Rams to become free agents in two seasons, but where will they go?

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With 31 NFL stadiums and the useful life of each one in the range of 20 to 30 years, it’s safe to say that at any given moment at least one NFL team will be jockeying for a new venue.

Most of them do their jockeying atop a horse named Taxpayer’s Money.

The Rams are among the current crop of franchises that officially are in the jockeying business.  Their lease at the Edward Jones Dome, which became effective in 1995, officially has converted to a 20-year contract that, after the 2014 season, continues on a year-to-year basis.

This means that, after the next two seasons and any season thereafter, the Rams can leave St. Louis.

It’s unclear where they would go.  It has long been assumed that the Rams would go back to Los Angeles.  But the process of finding a suitable location is going nowhere, in part because those who would build a stadium would like to own at least one of the teams that would play there.

Last year, the Rams announced that they would play one home game per year for three straight years in London, in a clear effort to begin building a fan base in England.  The Rams reduced that plan to one game after the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission objected.

A permanent move to London now becomes a strong possibility, as does finagling a new stadium elsewhere in the St. Louis area, thanks to the extreme leverage that comes from an expiring lease.

There’s another potential plan, which could be the only way to make a London franchise logistically viable in the short term.  The Rams could play some games each year in London, and some in St. Louis.  They’d still be the “St. Louis Rams,” and any home playoff games would be played in St. Louis.

Having one or two teams play a split schedule with anywhere from two to four home games played each year in London could be the best way to lay the foundation for the eventual permanent relocation of a team to London.  While the logistical challenges would remain, it would be easier to get the average NFL fan to accept the change if it occurs as part of a gradual, inevitable process.

Regardless, the NFL seems to be determined to expand dramatically its current flirtation with London.  The Rams are now in position to allow the NFL move things to a new level.

63 responses to “Rams to become free agents in two seasons, but where will they go?

  1. Never happen. I think the owners vote to allow the Rams to relocate to London even part time would be 1-31. Bad, bad idea.

  2. Two to four home games in London? That’s just a ton of travel, no way would that work.

  3. The NFL wants to expand overseas but doesn’t want to expand in the USA cause it may water down net profits. As if expanding overseas won’t have the same affect.

  4. Taking a page from the Angels in MLB, the easy and most stupid solution is….

    The St. Louis Rams of London

  5. London.

    This game needs an international presence in a BAD way and timing may not be perfect but that’s the reason this needs to be forced. The NFL has moved SO SLOWLY over the years to develop the international market and it’s too late now to take a systematic ultra long-term approach to expanding internationally. The opportunity and benefits are drying up every year and growing more at risk of allowing other worldly societal passtimes to grow and butt in on the NFL’s missed opportunity path. The road down the road is filling up with other traffic, and the time to be seeing that is best when viewed in the rear-view mirror, and NOT directly through the windshield in front of you. That’s the weaker position.

    Why have a monopolistic power if you aren’t going to wield it around to get more and maintain your superiority and size of presence above all other competitors? Oh that’s right, this is like a James Bond theme, the NFL wants to taunt all other business entities on the planet and see if anybody from the field thinks they can be a hero, just for kicks. Surely nobody can weasel in and scoop up some of our value right? Actually I think it’s more likely to say you would be doomed to take an inevitable bite.

    So yeah, London.

  6. The English are too fond of their soccer, and will never embrace a sport as violent and uncouth as American football.

    Although, the “Royal Rams of London” does sort of have a nice ring to it.

  7. The Rams being in the NFC West, their division rivals would be forced to make the longest flights to play in London. When the Giants and Eagles play each other, they travel by bus for the 100-mile trip… the Seahawks would be forced to take a 9 hour flight (based on British Airways flight 48 non-stop from SeaTac to Heathrow, 9:05 air time)… the Cards would be 40 minutes more (BA flight 288 from PHX to Heathrow, 9:45)… the 49ers an hour more (BA flight 284 from SFO to Heathrow, 10:05).

    All of those flights are $4000+ per person for business class round trip – meaning a charter for a football team will cost a small fortune.

    Not happening.

  8. They’re going to stay in St. Louis. Their owner is from there, he’s just using all his leverage to get the taxpayers to build him a new stadium that HE will own and coup all the parking fees, concessions etc.

    He will never agree to a lease in a stadium he doesn’t own, while having to sell part of the team to do it. So Los Angeles will never work.

    He may be interested in London, but he also wants to win, and a split St. Louis/London schedule will ensure his team has near-constant jet lag. Especially while playing in the NFC West Division with teams on Pacific Time.

    They’re not going anywhere.

  9. what is so hard to understand here? We (the fans) don’t want an NFL team in London, and they,(the Londonites) don’t want an NFL team either.

    Not to mention, it is not fair to the other teams that will have to be in their division. My team already has a hard time attracting free agents, now they have to go to London at least once every year?

    Geographically, the London Rams would probably be in the AFC East, send the Saints to the NFC West, and the Dolphins to the NFC South.

  10. I’m of the belief that a London-based team is an inevitability.

    That said, I think the “one leg on each horse” strategy mike is outlining is a nonstarter. Any team that’s going to succeed is going to have to go All-In. I believe — OK, I hope — that no fan base would swallow the premise that a split season is better than none.

    We (broadly speaking) are fans of teams because we in some way identify with them. We have what might be called an emotional ownership in that franchise; we invested our allegiance in a team so that we in some way — rightly or wrongly — feel that we are part of that team. Without this investment on the part of the fan, the economics of professional team sports becomes unworkable.

    While our increasingly migratory society mitigates it somewhat, we still invest a great deal of allegiance in the communities in which we live. It is in fact something that the NFL and all other Leagues have been selling for years on end: “This team is part of [insert city here].” The implication is that a community must invest in a team because the team is important to that community.

    A move that physically moves a team away from a fan base that has made an emotional investment leads to feelings of betrayal, or worse. The Bills have built up enough goodwill and history up there in Buffalo to allow the team to move one or (at most) two games to Toronto a year without serious backlash; there are generations of fans who can’t imagine life without the team; the Rams have no such history in St. Louis.

    I strongly suspect that if the League and the Rams try to hold on to one fan base while reaching out for another, they will wind up with neither.

  11. I just refuse to believe a team will ever relocate to Europe. At least not in the next 15-20 years…not until transportation is cheaper and faster for your average fan… you know, the ones that pack the stadium every Sunday.

    And why go over seas?! Cards/49ers drew a BIGGER CROWD in Mexico City…a cheaper and easier commute for fans. I suppose it’s just harder to price gouge south of the border.

  12. There are plenty of markets in the States to accomodate the Rams. L.A is the first name that comes to mind, but let’s not forget San Antonio and Birmingham, both of which would create more natural rivalries.

  13. It still seems unlikely, but it should be mentioned that aside from the Rams, Stan Kroenke also owns Arsenal, one of the giant soccer teams that plays in London.

  14. They belong in LA. Get rid of the Frontierre family and their idiocy and move back. Then get a better team. Not a Ram fan; but you guys are the once and future perfect rivalry for the 49ers. It just has not been the same in STL.

  15. Contrary to what some people claim, the NFL does not in any way need an international presence. At $11 Billion a year, the NFL is by a mile the largest sports league on the planet. In fact, combining the revenues of all the major European soccer leagues gets you to about half of the size of the NFL. The point being, the NFL does just fine with having teams only in America, and I’d imagine a move to LA would increase revenue even more than a move to London.

  16. Get used to it. The Los Angeles Rams are back. Kroenke owns a home in Malibu and has been involved in the negotiations to bring a team to L.A. Having the Rams in Los Angeles, doubles or triples the value of the team, and that is what interests Kroenke.. He’s a businessman first. Saint Louis has let him down by not making their improvements and they won’t use taxpayer money to build a new stadium and render the Edward Jones Dome useless after 20 years. Kroenke can fund the stadium himself if he chooses to. The Frontiere family leased the rams to saint louis for 20 years cause they were cash poor, and now they are all rich. Los Angeles Rams. Get used to it and stop flailing around trying to think of ways to keep them in St. Louis which is a one horse baseball town…Wait to you see the free agents signing with the Rams….In LA…

  17. If they move to Toronto…

    The Toronto Dams (on account of our beavers)

    The Toronto Wanna-Bes (on account they all act American)

    The Toronto Chokers

    The Toronto Trivials

    Ontario O’s

  18. In my opinion if the move the Rams somewhere that isn’t LA then they should give them the Browns treatment and make a totally new franchise and they can bring the Rams back when they are ready to put a team in La

  19. A London team in the NFC West? I don’t like that idea. I think the location would have to be somewhere west. LA preferably, otherwise maybe Vancouver..

  20. If the NFL really is looking to expand convert the Canadian football league and bring back the euro league run it simultaneously with the NFL which would expand the playoffs to include 4 leagues and the winner of each AFC, NFC, CFL and EFL would play divisonal semi finals to who goes to the Super Bowl

  21. Im a long time tennesse volunteer and tennessee titan fan and as much as i dont like alabama in college football it has always baffled me that they do not have an nfl franchise….for a while i thought that would be a prime jacksonville jaguars location…its obvious they love their football as tennesse does theres and although both of our franchises have been down a few years…we always keep the stadiums packed as im sure they would do the same. Also if its the jags they could stay in afc south..not deal with a dramatic location change and have rivalry with tennesse and alabama in pro as well.

  22. Lmao rams arent leaving. Kroenke will build one like he has done twice now.

    Gotta keep speculating to get those clicks right? Even though the governor is pro keeping rams and will now be doing negotiating with rams directly…

    La is such a pipe dream – does anyone really believe kroenke bought the team just to resell it to a city? Lol he’s a business man first. Thats why he owns 3 franchises , 2 of which he built his own stadium, and probably why hes a billionaire

  23. This is why no other teams r currently flirting with L.A.. The Rams deal is set to go back there. Jags end up in London or San Antonio within 5 years, when they can escape the swamp.

  24. I’ve not yet read a single intelligent argument against moving a team to London. And no, “it’s OUR sport” doesn’t count. Try a little forward thinking for once. Change isn’t always bad.

  25. Shad Khan just spent 30 mil of his own dollars plus the city is spending another 40 mil in upgrades that plus 785mil to buy the team no owner is going to up and leave a city that has a higher capacity than most stadiums. Plus the team even when losing has a faithful following so gey off the jags leaving Jacksonville

  26. After they see a few Jaguar games and figure out we’re trying to dump this crappy team on them London won’t want anything to do with the NFL.

  27. If the NFL expands to London, I will be done with the NFL. Roger Goodell is an idiot for thinking like this. There are so many pitfalls.

    Greed is a killer.

  28. I hate London. So many more deserving NFL cities. This is just Roger trying to write his legacy.

  29. Stadiums with a life span of 20~30 years and a bond payment that lasts long long after.

  30. FINALLY! I would be correct in conversation when I refer to the “Los Angeles Rams”!
    Now if we could convince the Cardinals to move back to St.Louis!

  31. Other than all of the other reasons people have stated why the Rams won’t move to London, with the biggest stated being travel, you have all missed the biggest one yet, TAXES!!! You think taxes in the US are high? the rate for London is 45% for all income over $150,000. That will be paid by anyone that plays a game in London. The Ram players would be taxed at 45% for 8 games and all visitors would be taxed at 45% for the game they play there. The NFLPA will never let this happen.

  32. No one gambles on football but if I did, I would like it if there was a London team and they played at a different time so the betting window for NFL Sundays would be longer. Of course, since no one gambles on football, like I said, it really doesn’t matter.

  33. Jaguars aren’t moving it’s just not happening. Anytime soon. As for the Rams what I Envision is either Kroenke builds their his own Stadium or he goes to LA and shares one with another team. As for Expansion I could Probably see expansion to London and a 2nd city Whether it be Los Angeles or Toronto. I see the London experiment lasting 5 maybe 10 years before they are relocated to the states. Bet on it.

  34. I can’t tell you how much I loathe the idea of my NFL going to bloody old England. It is an American game that is uniquely American and belongs right here. If they want an American football league, let them have their own if they can do it right this time. I just don’t see how the logistics could work. Hell, half the people in the NFL already believe the Seattle Seahawks are too far from the epicenter of NFL coverage. I can only imagine how distant fans would be in America to a flipping football team that has its home in London. What would happen if the Seahawks had to fly to London or vice versa? Can you imagine the advantage and disadvantage that both teams could have depending on who is home and who is away? I urge anyone with the muscle to shut this thing down that they quash it as fast as possible. I would hate to see my Seahawks playing in London even for preseason games. It is American-made and should continue to be American played!

  35. The jags are not moving period. No team is to expensive not enough support state side and even if a team moves they will have to be reorganization to fit the team plus the miserable process of transportation plus getting another team every year to play home games in London. Its a failure waiting to happen. If anything right now its an awesome xtra prime time game for a low revenue team

  36. And why exactly do stadiums “obsolete” after 20 or 30 years?

    Modern construction methods are robust. Those stadiums should be good for half a century or more.

    You know why they “obsolete” after such a short period?

    Because the people inhabiting them don’t have to pay for them. If the teams were paying for their venues you’d see almost all of them either making do with older stadiums or less expensive ones.

    This is a dynamic that works against taxpayers everywhere. Most municipalities should just say no. It’s not like they have the money to spend anyway with services declining all over the place.

    Look at NYC. They just said no and they’re doing just fine with no resident NFL franchises. Why the smaller cities that aren’t doing so well allow themselves to be held hostage is beyond me.

  37. If you listen to the NFL, the fans want an 18-game schedule and teams in Europe.

    If you listen to the fans, the NFL has a perfectly balanced number of teams, divisions, regular season games, and playoff matrix.

    Don’t kill the golden goose!

  38. The English /European and for the most part the whole world are too fond of their Football to allow a corrupted version of rugby/football known as Eggball to be successful at all. Even with the Billions of dollars the NFL generates in the USA only, it does not compare to FIFA’s worldwide presence and which he wants to emulate. Yes, greed makes some people stupid except Goddell might have been born like that already.

  39. The Queens of England? Nah. The Rams belong in LA, #2 TV market, then they only have to go 400 miles north to get their a$$ stomped by SF every year.

  40. No one is going to London goodell talks up London every year around, guess what, the London game in order to stir up interest in American football in London. Then he throws a big celebration of America in London with 20 minute long star spangled banners and a 100 yard long American flag and pisses off all of England. The logistics of a full time franchise are completely unrealistic and no player would ever agree to relocate to Europe. It’s hard enough to get a player to sign with Jacksonville nevermind another continent. Can we stop feeding this irrational pipe dream please?

  41. The NFL should look at what the CFL did years ago with their attempts to increase league revenue by adding teams in the US. That failed quickly. Any move to the UK is a bad one because it is non sustainable. Moving a game or two a year may be sufficient. Try the NFL network games first and see what the ratings would be. I just want to warn Goodell that his predecessor made the same mistake by giving an expansion franchise to Jacksonville-which of course has worked out well. Initially that city had a TV market smaller than Battle Creek Michigan. Mr Tagliabue is not entering the HOF because of it. The league should be worried about sustaining revenue but there are other ways such as consolidating with other sports like F1 or NASCAR and package sporting events. In the final analysis though I fear that all games are headed for pay-per-view.

  42. There will be a team or two in London.. Goodell straight up said it.. Why is that so hard for some of you to understand? Its not a matter of if .. its a matter of when. Like it or not it IS going to happen where its the Rams or not. Not giving an opinion here, just stating the inevitable.

  43. Does the NFL not remember what happened with NFL Europe?

    Initial season of the London Monarchs in 1991 attendance was over 40,000 per game. Dwindled after that until the team became gypsies playing to crowds of less than 6,000.
    Besides, the NFL brand was more sustainable in Germany… they had 5 teams.

    Doesn’t LA still want a team? Or have they changed their minds?

  44. I have been going to Rams games since they played at the L.A. Coliseum . I hate having to fly to St.Louis a couple tiimes a year . Nothing against the fans or people there . No way I will fly to London .
    I hear Stan Kreonke was also in the bidding for the Dodgers . So it would have been inevitable the Rams move back had he won the bid . Not to mention he just purchased 60 or 70 acres of the Hollywood Park land .
    Rams are coming back to L.A.
    When can i buy my season tix?

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