St. Louis official says “take a deep breath” regarding possible Rams move

Getty Images

With the Rams scoring a major victory in the recently-concluded arbitration aimed at determining what it will take to make the Edward Jones Dome a first-tier stadium, the Rams have the clear upper hand.

And the powers-that-be in St. Louis know it.

But the best they can do is point out the fact that, if the team ultimately moves, it can’t happen for two more seasons.

“To be honest, everybody ought to take a deep breath,” St. Louis County policy wonk Mike Jones told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  “The reality is nothing really happens before the 2015 season.”

That’s fine, but if the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission decides not to give the Rams the upgrades to which the arbitrators decided the Rams are contractually entitled, then the Rams can leave after the 2014 season.  Or in any year thereafter.

The CVC has 60 days to decide whether to do what the arbitrators have ordered.  But it sounds like the CVC won’t do what the arbitrators have decided the CVC must do to prevent the Rams from becoming free agents.

“The options are all theirs.  Not ours,” CVC president Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe said. “There is no specific plan at this point.”

In other words, the CVC won’t be providing the upgrades.  Instead, they’ll commence shifting blame for the eventual relocation.

“[The arbitrators] did us a favor with that ruling,” Jones explained.  “Now the community can have a broader conversation about the Rams.  And the CVC is not the tip of the spear for that conversation.”

Actually, the CVC is the tip of the spear.  Because the CVC negotiated the lease that, after the 2014 season, the Rams can disregard.

And a real “favor” from the arbitration panel would have been issuing a ruling that the CVC’s $120 million plan for upgrading the stadium was the right one.  Because then the Rams wouldn’t have been able to leave.

Now, they are.

When the silver lining is “Well, we have them for two more years,” it’s like saying the glass is five percent full.

34 responses to “St. Louis official says “take a deep breath” regarding possible Rams move

  1. The Rams aren’t moving. The NFL would have to approve it. They will not allow a team to move if the fan base is there. The dome is filling up. Also, the Rams will build their own stadium in the suburbs.

  2. Why should the citizens of St. Louis pay money to help the mega-rich owners of a football team make more money?

    At least the Rams have been a source of civic pride for the city for the past 10 years…oh wait they’ve been the laughingstock of the league.

  3. No existing team will move to LA. The League & Owners are gonna want that influx of cash that 2 expansion teams will bring. Looking at $2 billion a piece. LA & Toronto.

  4. So it’s an impossible situation for the city, isn’t it? To act as responsible stewards of the city and its finances, it’s extremely difficult to be persuaded that hundreds of millions of dollars should be spent to enrich a for-profit sports entity. How, after all, can you justify spending hundreds of millions on the Rams when St. Louis has seriously deficient infrastructure, high crime rates, and needs more teachers and police and fire and other public services?

    On the other hand, a city’s beloved sports team is part of the city’s identity. It’s “beloved”, after all. Teams contribute to some amount of civic pride and to local commerce.

    The comment by Mike Jones about “now the city can have a serious conversation” is a pointed one. Do the citizens of St. Louis want better schools and public services, or do they want to spend their cash on helping the Rams make more top line revenue?

    It’s a tough question.

  5. I can’t blame them for wanting to leave St. Louis. Has anyone on here ever driven through St. Louis (hopefully in the daytime)? There is a city that can way better use that $120 million for other things and worry about a football team some other day.

  6. I’m getting so tired of these owners holding the fans of these cities hostage. It a form of terrorism when you threaten to do something the can cause harm to a city just because they refuse to build you a new stadium. I feel really bad for the fans of St Louis. And, if it wasn’t for the fans I’d like to tell the Rams to take thier damn team and shove it.

  7. Please move to Los Angeles… At least then I could at least cheer for Fisher if this team goes somewhere..

    I loathe St. Louis.. they don’t deserve a football team anyways.. that stadium is 75% visitor fans at any point and they play in a dome in the lower midwest…

  8. Full disclosure: I am a Jacksonville native and unabashed Jaguars homer.

    The Rams have been in the bottom five for total attendance, % of stadium filled, and per game attendance for several years now. So the argument that there is great “fan support” isn’t exactly a winner.

    The stadium actually isn’t that old (opened in 1995) which makes it curious that renovations would be necessary so soon. Apparently it was just ill conceived in terms of revenue generating capacity.

    So while the city may have a valid point regarding financing renovations of such a “young” stadium, taking a stand on it may end up being like cutting off their nose to spite their face.

    The fact of the matter is that the Rams have the easiest “out” of the teams rumored to favored for an LA relocation and the city of St. Louis appears to be fighting a losing battle.

  9. This isn’t the NBA people; fans will get turned off fairly quickly if teams start moving to new cities left and right. Pick GOOD cities for franchises and leave them there for cryin’ out loud!

  10. Anyone that believes the St. Louis fans haven’t supported the team needs to check the standings over the last 6 years.

    The Rams have been historically bad. They haven’t had a reason to go to the games. The city will work this all out in the end.

    People forget the most important part of this. Stan Kroenke is a real estate developer. Would he rather have his own stadium and area to which he can develop or would be rather get stuck with a stadium forced on him in LA. That is on top of all the fees he would have to pay to relocate the team.

    The NFL doesn’t need a team in LA, they already are making their money from the TV rights the way it is.

  11. “A broader conversation about the Rams”.

    As in, “the dome hosts dozens of events every year, only 8 of which are regular season football games. The dome is fine for all of those other events. Given that the Rams have always been and will always be far and away the second most popular St. Louis team, at best, we think we’ll go ahead and spend our $700 million elsewhere.”

  12. plt2006 you are correct. That stadium although recently new, is an albatross and a horrible place to watch a game. There is no atmoshphere in that stadium at all. It’s drab and lifeless.

    I would open the dome up (at least put retractable dome) and re-do the interior completely to give it more life.

    But St. Louis is fighting a losing battle. The only sport that matters in that town is baseball. Rams and Blues could leave tomorrow and only a handful of people would notice..

    In their defense, it is one of the easiest and cheapest tickets to get if your an opposing fan and you want to see your team on the road.. although not much to do in that city beyond that.

  13. @ramsfan1818 Did you really just say that the NFL will not let a team move if there is still a fanbase? The Cleveland Browns had a rock solid fanbase and the NFL had no problem letting them go to Baltimore.

  14. LA Rams sounds a hell of a lot better than LA Vikings would have anyway. I’d still be thoroughly amazed if after a year or so of the usual handwringing and fan consternation, St. Louis didn’t cave and provide the upgrades.

  15. Totally butchered my first point. Meant to say cost as much to put on a retractable roof on the existing dome than it would to build a new stadium.

    Eventually when all this is done, and the Rams build a new stadium, there will be a lot of people looking really foolish trying to push the Rams to LA.

  16. “Nice to see a city refuse to be robbed by the NFL. The NFL has a business model of extorting taxpayers to pay for the stadiums.”

    The last city to do that? Los Angeles in 1995.

  17. I feel for the citizens of The Lou because it seems to be damned if you do, damned if you don’t. However to shift the blame to Kroenke is wrong. Correct me if you can, but I don’t think anyone in the organization (outside of Steve Smith) has said anything about packing up and leaving.

    The “greedy owner” line rings hollow here. The true greedy ones would be the CVC who negotiated a deal with apparently no intent of ever seeing it through so they could save face at zero hour.

    I’ve been to the stadium and love the city, to say fans don’t care is frankly BS. The most likely scenario as others have pointed out is moving outside of the city and building their own stadium in the ‘burbs.

  18. La just wants another team that they can bandwagon on. They’d have little to no fans. It’ll be a tough sell to that many Hispanics. Football is for hard working Americans not a bunch of Nancy boys in Cali

  19. cardsbaseball07 says: Feb 11, 2013 2:35 PM

    Totally butchered my first point. Meant to say cost as much to put on a retractable roof on the existing dome than it would to build a new stadium.

    Eventually when all this is done, and the Rams build a new stadium, there will be a lot of people looking really foolish trying to push the Rams to LA.


    Yeah, they’re going to spend a billion on a stadium for a team ranked 31st in the league in net worth. You have no money, have been laying off teachers and cops and are having trouble even keeping your parks maintained. I’m sure Kroenke is going to spend a billion of his own on a team that’s been at the bottom of the league in attendance the past six years.

    Enjoy your delusion.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!