St. Louis wants more than $1 billion over Rams relocation

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v St Louis Rams
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Thursday’s hearing regarding the pending litigation between St. Louis and the NFL over the relocation of the Rams featured some nuts-and-bolts squabbling over the litigation process. It also included some big-picture discussions regarding the monetary award the local governments hope to secure.

Via Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com, the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority want more than one billion dollars. Thursday’s hearing included discussion regarding those exorbitant demands.

“The plaintiffs are seeking a billion dollars in damages or more,” NFL attorney Gerard Carmody said during the hearing, via Kaplan. An unnamed source separately told Kaplan that “it’s fair to describe the figures as in the billions.”

Although the St. Louis plaintiffs seek reimbursement for wasted expenses arising from allegedly futile efforts to keep the Rams in St. Louis, the case apparently also will attempt to recover a slice of the enhanced value of the team resulting from a relocation that the plaintiffs believe happened in defiance of the NFL’s applicable rules.

“Our damages relate to the violation of the relocation policy,” lawyer Jim Bennett said during the hearing, via Kaplan. “The move, the relocation fee, the minimum increase in value to Mr. Kroenke, the minimum increase in value to all the other teams or defendants, the minimum increase in value to Mr. Kroenke’s real estate empire, expenses that we incur based on their representations that they might actually think about the new stadium.”

It seems like an aggressive position, to be sure. But the St. Louis plaintiffs have managed to fend off the efforts of the NFL to suck the case out of the civil justice system and into the business-friendly alternative method of arbitration. As Marc Ganis, a consultant with very close ties to the NFL, told Kaplan, “home cooking” has helped the St. Louis case survive. Of course it has; “home cooking” is a longstanding reality of the broader justice system.

But the NFL prides itself on finding ways to drop a chunk of rancid meat into home-cooked lawsuit stew. It may not happen at the trial-court level. It may happen at the appellate level. It may eventually happen through a Hail Mary pass to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Regardless, the St. Louis plaintiffs currently have a multi-billion-dollar tiger by the tail. Whether and to what extent they can hold on will be interesting to watch.

49 responses to “St. Louis wants more than $1 billion over Rams relocation

  1. Wait….St. Louis is mad that the Rams relocated to Los Angeles after the Rams relocated from Los Angeles to St. Louis?

  2. The guy in Jacksonville is keeping a keen eye on this one. Actually, his main man is Mark Lamping who was an executive with the St. Louis Rams and obviously quite connected to this developing story.

  3. Somehow I don’t think former showgirl and Rams owner, Georgia Frontiere, paid that much to Anaheim upon departure for St. Louis.

    Among those of us who grew up in the 70s in LA going to games at the Coliseum, she will forever remain Public Enemy No. 1, even in memoriam.

    She never would have gotten near the Rams had she not made Rams’ owner, Carroll Rosenbloom, husband number seven. Then when Rosenbloom, an expert swimmer, drowned in 12-inches of surf, she took over and the Rams would never be the same.

  4. The City breached the agreement by refusing to upgrade the stadium per its contractual obligation. The Rams move was perfectly justified.

  5. I think it is safe to say they will never return there and probably no other team in the future will go there. It is kind of hard to compete with KC in that state.

  6. Are you sure thats enough?

    I do think the Rams played St. Louis, but St. Louis signed onto a bad deal.
    And they could have paid hundreds of millions and upgraded the stadium.

  7. They have grounds for some relief. Obviously they don’t expect to recover in the billions, but that’s the starting point from which a negotiated settlement can be obtained.
    Go for it StL. They did leave under breeching questionable contractual obligations. Go get some!

  8. I didn’t see St. Louis complaining when they stole the team from LA originally. Can’t have it both ways!

  9. razzlejag says:
    February 14, 2021 at 11:38 am
    The guy in Jacksonville is keeping a keen eye on this one. Actually, his main man is Mark Lamping who was an executive with the St. Louis Rams and obviously quite connected to this developing story.
    __________________________________________

    Mark Lamping never worked for the St Louis Rams. His connection to St Louis was President of the St Louis Cardinals.

  10. @sewalters79

    Cleveland could get a hundred billion dollars and still be a crap town because it’s Cleveland

  11. Not defending the NFL, God forbid, but any city that hands a team the keys to the city treasury without nailing down the financial particulars as to how much who gets paid how much for how long,have idiots for their political leadership. The Oakland city leaders, led by the East Oakland Coalition, a bunch of crooks of whom were lucky only 6 of whom wound up in prison, did the same with the Raiders. Handed them a sweet heart deal with no guarantees.I have only so much sympathy for the citizens because they elected the pols who promised the moon and stars and got left at the altar.

  12. Itsamadmadmadmadworld has it right. Not sure if it’s even admissible but this is the team that left them, then came back, then is leaving again. If they come back in 20 more years will anybody really be surprised?

  13. How many NFL teams has St. Lou lost? The Cards, the Rams? At least they still have baseball, which is nice.

  14. I suppose you can make case a case whether an owner really owner the team, or the city has some rights. The City is trying to say a few different things. 1) The Rams violated the contract with the city. The Rams will say the City didn’t provide the necessary stadium improvement. That can be argued out in court. 2) The City and County wants compensation for lost stadium revenue and lost of City identify and the image of having an NFL franchise. That’s basically why the City and Country want more than a billion $. Most of that to me, is sour grapes. There is no way value an ‘image’, or loss there of. You can argue nuts and bolts of a contract, but not loss of image. That’s too much of a gray area for me. To me the owner owns the team does have the right to move his franchise as long as he follows NFL rules. If I was the City of St. Louis, I would try to entice another franchise to move or ask for an expansion team if the NFL expands again. In any case St. Louis will have to make improvements to their stadium, which they could have done in the first place.

  15. Before people get on the “Team is Greedy” wagon, they might want to think of the similarities between the Rams, the Indianapolis Colts and the Raiders. In each case, some truly rapacious politicians tried to renege on deals and/or obstruct legitimate and reasonable efforts towards franchise health. In Baltimore, the legislature was trying to seize the Colts by eminent domain (another way to say “legalized political theft”). In St. Louis, the local governments had utterly failed, over a period of several years, to honor the commitments they’d made to lure the Rams there in the first place, and there was no real prospect they were ever going to change. With the Raiders, they had a truly crappy stadium situation, and the local politicians were obstructing any efforts to change. Their last gasp “ok we’ll do something” effort, moreover, was a sick joke.

    None of these three teams had a secure home, nor could they trust their local politicians as far as they could throw their existing stadiums. All three teams were completely justified in moving.

  16. They don’t deserve a penny. If you elect liberal communists who do not value sports and call all the professional sports players, The Wealthy, and demonize them, then don’t be surprised when those demons leave your city to somewhere who wants them and enjoys the excitement and revenue created by a proffesional sports team

  17. It all boils down to what is in the contract between the Rams and the local governments. The relocation policy is an internal issue that the cities have no say in. They’ll be lucky to see a billion cents.

  18. Even if the Rams have the law and facts on its side, I still hope Kroenke loses the case big time.

  19. If there was a breech of contract I could see this working. However, I would say that the loss of an NFL team on the city’s revenue is the damages they are seeking. Every time a team tries to pry money out of a city’s hands they talk about the value a team brings to a city. It would be nice to see how much the NFL thinks that is once they are over the barrel.

  20. If there was a breech of contract I could see this working. However, I would say that the loss of an NFL team on the city’s revenue is the damages they are seeking. Every time a team tries to pry money out of a city’s hands they talk about the value a team brings to a city. It would be nice to see how much the NFL thinks that is once they are over the barrel.
    ————————————

    This is a valid point… in reality it would be hard for the city to prove damages (lost revenue) because as we all know NFL teams suck money out of municipalities like the parasites they are. STL probably saved money when the Rams moved.

  21. Hold on here. Cleveland wants a slice of the Las Angelas – St. Louis – Los Angelas Rams. $3 billion in damages sounds about right since there were 3 franchise moves involving the original Cleveland Rams, who moved to Los Angelas.

  22. I don’t think St Louis has finished paying for that Stadium they built for the Rams in the 1990s – that stadium taxpayers were told would, “pay for itself.” I think the bottom line is they want the NFL to pay off what is owed for that stadium, plus the cost of demolition. But I doubt they’ll get that much in the settlement.

  23. IIRC STL was the first team to sell PSL’s for their brand new stadium. Then the Rams left after 20 years. My first concern is for the PSL holders.

    How much did the Rams want to do in stadium upgrades? When it was built, everyone was already putting loads of private boxes in stadiums. What needed upgrades?

  24. This is different to Oakland or San Diego losing their teams. Unlike them St. Louis came up with a plan for a stadium. Stan Kroenke did not exhaust the market as per the NFL relocation guidelines and this in the end is why its going to court (In St. Louis, with a St. Louis judge and a St. Louis jury) and St. Louis has a very good chance of winning.

  25. I live in St, Louis and the issue was two fold. The breech of contract was that the Edward Jones dome was to remain in the top 25% of all the stadiums in the NFL, and to compete with Jerry world and the way the dome was constructed you could make those improvements to get it in the top 25%. Thus, the city spent millions on acquiring new land and etc to build a brand new stadium for the Rams. The Rams owner and the NFL, didn’t follow their own guidelines in regards to relocation of a team. And the guideline in question was; did said city (St. Louis) provide a viable option to keep the team in said city. They did, but the team moved anyway. The NFL was so anxious to get in to LA, that they violate their own rules, and it will bite them in butt soon enough. Jacksonville is ready to move, and they have eyed St. Louis as a possible location. If the City force this to court, they will win or in a settlement get a team like Jacksonville, remember when they made the announcement about LA, the NFL owners was trying to push the Raiders or Chargers to take the deal in Saint Louis.

  26. OK, if the Rams can be sued for moving back to L.A., then L.A. can sue St. Louis for the move there, and St. Louis can sue the Cardinals for moving to Phoenix, Baltimore can sue the Colts, Cleveland can sue the Ravens, L.A. and Oakland can sue the Raiders, San Diego can sue the Chargers, Houston can sue the Titans, and so on.

  27. I bet if the NFL Waved the Chargers relocation fee and St. Louis built the Chargers a new Stadium, the Spanos family would move the Chargers to St. Louis in a second.

  28. This is different to Oakland or San Diego losing their teams. Unlike them St. Louis came up with a plan for a stadium. Stan Kroenke did not exhaust the market as per the NFL relocation guidelines and this in the end is why its going to court (In St. Louis, with a St. Louis judge and a St. Louis jury) and St. Louis has a very good chance of winning.

    San Diego had a plan for a Stadium, The Spanos family chose a plan that didn’t have a chance of passing.

  29. i know it was a dirty move to take the Rams from St. Louis but I wont even pretend to have read all the legal documents and have an opinion on whether anyones case is legitimate.

  30. St. Louis is still paying off the dome they built for the Rams in ’95 – think about that, a billion dollar stadium with a shelf life of less than 20 years. Must be nice to be an NFL owner.

    The power-that-be in St. Louis were willing to build the team another stadium, but Kroenke wants the fool’s gold of the LA market and he got what he wanted. In 5 years when the shine has worn off that new stadium and it’s half full (and less for the Chargers) this will all be down to the usual issue – fickle LA and the lame “there’s so much to do here” excuse. Every place has “so much to do”. LA isn’t that’ special.

    I don’t know that this can be written off to the fault of St. Louis’ fanbase. The move was inevitable once Kroenke decided he wanted out.

  31. Problem was they signed a horrifically bad deal and that was nobody’s fault but their own. Not only didn’t they have a long-term guarantee locking the Rams in place, they even had specific language saying the Rams were free to go if the stadium ever wasn’t considered to be in top 1/3 in the league. Financially, they actually came out lucky when the Rams moved else it’d be another Cincinnati sort of situation where they’d be spending more and more money every single year with no end in site adding bells and whistles to the stadium.

  32. Cleveland, OH sued the NFL over the Browns’ relocation from there to Baltimore, MD to become the Baltimore Ravens in 1995-96 as expansion team. Then Cleveland earned their expansion team as they maintain the Browns’ name, brand, and history in 1999.

    What if St. Louis, MO does the same but different should they win their lawsuit against the NFL? It could be either an expansion team or another team. If expansion, then 1 out of 3 options must suffice in the NFL in order for the expansion team to take its place: 1 team folds, 2 or more teams merge together, or 1 team leaves the NFL for a different league (ex.: CFL). If another team, then there are 2 teams’ lease that will end soon and 1 of them might move to STL: Bills by 2023 and Jaguars by 2030. Otherwise, STL could just take the money, move on, and stick with the XFL.

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