10 years from now, the Rams will have a new stadium somewhere in the St. Louis area.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke made news recently with the purchase of 60 acres of land in Los Angeles.
That transaction made many Rams fans in St. Louis nervous.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about Kroenke’s purchase during his annual State of the League address at the Super Bowl. Here’s what he said:
“Stan is a very successful developer. He has billions of dollars in projects around the country of real-estate development. I think, 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.”
Goodell told Rich Eisen of the NFL Network that Kroenke “hasn’t determined what he’s going to do with that property, and how he’s going to develop it.”
Personally, I think Kroenke made the purchase as a bargaining chip with the city of St. Louis and the state of Missouri. He wants a new stadium. He doesn’t want to continue to play in the Edward Jones Dome. He’s saying to the city and state, “If you don’t give me a stadium, I’ll just build one in LA.” It’s a game of poker and Kroenke made a big move.
Deep down inside, Kroenke probably would like to move the Rams to Los Angeles, but I don’t think he will.
The NFL would slap a healthy relocation fee on Kroenke if he decides to pull a Bill Bidwell and skip town. The NFL exacts their relocation fee based on how much a team’s value increases by moving to a new market. Needless to say, it will cost Kroenke a large chunk of change.
The Rams can break their lease with the Dome following the 2014 season if it’s not a “top-tier” facility. The organization wants $700 million for renovations, knowing full well that’s not going to happen. The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, which runs the Dome, offered $124 million for renovations, which the Rams rejected.
Obviously, renovation negotiations for the Dome are going nowhere.
A new stadium seems more likely.
Talk of a new stadium would generate a debate about the mix of public and private money that would be needed.
Realistically, no city these days wants to build a new stadium with public money. It’s going to take private money raised by the Rams and the NFL.
I’m not privy to all of the specifics to keep the Rams in town. All I can say is I hope Kroenke and the Rams can work things out with city and state officials.
In the end, we need to retain this valuable and rare piece of gold.
The Rams are going to have a new stadium. The only question is will it be in St. Louis or Los Angeles?